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2015 Land Rover LR2: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader October 2014

The 2015 Land Rover LR2 SUV may hold value for those who cherish the Land Rover name, but it's easily outdone by other luxury brands, not to mention some lower-priced compacts including the Jeep Cherokee and Hyundai Santa Fe. Because it shares a platform with the new Evoque crossover, the LR2 is one of the few Land Rovers to employ unibody construction. This means it's built like a car, not a truck.

Optimized for paved roads, the LR2 can nonetheless hold its own in the bushes if opportunity knocks. From a luxury standpoint, the LR2 competes with the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLK and Lexus RX -- all better-equipped and better-reviewed luxury models with more interior room and superior fuel economy ratings. However, the LR2's off-road abilities far exceed its luxury rivals. And while it's true that Land Rover has exercised many of the demons that plagued the old Freelander (the LR2's predecessor), the jury is still out on the LR2's long-term prospects.

What's New for 2015

Two new decor packages, dubbed the Black Pack and the Silver Pack, are added to the option roster. Each features 19-in wheels, HDD navigation and unique trim pieces both inside and out. The optional Meridian sound system is bundled with satellite radio and offered this year at a special value price.

What We Like

Surprising off-road capability; competitive base MSRP; peppy acceleration

What We Don't

Forgettable fuel economy; cramped rear seat; limited cargo space; unproven long-term reliability

How Much?

$37,525-$46,500

Fuel Economy

The LR2 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder rated at 240 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a 6-speed automatic. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, fuel economy is a subpar 17 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.

Standard Features & Options

The 2015 Land Rover LR2 is offered in three trim levels: base, HSE and HSE LUX.

The base model ($37,525) comes standard with 18-in alloy wheels (19-in wheels are optional), automatic headlamps, fog lights, heated mirrors, LED tail lamps, a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, basic power front seats (6-way driver's, 4-way passenger), a leather-wrapped steering wheel with auxiliary controls, Bluetooth, a 7-in infotainment touchscreen, and an 11-speaker Meridian audio system with a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack.

The HSE ($40,025) adds a few exterior styling flourishes and niceties, such as extra power-seat adjustments and a rearview camera with Hitch Assist for towing.

The HSE LUX ($42,625) tacks on Windsor leather seats, premium floor mats and a 17-speaker, 825-watt Meridian surround sound audio system.

LR2 options include a voice-command system, a hard-drive-based navigation system, the 825-watt Meridian audio system and heated front seats. Two new option packages, the Black Pack and Silver Pack are offered on the HSE trim.

Safety

The 2015 LR2 comes standard with anti-lock disc brakes, stability control, all-wheel drive and seven airbags (front, front-side, driver knee and full-length side-curtain). It also has a slew of electronic driving aids, including hill descent control, electronic brake-force distribution, corner brake control, emergency brake assist, roll stability control, engine drag control and gradient release control.

Neither the government nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash-tested the Land Rover LR2.

Behind the Wheel

The LR2 is Land Rover's entry-level vehicle, but it still features classy Euro-style luxury appointments inside. Although the back seat is cramped, it benefits from a raised seat for safarilike outward visibility, which is very good at all four corners and aided by narrow A-pillars. Ergonomics aren't the nightmare you might expect; in fact, between its user-friendly touchscreen and handy climate control knobs, the LR2 is one of the more user-friendly luxury crossovers on the market.

The LR2 is more similar in driving feel to European compact SUVs than it is to other past or present Land Rover products, with the notable exception of the Evoque. Drivers who expect the road-owning sensation provided by the LR4 or the Range Rover family will be disappointed. Nonetheless, you may like the LR2's relatively nimble character, and while the Ford-sourced turbo engine isn't the best of its breed, it adds noticeable pep to the LR2's step.

The permanent 4-wheel-drive system is partly why the LR2's fuel economy falls short of 4-cylinder crossover SUV standards. On the other hand, the LR2 has off-road capability that puts most luxury crossovers to shame. If that's a priority, you likely won't mind paying a bit more at the pump.

Other Cars to Consider

Acura RDX -- The RDX offers front-wheel drive as well as all-wheel drive, and it's one of the better values in this segment.

Audi Q5 -- The Q5 certainly makes more of a fashion statement, and it can be equipped with an excellent optional supercharged V6 or fuel-efficient TDI diesel engine.

BMW X3 -- The X3 continues to be one of our favorites. It's available with either 4-cylinder power or a phenomenal twin-turbo inline 6-cylinder.

AutoTrader's Advice

We don't see much reward in getting a loaded LR2 because that almost puts you in Evoque territory. Stick with the base model, though, and you're looking at a bargain in this segment.

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2015 Land Rover LR2: New Car Review - Autotrader