By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.5
The new Range Rover Evoque may be the family looker, but the entry-level Land Rover LR2 SUV still deserves a strong look. Last year, Land Rover updated the engine, interior and exterior styling to draw more attention to its least expensive model. This year little has changed, but the LR2 still offers something a lot of its competition doesn't: real off-road capability. With standard all-wheel drive, ample ground clearance, and the ability to traverse nearly 20 inches of standing water, the LR2 can go where similarly priced competitors can't. On the other hand, despite last year's improvements, the 2014 Land Rover LR2 doesn't offer the refinement or panache of luxury competitors like the Mercedes-Benz GLK, BMW X3 and Audi Q5.
If you want your luxury SUV to have the off-road ability to back up its rugged looks, the 2014 Land Rover LR2 may just be the ticket. It also has an air of exclusivity, because the LR2 is a relatively low-volume vehicle compared to other brands.
The downside to the LR2 is that, despite its luxury nameplate, it's simply not as sophisticated or refined as competitors like the Audi Q5, BMW X3 or even the Acura RDX. Then there's Land Rover's reputation for slipshod reliability, giving the LR2 some of the industry's lowest residual values.
The 2014 Land Rover LR2 gets a handful of tweaks after last year's upgrade. The SUV's infotainment system gets a more responsive touch screen, and the SiriusXM satellite radio features better search and other usability improvements. The 825-watt Meridian sound system is available on base and HSE models as a stand-alone option.
Driving Impressions The good news is that if you plan to take your entry-luxury SUV off road, the 2014 Land Rover LR2 is pure Land Rover. The turbocharged 4-cylinder offers broad power...... and smooth throttle response, perfect for carefully navigating obstacles. On road, it's a different story. While other brands may brag about their "carlike" handling, the LR2 feels more ponderous than its rivals. Still, it confidently soaks up bumps and road imperfections, and it easily negotiates corners and tight parking lots. Wind and road noise contribute to the LR2 feeling less refined than its competitors, though.
Part of the reason the Land Rover LR2 is so good off road is its Terrain Response system, which tailors vehicle characteristics to handle one of four driver-selectable settings, such as grass/gravel/snow, mud and ruts, sand and normal driving.
MERIDIAN SOUND SYSTEM
There's no doubting that the 825-watt, 17-speaker Meridian surround-sound system is one of the best out there. If you're an audiophile, you're likely to look at the Land Rover LR2 as just a fancy mobile carrying case for this sound system.
Last year's upgrade to the dash has definitely paid dividends. The new dash is far more elegant and less cluttered than the old one, and the materials are mostly in line with the class, with a few cheap-looking plastics here and there. The new touch screen is designed to provide a more user-friendly experience, including improved scrolling and a QWERTY keyboard. On a more pragmatic front, the Land Rover LR2 can carry up to 59 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seats folded, which is on par with or better than other vehicles in the category.Exterior
The exterior upgrades last year were far subtler than the interior's. The 2014 Land Rover LR2 soldiers on with the same appearance, with LEDs sprinkled here and there. Unfortunately, the LR2 is starting to look a little old, especially with the Evoque and Evoque-inspired Range Rover and Range Rover Sport on the same showroom floor. High-end HSE and HSE LUX models distinguish themselves with silver-painted grille bar inserts, fender vents and rear finisher strip. Although the LR2 rides SUV-high, step-in height and cargo loading are easily manageable for adults.
The 5-passenger 2014 Land Rover LR2 is offered in base, HSE and HSE LUX trims. In base form, the LR2 comes equipped with the Terrain Response traction-management system, a panoramic moonroof, leather upholstery and an 11-speaker audio system paired with a 7-inch touch-screen display. Mid-tier HSE models add a rearview camera, rear park distance control and xenon headlights, while primo HSE LUX versions are highlighted by the Meridian premium audio system and an 8-way power driver's seat (6-way is standard). In terms of safety, every 2014 LR2 includes seven airbags, rollover-mitigation control and active head restraints designed to help protect against whiplash injuries.
While audiophiles can now order the Meridian sound system on the base and HSE models, Snowbelters and the perpetually cold will love the heated steering wheel and front seats that comprise the cold climate package. Improvements to the navigation system this year mean it merits a look as well. And, while it may not be a deal-breaker, the Land Rover LR2's lack of a power liftgate is a glaring omission, particularly since nearly all luxury SUVs have offered such a convenience for the better part of a decade.
A new 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine – the same Ford-designed EcoBoost powerplant used in the Evoque – replaces the 3.2-liter inline-6 of the former model. With 240 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of peak torque, it tops the outgoing 6-cylinder engine by 10 horsepower and 16 lb-ft of torque. The carry-over 6-speed automatic transmission now incorporates Land Rover's Intelligent Power System Management (IPSM), which recovers kinetic energy during deceleration and braking to charge the battery in the most energy-efficient manner. These powertrain changes translate to a 15-percent uptick in fuel economy while delivering an improved 0-60-mph time of around 8.2 seconds (down from 8.4).
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
240 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
250 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2014 Land Rover LR2 starts at about $37,500, competitive with SUVs from Mercedes-Benz and Audi. Mid-range HSE models come in just under $40,000, and the HSE LUX starts at about $42,500. Check all the boxes, and your fully loaded HSE LUX could top more than $48,000, a relative bargain considering the $60,000 range of the similarly equipped BMW and Mercedes-Benz competitors. If you're looking to maximize your dollars, the Acura RDX is about $40,000 when fully loaded. To get the best deal on your next vehicle, check out KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price tool at the bottom of this page. Likely unable to escape the dark cloud of resale value under which the Land Rover brand currently sits, the 2014 LR2 is expected to have the lowest residual values in the segment.
By amanda on Thursday, July 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Haven't had an issue with the LR2 and really enjoy riding it. The SUV isn't bulky like some others and offers great visibility when driving. 2 thumbs up!"
7 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By msrover on Thursday, July 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Safe, attractive, fun to drive, good service"
Cons: "None that I have experienced yet."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have had this car for three years now, purchased as a demo with 4,000 miles on it. While it does not have a great deal of mileage on it, and I confess to "pampering" it (I do not drive it "hard"), the car has been reliable, provides me with a sense of security, and is actually fun to drive. Great pick up when I need it. I LOVE the appearance of the car in particular! I am thinking of keeping it even after the warranty runs out in January, as I would hate to change what I have. I got a great deal on it from the dealer in Massachusetts where we used to live, and have had great service on it both there and now in FL where we live. I wonder if a new one would be as good as this!"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Al on Friday, February 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Nicely equipped vehicle"
Cons: "No center console"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"The 2011 LR2 is a great vehicle if you enjoy the great outdoors. As an avid hiker and snowshoer the LR2 performs well throughout the mountains in winter. Very comfortable seating with adequate power under the hood. The negatives at 35,000 miles are the original Continental tires had to be replaced and this vehicle is also a little thirsty."
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful