The new Range Rover Evoque may be the family looker, but the entry-level Land Rover LR2SUV 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.
You'll Like This Car If...
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.
You May Not Like This Car If...
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 the LR2
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.
TERRAIN RESPONSE 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.
2014 Land Rover LR2 Details
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.
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.
Under the Hood
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).
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.
Pros: "comfortable commanding driving in all weather"
Cons: "every thing is pricy to repair"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Great car. Land Rover really did a great job on this car. The engine is perfectly matched to this car. It has really great performance. Fuel economy as expected for a car this size. Plenty luggage space for the average road trip. You can sleep in it with the back seats down. In general it is great fun to drive on the road and highly capable off road. It really shines when the weather gets lousy. Traction in snow and mud and rain is outstanding. It makes you wish for bad weather."
Pros: "gorgeous, awesome turning ratio, good in snow"
Cons: "towing capability limited to 3300 lbs"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought my 2008 LR2 brand new - and simply love it almost 8 years later. I looked at all the SUVs before purchasing this vehicle. What made my decision was the turning ratio, still amazes me, plus its good looks. Sadly looking to get a new vehicle because I need to be able to tow more than the LR2 can handle. Minimal tweaks (gas gauge stopped working, weird knocking sound) needed on the vehicle and all were under warranty as it happened early."
"bought a 2011 lr2 8 mths ago. it now has 51000 mls. it's been great so far. no problems. very solid and quiet. it did come with a 6 yr/100,000 mile warranty, but no problems. previous owner had no problems either. did my own oil change, pretty easy. white with almond, very sharp looking car. wish it got better gas millage, but worth it.. fairly quick. great in the snow. can't wait to get it on the beach this summer."