Land Rover LR2 As consumers gravitate toward car-based crossover SUVs (or CUVs), manufacturers are rolling out even more models to meet demand. Luxury-brand automakers, in particular, have recently been focused on introducing small crossover SUVs. One of the newest models in this segment is the Land Rover LR2.
The LR2 is Land Rover's smallest and most affordable model. In purpose and intent, it replaces the lackluster Freelander, which was sold for a short four-year run in the U.S. The LR2's small size makes it maneuverable in urban environments. At the same time, the LR2 still retains what Land Rovers are known for: superior off-road ability.
This dual-purpose approach leaves the Land Rover LR2 in a somewhat compromised position, however. On-road performance suffers a bit from trying to please its off-road master: Against such street-biased competitors as the Acura RDX and BMW X3, the LR2 gives up both straight-line performance and on-road handling feel. For the small group of consumers who want a small luxury SUV with a fair amount of all-terrain capability, these sacrifices might be acceptable, but among the vast majority of buyers, they're apt to be liabilities.
Current Land Rover LR2
The Land Rover LR2 is available in a single trim level. Motivation comes from a 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine that produces 230 horsepower and 234 pound-feet of torque. The sole transmission choice is a six-speed automatic with a manual shift mode. All-wheel drive (AWD) is standard.
With its reputation for off-road performance to uphold, Land Rover endowed the LR2 with technologies to make it both capable and confident when the journey is off the beaten path. Chief among these is Terrain Response, which is standard on the LR2. Terrain Response adapts the responses of the vehicle's engine, transmission, AWD system, suspension electronics, and stability and hill descent control systems to match the demands of the terrain. It optimizes drivability and comfort as well as maximizing traction. All the driver has to do is select from one of four driving conditions via a rotary knob, and the LR2's computers automatically optimize the vehicle's systems for the selected setting.
On pavement, the LR2 offers the expected levels of Land Rover luxury and comfort. Standard are many features that are often optional on competitors. These include a keyless starter button; panoramic dual-panel sunroof with one-touch control; front and rear foglights and power headlamp washers; rain-sensing wipers; rear park distance control; power leather seats; 18-inch alloy wheels and dual-zone climate control. Notable optional features include a navigation system, memory seating, bi-xenon adaptive front lighting, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio and a 14-speaker surround-sound audio system.
In reviews and road tests, we've found the Land Rover LR2 a bit down on power. This, along with the vehicle's relatively hefty curb weight, has a negative impact on acceleration, which is mediocre for a luxury SUV. Handling is highlighted by a relatively soft suspension. On the road, both body roll and nose dive (under braking) are noticeable. Though these motions prevent the LR2 from feeling especially sporty, outright grip and stopping distances do not suffer, and the ride quality is comfortable.
If your intent is to take your small luxury crossover SUV off-road, then the LR2 should be near the top of your consideration list. The soft suspension settings that conspire to dampen a sporty on-road feel help to deliver superior control on light- and medium-duty trails. And while the LR2 lacks low-range gearing, the Terrain Response system does indeed give the driver a high level of confidence when the going gets rough -- essentially bridging the performance gap between the light-duty AWD systems on most car-based SUVs and the dual-range 4WD systems on more traditional SUVs.
Past Land Rover LR2 Models
Though the LR2 is all-new, Land Rover's first compact utility, the Freelander was sold in this country from 2002-'05.

Land Rover LR3
For decades, Land Rover SUVs have been known primarily for their utility and off-road prowess. During the 1980s, they became more luxurious in nature but their ability in the dirt has never been in question.
A prime example is the Land Rover LR3. A few years ago, Land Rover replaced the aging Discovery with the LR3. (Outside of the North American market, the LR3 is called the "Discovery3.") The old "Disco" was long on utility but a little shy on amenities. The LR3 offers a lot more style but we still think the interior is a little on the spartan side given the LR3's price.
Current Land Rover LR3 Models
The Land Rover LR3 luxury SUV is available in two trim levels -- SE or HSE. The entry-level 216-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 was dropped for 2008, leaving the 300-hp 4.4-liter V8 as the LR3's only available power plant. Even the base-model LR3 SE offers leather seating, a sunroof, a nine-speaker Harman Kardon stereo and, as of 2008, a third row of seats at no extra cost. Also standard is a full array of safety equipment, including front, side and side curtain airbags. Top-of-the-line HSE versions come standard with 19-inch wheels, foglights, a 14-speaker Harman Kardon audio system and a navigation system.
Though smaller than the Range Rover, Land Rover's midsize LR3 is still capable. V8 versions can tow up to 7,700 pounds and the LR3 is hard to beat off-road. In addition to a certain level of luxury, the LR3 also provides a useful interior as well. There's seating for seven passengers (optional on the pre-2008 SE V6 model) and both the second- and third-row seats fold flat to make cargo-hauling easier. The LR3 delivers the kind of tight, refined ride we expect from a luxury SUV and the steering provides excellent road feel and more feedback than many of the LR3's competitors. A tight turning circle and an effective power assist keep it nimble in parking lots.
