Flash Drive: 2009 Land Rover LR2 HSE
This 2009 review is representative of model years 2008 to 2012.
By Staff of MSN Autos
The smallest vehicle offered by Land Rover in the U.S., the 2009 Land Rover LR2 HSE feels a little bit more at home on the pavement than most of its larger siblings. Thanks to the latest technology, it also still retains legendary Land Rover off-road capability. Sharing drivetrain components with the Volvo S80, the LR2 is equipped with permanent all-wheel drive but tends to feel more like a front-wheel-drive vehicle until the electronically controlled center differential kicks in to vary the torque split. The 230-horsepower 3.2-liter inline 6-cylinder engine provides enough power on the highway and is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission for combined fuel economy in the upper teens. Inside, the LR2 duplicates the luxurious but functional style of other Land Rover models. The LR2 is a luxurious, 5-passenger SUV that makes a great everyday driver, but retains all the off-road capability, including the adjustable Terrain Response system, which offers four modes to tailor the electronic aids for different off-road conditions. –Mike Meredith
The LR2 is a finely crafted compact SUV. From the comfortable and attractive interior to the bold styling of the exterior, this is a cool little SUV. The smooth V6 engine provided 20 mpg in mixed driving, which is decent considering the 230-horsepower output. Inside the car, it was unusual to have the window and mirror controls near the driver's window, and it took awhile to get used to this placement. Also, the electrical system was fooled once because I removed the key fob without pressing it in first — the LR2 would not let me lock the car because it still thought the key was in the ignition. Maneuverability was good in the LR2 in the city, and with all the off-road capability built in, a family could rely upon this SUV to be the only vehicle in the household. –Joe Chulick
The Land Rover LR2 may be the cheapest of the Land Rover family, but it is also my favorite. It is extremely well-suited to road driving. The engine may not deliver great fuel economy, but it is smooth and offers a torque curve that matches the urban jungle. And as bad as the fuel economy is, it's still the best among all the Land Rovers, which I suppose is proof that it doesn't matter to the typical buyer of these vehicles; instead, the legendary off-road ability and luxurious comfort entice a Land Rover owner. Here the LR2 does credit to its siblings, offering only slightly less luxury for a bunch less money. That's why the LR2 is my favorite. –Paul Hagger