Road & Travel Magazine

Auto Advice & Tips
Auto Buyer's Guides
Car Care Maintenance
Climate Change News
Auto Awards Archive
Insurance & Accidents
Legends & Leaders
New Car Reviews
Planet Driven
Road Humor
Road Trips
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Teens & Tots Tips
Tire Buying Tips
Used Car Buying
Vehicle Model Guide

Travel Channel
Adventure Travel
Advice & Tips
Airline Rules
Bed & Breakfasts
Cruises & Tours
Destination Reviews
Earth Tones
Family Travel Tips
Health Trip
Hotels & Resorts
Luxury Travel
Pet Travel
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Spa Reviews
Train Vacations
World Travel Directory

Bookmark and Share

2008 Land Rover LR2

2008 Land Rover LR2 Powers Past its Predecessor
by Bob Plunkett

Mountainous dunes whipped by strong Pacific winds ripple like waves along the California shore at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, which serves as our playground to test the tire-claw traction on a new compact-class wagon from Britain's classy coachmaker, Land Rover.

2008 Land Rover LR2- FrontLabeled LR2, the new model is a larger and more powerful successor to Freelander, Land Rover's previous small-class SUV.

Marked by a boxy profile with the roof seemingly floating above a wrap of windows, the new LR2 borrows some styling cues from the fancy Range Rover flagship SUV. It packs a forceful six-in-line engine designed by Volvo of Sweden, and channels all of the plant's muscle through an always-engaged all-wheel-drive (AWD) system from Haldex, the Swedish AWD pioneer. The system delivers sure-footed tire traction on rain-slick pavement, as well as off-road trails and even huge sand dunes suited for Lawrence of Arabia.

The LR2's five-seat passenger compartment is a luxurious space laced with a standard two-part, panoramic sunroof and lots of safety gear, including seven air bags and a smorgasbord of sophisticated vehicle controls. The four-wheel electronic traction control (4ETC), all-terrain dynamic stability control (DSC) and roll stability control (RSC) reduce the risk of roll-over while hill descent control (HDC) keeps the wagon's wheels firmly planted on a steep grade.

The architecture of the LR2 amounts to a five-door monocoque structure, which compares more to a front-wheel-drive (FWD) car rather than the conventional SUV's rear-wheel-drive (RWD) body-on-frame platform. That integral body-frame structure makes the LR2 a crossover utility vehicle (CUV), although it has a high stance (with a 10.5-inch clearance below the rear axle) so it can ride over off-road obstacles or plunge through a stream of water more than 19 inches deep. Compared to the previous Freelander, the LR2 is a bigger package, with the wheelbase increasing about five inches. An additional couple inches to the length creates more room for passengers in the cabin, while the longer wheelbase enhances the smooth-ride stability of the vehicle at highway speeds. The LR2 also has independent suspension components with coil-sprung struts front and rear.

2008 Land Rover LR2- 3/4 viewThere's a MacPherson strut design up front with lower control arm and anti-roll bar, and in the rear the strut assembly uses lateral and longitudinal links plus an anti-roll bar. Rubber-mounted sub-frames in front and rear isolate any road-bump action.The LR2 cabin layout consists of a pair of bucket seats on the front row and a second row bench seat broad enough for three, with an asymmetrically split design and a higher stance in stepped-up arrangement-like stadium seats. The rear seat double-folds forward to fashion a flat floor for an expansion of the rear cargo bay - which amounts to 58.9 cubic-feet of room. Firm front buckets, trimmed in leather hides, adjust in multiple directions through electric power controls. The driver's seat moves six ways while the front passenger's seat has four settings.

The LR2 also contains armaments to chart a safe course through urban traffic as well as the wilderness. Curtain-style side air bags for both rows of seats are on-board, as are side-impact air bags for the front buckets. The LR2 driver also gets the added protection of an inflatable knee bolster. Although designed by Volvo of Sweden and assembled in Wales, the six-cylinder engine motivating the LR2 was revamped by Land Rover for the rigors of off-road work with enhanced protection against sand, water and mud. The 3.2-liter straight-six, with dual-cam configuration and transverse mounting, generates 230 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 234 ft-lb. of torque at 3,200 rpm. It translates the torque through an electronically controlled automatic transmission with six forward gears. The shifter stick with H-gate shift pattern adds Land Rover's CommandShift mode for sequential gear changes.

Also, there's a tab for sport mode, which quickens the shift points for keener performance. On the road, the LR2 feels strong and swift - charging from zero to 60 mph in a tad over eight seconds and running at a top speed of 124 mph.The intelligent AWD system on the LR2 - with engine power split between front and rear wheels through an electronically controlled center coupling - varies the front-rear torque split constantly to suit changing conditions. When driving on dry pavement only a bit of torque goes to the rear wheels, yet in a tough off-road situation, the device could feed almost all of the torque to the rear wheels.

2008 Land Rover LR2- InteriorAhead of the console shift lever is a rotary dial for selecting four different terrain settings using Land Rover's patented terrain response system (TRS), which matches various electronic and mechanical controls to the terrain traveled. The settings include one for pavement cruising, another for slick surfaces like grass/gravel/snow, a third one for wallowing in mud and ruts and a fourth strictly for sand.

Once a mode is chosen, the TRS goes to work. It sets up the vehicle in optimum manner for the type of terrain traversed through the modulation of powertrain response, transmission gear selections and electronic controls like the 4ETC and DSC. On a flat beach at Oceana, we twirl the TRS dial. Switching to the grass/gravel/snow mode we feel less power in the throttle because the lack of a slippery surfaces. Switching to sand, we feel a power surge in the pedal as you need lots of torque to keep the wheels rolling through tire-sucking sand.

Land Rover lines the LR2 with a substantial content of luxury items like dual-zone automatic air conditioning, a keyless starter button, one-touch power controls for windows, auto headlamps and rain-sensing wipers.Three optional equipment packages are available including the Technology Package (DVD-based navigation system and Dolby Pro Logic II Surround Sound kit), the Lighting Package (bi-xenon lamps and adaptive front lighting system) and the Cold Climate Package.


Description: Compact off-road CUV
Model options: LR2
Wheelbase: 104.7 inches

Overall length:
177.1 inches
Ground clearance: 08.3 inches (front axle), 10.5 inches (rear axle)
Engine size: DOHC 3.2-L I6
Transmissions/speeds: Automatic, six-cylinder CommandShift
Rear/front drive: AWD
Steering: Power rack and pinion
Braking: Power 4-disc, ABS/EBA/EBD/CBC, 4ETC/ARM/DSC/HDC
Air bags: two (front), two (side), one (driver's knee), four (side curtain)
Maximum GVWR: 5,520 pounds
Maximum towing capacity: 3,500 pounds
EPA mileage est. city/hwy: 16/23 mpg
MSRP: $ 33,985