Used 2008 Land Rover LR2 SUV
- Advanced technology gives it uncommon all-terrain skills for a car-based SUV, comfortable ride, roomy passenger quarters.
- Mediocre acceleration for a luxury-brand SUV, modest handling on pavement, workaday interior design and materials, below-average cargo capacity.
Used 2008 Land Rover LR2 SUV for Sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2008 Land Rover LR2 represents a meaningful advance over its predecessor, but alongside present-day competition in the compact luxury SUV class, it comes up short in performance, handling and cabin quality.
Because pedigree comes from prowess, every Land Rover must be made from the absolute toughest stuff, ready to rough it up on the world's toughest trails at a moment's notice. So goes the old thinking, anyway. More recently, the company's vehicles have been increasingly able to provide on-road comfort and performance as well. For a prime example of this shift in philosophy, look no further than the 2008 Land Rover LR2.
Land Rover clearly designed its new LR2 compact SUV for a life on pavement, but the company tried to preserve a modicum of off-road capability in the process. As a replacement for the now discontinued Freelander, the 2008 Land Rover LR2 comes to life with lots of mechanical DNA from parent company Ford's Volvo S40 and European-market Ford Focus. The resulting lightweight unibody construction, all-independent suspension, and new inline six-cylinder engine make this the easiest Land Rover to drive in history, while leather seats, wood trim, dual sunroofs, and room for four are meant to keep the brand's upscale luxury image intact.
In addition, this all-new LR2 still packs enough tools to handle light- and even medium-duty off-highway trails. Among them are a healthy 8.3 inches of ground clearance, standard all-wheel drive, and Land Rover's Terrain Response system, which provides four driver-selectable modes tailored for varying terrain. Each mode specifies different settings for the engine, transmission, center differential, suspension, traction and stability control system and hill descent control system. During our testing of a 2008 Land Rover LR2, Terrain Response proved its worth as the LR2 scaled rutted dirt trails with considerably more gusto and poise than most car-based sport-utilities.
However, as small luxury SUVs go, Land Rover's latest is not the ultimate on-roader. Among the LR2's flaws are soft handling on pavement and just-adequate acceleration. Inside, its cabin looks more utilitarian than it does elegant, and materials are unimpressive for a premium-brand sport-utility. To its credit, the LR2 does have more off-road capability and a more forgiving ride than firmly tuned rivals like the Acura RDX, BMW X3 and Infiniti EX35. But these competitors provide better performance, sportier handling, higher-grade interiors and more in the way of overall refinement. Accordingly, we think most compact luxury SUV shoppers will be happier with an X3, EX35 or RDX than they will with the 2008 Land Rover LR2.
2008 Land Rover LR2 configurations
The 2008 Land Rover LR2 is a small, four-door luxury SUV offered in SE and HSE trim levels. Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, a dual-panel sunroof, leather seating, power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a nine-speaker Alpine stereo with a six-disc MP3/CD changer and auxiliary input jack, push-button ignition, automatic headlights and wipers, and rear parking sensors. The LR2 HSE adds 19-inch wheels, body-colored bumpers and side sills, upgraded power front seats and an interior storage box.
Additional equipment is bundled into three options packages. The largest of these is the Technology Package, which contains a navigation system, an upgraded surround-sound audio system, satellite radio, rear-seat audio controls and Bluetooth phone connectivity. The Lighting Package offers adaptive xenon headlights, and driver-seat memory, while the Cold Climate Package provides heating for the front seats, windshield and washer jets.
Performance & mpg
Every Land Rover LR2 comes with a 3.2-liter inline-6 providing 230 horsepower and 234 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with sport and manual shift modes. Land Rover claims the LR2 can reach 60 mph in 8.4 seconds, but during our own instrumented testing, an LR2 tester did no better than 9.3 seconds. The all-wheel-drive system sends nearly all of the engine's power to the front wheels by default, though it can redirect most of it to the rear wheels to maximize traction in off-road situations. The AWD has no low range ("4 Lo") for serious off-roading, but for casual off-roaders, the LR2's Terrain Response system largely compensates by providing meaningful changes in engine and transmission behavior when the driver switches from the default "General Driving" mode to any of the three off-road modes (Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, and Sand). Fuel economy is 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway, which is disappointing considering its modest acceleration.
The 2008 Land Rover LR2 comes with side airbags for the driver and front passenger, side curtain airbags for all outboard passengers and a driver's knee bag. Antilock brakes, traction control and stability control with a rollover sensor are also standard.
The 2008 Land Rover LR2 is easily Land Rover's most accessible SUV to date, thanks to its relatively modest size and weight that make it easy to toss around and park. On the downside, acceleration is mediocre for a luxury SUV, due to the engine's minimal low-end torque and the transmission's sluggish response off the line. Handling on pavement is unimpressive, as the LR2 exhibits considerable body roll around turns. The steering is well weighted but low on feedback, and more demanding drivers may be put off by its unusually quick response just off center. The brakes are strong with a progressive pedal feel, but the suspension allows a bit too much front-end dive. One advantage the Land Rover does offer is a comfortable ride quality, as it's more compliant than either the RDX or X3. The LR2 is also a superior off-road vehicle, but we doubt most compact luxury SUV buyers will see this as a significant advantage.
The LR2 has an unmistakable Land Rover feel to it, which means plenty of leather and wood to go around, plus a traditional upright seating position and a utilitarian control layout with numerous buttons. Materials are average in quality and the overall look isn't very elegant, and the busy instrument panel is a little hard to read at a glance. Although the climate and audio controls are clunky to use at first, the optional navigation system's touchscreen interface couldn't be simpler. Cupholders and storage slots are sprinkled liberally throughout the cabin.
The LR2's front seats offer plenty of legroom and headroom, and the steering wheel's wide range of telescope adjustment makes it easy to find a comfortable driving position. The backseat has ample room as well, but the low-mounted bench compromises comfort for adults. Cargo space behind the rear seats is a bit small at 27 cubic feet due to the LR2's high cargo floor. Maximum capacity is only 59 cubic feet, but the rear seats do fold completely flat (though the seat-bottom cushions must be folded up separately).
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Features & Specs
More About This Model
Land Rover's marketing boffins would like you to think of the all-new 2008 Land Rover LR2 — debuting at the Los Angeles Auto Show — as a true Land Rover in a concentrated package. Smaller, lighter and more affordable than the LR3, the LR2 appeals to drivers who are downsizing from traditional sport-utility vehicles into the crossover segment of carlike compact-utility vehicles.
This new Land Rover won't go on sale in the United States until May 2007, but we recently had an opportunity to drive the European version. Its price in the U.S. is expected to begin at about $33,000, although the details won't be announced until the vehicle's official unveiling at the LA auto show. We think the LR2 will fall into a segment of compact yet high-style European utilities defined by the BMW X3 and the forthcoming Volvo XC50.
You might remember the Freelander, the previous (and largely unloved) Land Rover entry in this category, but Land Rover is hoping that you won't. The LR2 nameplate is meant to give this all-new vehicle a fresh start in the U.S. and persuade people that it's a luxurious full-size Land Rover made small, and not a little Land Rover with a full-size price.
Tough, but not that tough
The LR2's bodywork is an interesting patchwork of Land Rover's design language. The slab-sided doors and unusual D-post are pinched from the LR3, while the black frame around the rear window comes from the Range Rover. The clamshell-style hood and stepped roof line were inspired by the original Freelander, and we think the vehicle's aggressive stance recalls the Range Rover Sport.
Anyone used to the boxy, utilitarian aesthetic of the LR3 will find the LR2's softer curves something of a culture shock. Overall, the LR2 makes a different kind of statement. "We wanted the LR2 to be tough — but not that tough," says Geoff Upex, the guru of Land Rover design. "It is important to reassure people who might be trading up from a conventional premium car."
Upex and his team have done a good job of getting their message across. In a front three-quarter view, the LR2 looks strikingly muscular, and there is some nice detailing around the headlights. The LR2 doesn't quite have the same fresh impact of the LR3, but it's impressively neat and coherent.
It's also notably smaller than an LR3. Available only in a four-door configuration, the LR2 measures 177.2 inches from tip to tail, some 13.2 inches shorter than an LR3 and even 2.7 inches shorter than a BMW X3.
A high-style, carlike cabin
The carlike design themes of the LR2's exterior are carried through into the interior. The bluff, utilitarian feel of the LR3's dash has given way to a softer design that combines the look of an SUV with that of a traditional sedan. The quality of the presentation is a huge step forward from the Freelander, but the wood trim doesn't look right and there were some squeaks and rattles in the interior of the preproduction vehicles we drove.
For the U.S., the LR2 will come in only one, fully optioned model, with such things as leather upholstery and a massive twin-element sunroof as standard equipment. Also standard will be full-time all-wheel drive with Land Rover's unique, electrically controlled Terrain Response, which allows you to choose among different combinations of ride height, throttle response, transmission setting, traction control and Land Rover's Hill Descent according to driving conditions. Many typical Land Rover features will be on the LR2's options list, including DVD-based satellite navigation.
