Ready to raise its profile among the compact luxury SUV set, the 2013 Land Rover LR2 will arrive in dealers later this year boasting a wide-ranging selection of enhancements that include a sleeker appearance, more sophisticated technology and new, 4-cylinder engine in place of the old V6 that brings added power and efficiency.
Visual changes to the exterior of the new Land Rover LR2 are subtle but effective. In addition to three new colors -- Aintree Green, Havana and Mauritius Blue - this five-passenger on/off-road specialist gets a mild restyled and LED-infused lighting elements front and rear that give it a more contemporary look. New Xenon headlamps flank a revamped grille and foglamp bezel design that carry a bright finish on the base LR2. The primo LR2 HSE/HSE LUX versions feature grill insert bars, fender vents and a rear finisher strip done in light gloss-silver finish with a gloss-black grille surround. While 18-inch/10-spoke alloy wheels are standard issue, the new LR2 also offers two different 19-inch wheel options.
The changes are even more apparent inside the cabin, which borrows several techno touches from its trendy cousin, the Land Rover Evoque. A trio of new colors is available here as well and leather is standard in all LR2 trims, as is a dual-pane power moonroof. But the big news is the LR2's fully recast dash highlighted by new instrument cluster with 5.0-inch primary display screen that allows the driver to access a wide variety of information using buttons on the multifunction steering wheel. The center console also has been redone to include a standard 7.0-inch touch screen that can command the audio, optional navigation and climate control systems.
Other nice adds for 2013 include Passive Start keyless start/stop, buttons in place of the previous dial for the multi-mode Terrain Response system, a more compact "intelligent" electric parking brake that automatically adjusts brake force to match the grade the LR2 is parked on, a "Say What You See" voice activation system that offers visual prompts of verbal commands required to control functions in the audio, optional satellite navigation, and phone systems plus a rear-view camera - standard on the HSE/LUX - with a "Hitch Assist" feature that indicates the position of the tow ball to make trailer hookups easier.
Both the audio and available navigation packages have been upgraded for 2013. Base sound system is a 380-watt/11-speaker Meridian setup with AM/FM/CD/DVD/Virtual CD capabilities and HD and Satellite radio tuners as well as iPod/USB/Bluetooth streaming and a 3.5mm auxiliary input jack. The LR2 HSE LUX comes with an even more impressive Meridian Surround Sound alternative that boasts 825 watts of music power and 17-speakers. The optional navigation system also has gotten more sophisticated, moving to a faster, hard-drive based operating system and offering several new capabilities including ECO Route planning, Dynamic Zoom, Visual Lane guidance, POI (Point of Interest) management and repeat TMC traffic guidance.
Arguably the most dramatic changes for 2013 are seen in the LR2's powertrain. A 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine - the same Ford-designed EcoBoost motivator used in the Evoque - replaces the old 3.2-liter V6 used previously. With 240 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of peak torque, it tops the outgoing six by 10 and 16 output units, respectively, and also is 88 pounds lighter. It's matched with a 6-speed Aisin AWF21 automatic transmission that has been revised for additional efficiency and is equipped with Land Rover's Intelligent Power System Management (IPSM) that features Smart Regenerative Charging that uses recovers kinetic energy on deceleration/braking and uses it to charge the battery in the most energy-efficient manner. While Land Rover has yet to release any EPA numbers, the changes are expected to yield significant gains in the LR2's mileage stats while serving up 0-60 mph times around 8.2 seconds.
As always, power is shipped to all four wheels on the LR2, although now via an improved Haldex permanent all-wheel-drive system that can instantly transfer progressively larger amounts of torque from the front to the rear wheels as traction conditions warrant.
Pricing for the 2013 Land Rover LR2 will start at $37,250, with the LR2 HSE opening at $39,750 and the LR2 HSE LUX commanding $42,350.