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2015 Land Rover LR2 REVIEW

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 4/4/2017

Con: Forgettable acceleration and fuel economy; missing some key technology and safety equipment; slightly below-average cargo capacity.

Interior: Just because the 2015 Land Rover LR2 lacks the latest high-tech features doesn't mean its cabin is unappealing. On the contrary, the interior has a sophisticated ambience with a minimalist design, above-average materials quality and expansive side glass and a panoramic sunroof that give it a light, airy feel.

All that glass, combined with raised stadium-style rear seats, gives everyone a good view of the world outside. Front-seat occupants enjoy elevated, comfortable chairs that are equally suitable for long road-trips or an afternoon of off-pavement exploration. Rear seat comfort is adequate, but taller adults may find themselves wishing for a little more legroom.

The 7-inch touchscreen anchors a simple dashboard layout that features straightforward buttons and knobs for most important functions. Unlike other 2015 Land Rover models, however, the LR2 doesn't offer the company's InControl Apps smartphone integration system. The Terrain Response system's buttons fall readily to hand on the center console, facilitating the selection of preprogrammed settings for everything from snow and gravel to mud and ruts.

The interior offers a decent amount of storage for small items like chargers, phones and wallets. The cargo area measures 26.5 cubic feet behind the second-row seats, and can be expanded to 58.9 cubic feet by folding down those rear seatbacks. Those figures are a bit below average, but they're more than the fashion-first Evoque can manage.

Body: The 2015 Land Rover LR2 is a compact four-door luxury crossover SUV with seating for five passengers. It's offered in three trim levels: base, HSE and HSE Lux.

The base LR2 comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, front and rear foglights, rain-sensing wipers, heated mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, rear privacy glass, rear parking sensors and keyless entry and ignition. Inside you'll find dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, power front seats (six-way driver, four-way passenger), a rear cargo area cover, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, cruise control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 7-inch touchscreen display and an 11-speaker Meridian sound system with a CD player, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio input jack.

The HSE adds xenon headlights, a rearview camera and driver memory settings. Going with the HSE Lux gets you upgraded leather upholstery, additional power adjustments for the front seats (eight-way driver, six-way passenger) and a 17-speaker Meridian surround-sound audio system.

Offered on all three trims is the Climate Comfort package, which adds a heated windshield, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. Stand-alone options across the board include 19-inch alloy wheels, a voice-controlled navigation system and satellite/HD radio. The HSE Lux's 17-speaker audio system is optional on the base and HSE trims.

The base and HSE can also be had with either the Silver Pack or the Black Pack for 2015. Each includes special 19-inch alloy wheels, the navigation system and unique exterior and interior trim details.

Driving: On the road, the 2015 Land Rover LR2 offers the kind of smooth, unperturbed ride quality one would expect from a luxury vehicle. Handling is also surprisingly sure-footed, though its tall profile and substantial weight make the overall driving experience less than sporty. Similarly, the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine feels eager enough in daily driving but is unlikely to produce many adrenaline rushes, as its acceleration trails most rival four-cylinders by a wide margin.

Leave the asphalt behind, however, and the LR2 shows the adventurous spirit common to all Land Rover models. Whiles it's not set up to handle the same boulder-strewn dirt trails as its more rugged cousins, its ability to motor through conditions that would send most of its competitors packing makes it a solid choice for anyone looking for a luxury crossover that can leave civilization behind at a moment's notice.

What’s New: For 2015, the Land Rover LR2 gets new Black Pack and Silver Pack options that include distinctive 19-inch alloy wheels, a navigation system and unique appearance details. Also, the 17-speaker Meridian audio system is available as a stand-alone option on the base and HSE trims.

Powering the 2015 Land Rover LR2 is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 240 hp and 250 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. All-wheel drive is also standard on the LR2, as is Land Rover's clever Terrain Response System that offers driver-selectable settings to optimize performance in different driving conditions.

Land Rover estimates the LR2 will run from zero to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds, a sluggish time for this segment. EPA-estimated fuel economy is rather poor for a luxury compact crossover, though: the LR2 achieves 20 mpg combined (17 city/24 highway).

Safety: The 2015 Land Rover LR2's list of standard safety features includes antilock brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control, hill-descent control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag.

Pro: Genuine off-road capability; refined ride; airy cabin.

Edmunds Say: The 2015 Land Rover LR2's off-road credentials remain its main selling point. For those who don't need this capability, there are better choices for a small luxury crossover SUV.

Introduction: If you take a typical compact luxury crossover onto snow-clogged side streets or muddy backcountry trails, you'll likely end up with expensive towing bill. Most of these supposed utility vehicles simply aren't designed to tackle truly demanding conditions. With so much tough-driving heritage, Land Rover doesn't think much of "offroaders" that can't really go offroad, though: the 2015 Land Rover LR2, will take to rough roads with its sophisticated all-wheel-drive system and generous ground clearance. If you're looking for a fancy crossover that's not afraid to get dirty, the LR2 certainly fills the bill.

The LR2 has some weaknesses that are hard to ignore, however. The unassuming exterior styling hasn't changed that much since the LR2's debut more than a decade ago, when it was known as the Freelander. The interior is missing common technology and safety features like smartphone integration, adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation and a blind-spot monitor. Under the hood, the 240-horsepower four-cylinder engine provides only modest thrust, and it returns a disappointing 20 mpg in combined driving. Although the plucky LR2 put Land Rover on the compact-crossover map, you can see why it's reached the end of the trail.

With all that in mind, buyers who don't really need the LR2's off-pavement prowess are advised to look elsewhere. The 2015 BMW X3 is a strong contender for those who value on-road performance and interior space. The 2015 Audi Q5 offers excellent performance of its own, along with a handsome profile and a sumptuous cabin. The all-new 2015 Lexus NX 200t adds a strong dose of urban cool, and if you do want LR2-level off-roading capability, try the stylish 2015 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque or the practical 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport. Budget permitting, the 2015 Porsche Macan trumps the rest with its formidable skills on any surface. The 2015 Land Rover LR2 is a pleasant enough crossover, but most buyers will likely be better served by its more up-to-date competitors.

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