The LR2 is far more spacious than the old Freelander, yet you're never left in doubt that this is a compact-utility vehicle. We discovered that four 6-foot adults could find room inside, but a BMW X3 feels more commodious. Land Rover tells us that there are 59 cubic feet of cargo volume when the rear seat is folded flat, but the 26.5 cubic feet of volume when the second seat is fully upright seemed only adequate to us.
One engine fits all
A DOHC 3.2.-liter inline-6 is mounted transversely under the LR2's hood. Derived from the latest version of the inline-6 recently introduced by the forthcoming Volvo S80, this engine has been adapted to all-terrain use with a high-mounted air intake, presumably so the LR2 can ford those tropical rivers Land Rover drivers always seem to be encountering in television commercials.
The LR2's six-cylinder develops 230 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 234 pound-feet of torque at 3,200 rpm, and it's designed to deliver a broad power band thanks to variable valve timing, plus a unique Land Rover technology that permits the engine to switch between two different profiles for the intake camshaft. Land Rover says this is enough to propel the LR2 from zero to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds and then on to 124 mph. An Aisin-Warner-built six-speed automatic transmission is standard, and has a sport mode that lets you manually shift through the gears.
The new engine is impressively smooth and proves an ideal foil for the transmission. Our only significant criticism concerns the engine's lack of torque low in the rpm range. The LR2 weighs 4,255 pounds, so this inline-6 needs to be worked hard to deliver its best, which will inevitably compromise the fuel consumption.
The days are long gone when Land Rover customers were willing to sacrifice on-road comfort in favor of mud-plugging ability. Today's Land Rover owners demand both carlike on-road performance and class-leading off-road ability.
To achieve this end, Land Rover's engineers set about designing a chassis that's exceptionally stiff and solid. They claim that only the Range Rover and the Porsche Cayenne offer more torsional rigidity in the sport-utility segment. As you'd expect, this is a carlike unit-body chassis, and it features an independent front suspension with MacPherson struts and a rear suspension with an independent four-link setup. The all-wheel-drive system is calibrated for good on-road fuel economy, while Ford's high-tech electronic stability control with its special roll-sensing feature is standard equipment.
All this technology blends into a convincing whole. The LR2 handles more like a sport compact car than a utility vehicle. Big tires furnish lots of cornering grip, the chassis doesn't roll too much and understeer is under control. When you brake hard, the Land Rover feels stable. If you step out of a BMW X3 and into an LR2, you won't feel cheated.
But the LR2 isn't perfect. The steering has just 2.6 turns from lock-to-lock, and it feels too quick for such a heavy vehicle with long-travel suspension. In addition, steering geometry that's meant to insulate you from off-road thumps doesn't offer much feedback on the asphalt, so you find yourself making constant corrections on the highway, which is both frustrating and tiring. On back roads, the substantial suspension travel lets the LR2 rock a bit from side to side, a constant reminder that this is a utility vehicle, and not a sport compact car after all.
As expected, the LR2 is amazingly capable when you're driving in the dirt, although the transmission doesn't have the low-range feature found in the LR3 and Range Rover. All you do is dial the console-mounted knob for Land Rover's Terrain Response to a setting appropriate for what you see out of the windows, then let the LR2's sophisticated electronic stability control take care of the rest. The LR2 displays an impressive repertoire of off-road skills that few owners will ever appreciate.
Forget all you ever knew about the old Freelander. The all-new 2008 Land Rover LR2 really does distill the luxury and all-terrain capability that you expect from Land Rover into a compact package that's a lot friendlier to drive around town than a full-size utility vehicle. All this goodness comes at a cost, though, as this premium vehicle will carry a relatively premium price. As rapidly as the market for compact utilities is expanding, it'll be interesting to see if people are ready for so much luxury — and so much cost — in a compact, practical package.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Used 2008 Land Rover LR2 SUV Overview
The Used 2008 Land Rover LR2 SUV is offered in the following styles: SE 4dr SUV AWD (3.2L 6cyl 6A), and HSE 4dr SUV AWD (3.2L 6cyl 6A).
What's a good price on a Used 2008 Land Rover LR2 SUV?
Price comparisons for Used 2008 Land Rover LR2 SUV trim styles:
- The Used 2008 Land Rover LR2 SUV SE is priced between $5,897 and$9,485 with odometer readings between 130 and93082 miles.
- The Used 2008 Land Rover LR2 SUV HSE is priced between $5,931 and$5,931 with odometer readings between 162474 and162474 miles.
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Should I lease or buy a 2008 Land Rover LR2?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.