2008 Land Rover LR2


2008 Land Rover LR2 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2008 Land Rover LR2 was new.


Performance: 7.5

Most reviewers say the Land Rover LR2 has strong off-road capabilities and an adequate ride on road. Road and Track says the LR2 has "laudable ride comfort," and "predictable handling with good steering communication."

Still, the LR2 is heavy and competes in a very competitive class. Edmunds says LR2 has "[m]ediocre acceleration for a luxury-brand SUV" and "modest handling on pavement." The New York Times says the LR2's "handling should be competitive, although the BMW X3 remains the class valedictorian."

Several reviewers suggest that Land Rover's decision not to include a low-range transfer case will prevent it from being used in the most extreme off-road situations. "[T]he LR2 does not have a low-range gearbox," says AutoWeek, "and thus cannot perform hard-core rock-pounding stunts like the rest of the Land Rover lineup." However, many reviewers also note that other vehicles in this class lack extensive off-road equipment. Land Rover has given the LR2 a number of electronic systems, including the Terrain Response System, to allow the vehicle to finesse tricky surfaces in both on-road and off-road situations. And while some reviewers believe that LR2 owners will be doing mostly highway driving with a little light off-roading, the reviewer for the Boston Globe suggests that "they could go wild if they were so inclined. The LR2's stability was remarkable."

Acceleration and Power

The 2008 Land Rover LR2 has a 3.2-liter 230-horsepower six-cylinder engine originally manufactured by Ford for the Volvo S80. Reviewers find the engine adequate but unexceptional. "The six-cylinder engine provides decent rather than startling performance," says Car and Driver. According to Land Rover, the LR2 can go from 0 to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds, but some critics find this overly optimistic. "[D]uring our own instrumented testing," says Edmunds, "an LR2 tester did no better than 9.3 seconds." Once the LR2 is up to speed on the highway its performance is still less than stellar. "LR2 lacks solid midrange punch," according to Consumer Guide, "and struggles a bit up steep grades." The Sacramento Bee notes that "the LR2's engine...is quite capable on- and off-road, but it's no neck-snapper." Nonetheless, the reviewer for AutoWeek found that "[t]his is a peppy and fine-handling SUV-let with a very smooth powertrain for this class."

The 2008 Land Rover LR2 comes with a six-speed Aisin-Warner automatic transmission with a Command Shift manual option and two performance modes: "normal" and "sport." Most reviewers like it. Consumer Guide calls it "smooth" and "responsive." Kelley Blue Book feels that it "delivers smooth, quick shifts in either mode." The reviewer for the Boston Globe raves that "[t]he six-speed automatic transmission was as smooth a gearbox as I've seen in an SUV at this level." The Detroit News found the transmission to be "smooth, allowing quick acceleration."

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the LR2 should net 16 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Cars.com finds these figures "disappointing given the LR2's modest power."

Handling and Braking

Reviewers like the LR2's handling, with the Detroit News going so far as to call it "superb." Motor Trend says that "[o]n tarmac, the LR2 displays a confident, compliant ride free of the harshness of some of its rivals, though it probably lacks their ultimate handling tenacity." Forbes says that "[t]he steering response is nimble enough but retains that Land Rover robustness designed to withstand jarring abuse on rough terrain." The reviewer for the Boston Globe found the LR2's ride to be "quiet, comfortable, smooth, and fun." The reviewer for Edmunds complains that "[a]mong the LR2's flaws are soft handling on pavement," but the Washington Post points out the LR2 is perfect for "people who understand that the LR2 is a sport-utility vehicle, as opposed to a sports car."

Much of the LR2's handling comes courtesy of several sophisticated electronic systems. "The LR2 also brims with electronic watchdogs to help keep you out of trouble," says Motor Trend. These systems include stability and traction control, which monitor wheel slippage and driver inputs to keep the vehicle on course.

The LR2 has a fully independent long-travel suspension with large-diameter struts. Newsday finds it "well balanced...the ride is comfortable....This SUV never feels tippy or overly bouncy." The Orlando Sentinel found that "[t]he suspension soaks up bumps as it should, but it's firm enough to let the LR2 corner as well as any SUV this size. It never feels tipsy." Edmunds notes that "[o]n back roads, the substantial suspension travel lets the LR2 rock a bit from side to side, a constant reminder that this is a utility vehicle, and not a sport compact car after all."

The LR2's anti-lock disc brakes are "strong with a progressive pedal feel," says Edmunds. The brakes are so responsive, according to USA TODAY, that "some folks might consider [them] touchy but only because most other brakes feel so sloppy." The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notices that "[b]raking is solid from four-wheel discs, but since [the LR2] is so heavy, it requires steady, hard braking to stop from highway speeds."


Off-road driving is a Land Rover specialty. Most reviewers feels that the LR2 holds its own in this department. "The LR2's off-road prowess is outstanding," says the Detroit News. Some critics, however, fear that the absence of a low-range transfer case will compromise its ability to perform in the most extreme off-road situations. "Diehard off-roaders will note that...the LR2 lacks a two-speed transfer case with low range," says Motor Trend. "Unless you plan to tackle serious boulders and such, though, you probably won't miss it."

Land Rover has installed a number of electronic systems to compensate for the lack of the low range. Most of these are controlled by a master system known as Terrain Response, which allows almost every aspect of the LR2 to be adjusted for different surfaces, including grass, mud and snow. Forbes notes that "[w]hile the LR2 lacks low-range gearing to be able to tackle the toughest off-road situations, it makes the best of things with its own rendition of Land Rover's robust and high-tech Terrain Response system found on pricier models." The New York Times lodges a minor complaint that "it is missing the rock-climbing setting offered on other Land Rovers -- an omission not likely to be noticed." Other electronic systems include Hill Descent, which prevents the vehicle from descending steep surfaces at dangerous speeds and Gradient Release Control, which improves traction on slippery slopes.

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