The Land Rover LR3 is still vastly capable in the dirt and all variants come standard with fully independent adjustable air suspension and a host of electronic off-road aids. Combined with a locking center differential, an optional electronic rear locker and the LR3's new Terrain Response system, this truck has the ability to climb boulders in a single bound.
Past Land Rover LR3
The Land Rover LR3 debuted in 2005. Though Land Rover has adjusted the LR3's feature content a little, no major changes have occurred. Consumers interested in a used Land Rover midsize luxury SUV should check out the Discovery.

Land Rover Range Rover
Pedigree means everything at the top end of the sport-utility market, and no luxury SUV has more pedigree than the Land Rover Range Rover. The Land Rover name dates to 1948, when the Rover group began building bare-bones 4x4 vehicles of immense off-road capability. The Range Rover emerged from that tradition in 1970, billed as the first Land Rover civil enough to be driven by a person in a business suit. With its solid-axle front and rear suspension, pushrod V8 engine and four-speed manual transmission, this two-door SUV was quite rudimentary by today's standards. But it was immediately popular among wealthy U.K. consumers with a taste for the safari aesthetic. Sales didn't officially start in the U.S until 1987, though quite a few Range Rovers were imported through the gray market in the years preceding. Now in its third generation, the Land Rover Range Rover still carries considerable prestige. From an off-road perspective, it's one of the most capable SUVs available at any price. From a luxury perspective, it's probably the most elegant and distinctive utility vehicle on the market, despite a few rough edges. High pricing keeps all but the very rich from buying a new Range Rover -- a fact that only adds to the appeal of this elite 4x4.Current Land Rover Range RoverThe Range Rover's most recent redesign came in 2003. Although it looks much like its predecessors on the outside, this Range Rover is very different underneath. Engineered in the late 1990s during the brief period when BMW owned Land Rover, the third Range Rover employs unibody construction (instead of body-on-frame architecture) and a fully independent suspension (instead of solid axles). These changes make all the difference when cruising on pavement, as the Range Rover now delivers the composed ride and secure handling expected of a true luxury SUV. Yet BMW engineers went about their work carefully so as not to compromise all-terrain ability. Permanent four-wheel drive is standard, and the Range Rover's height-adjustable air suspension provides up to 10.8 inches of ground clearance, along with generous approach and departure angles.From 2003-'05, a BMW-sourced 4.4-liter V8 rated for 282 horsepower was the only engine available on the Land Rover Range Rover. It came with a five-speed automatic transmission. However, in 2006, current parent company Ford replaced this engine with a pair of Jaguar-sourced V8s. The current Range Rover HSE model has a normally aspirated 305-hp 4.4-liter V8, while the Range Rover Supercharged model packs a supercharged 4.2-liter version of that engine good for an even 400 hp. Both of the current engines come mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.Cabin design is a mix of traditional and modern in the Land Rover Range Rover. The upright seating position, blocky dash and large steering wheel evoke the feeling of an old-school Land Rover, while firm leather seats (with contrasting piping), walnut inlays and a navigation system with both on- and off-road mapping assure you that this is indeed a contemporary luxury vehicle. A roomy rear seat makes it possible to carry a pair of adults or three children in back, but cargo room is only average due to a high load floor.Buyers interested in technology will want to pay particular attention to year-by-year changes when shopping for used Range Rovers. The navigation system was CD-based until Land Rover upgraded it for 2005, and a rear backup camera and adaptive headlights were added to the standard equipment list for 2006. The 4WD system gained customizable terrain settings for '07.Past Land Rover Range Rover ModelsThere have been two previous generations of the Range Rover. Both are coveted on the used market, but potential buyers should know what they're getting into: Range Rovers are phenomenal off-roaders, but reliability is poor and repair costs are high.Sold from 1995-2002, the second-generation Range Rover is the better bet of the two for buyers seeking a luxury experience. Note that 1995 was an overlap year: Rovers bearing a "4.0 SE" badge are the new model, while those with "County Classic" or "County LWB" badging are the old design. For 1996, Land Rover added a high-line 4.6 HSE model, and for the sake of acceleration alone, this is the better bet: The Range Rover 4.0 SE was powered by a 188-hp 4.0-liter V8, while the 4.6 HSE took a 222-hp 4.6-liter V8 with considerably more torque. A four-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive were standard on all models, as were leather upholstery, wood trim and a high-end audio system. Interior furnishings were opulent by the standards of the day, with ample comfort for front and rear passengers.Second-gen Range Rovers still had solid axles front and rear, but engineers fitted self-leveling air springs to improve their manners on pavement. There's only so much you can do with old-fashioned hardware, though, and compared to other high-end SUVs, the Land Rover Range Rover's ride quality was harsh and body roll was excessive around corners.Shopping for a first-generation Range Rover could make sense if you're looking for a dedicated off-road vehicle and don't mind repair bills or doing your own repair work. Only a four-door version of the Range Rover came to the U.S., and initially it had a 3.9-liter V8 (rated for anywhere from 178-182 hp, depending on the year) and a four-speed automatic transmission. A long-wheelbase model known as the County LWB joined the lineup for 1993, and not only did it have another 7 inches of rear legroom, it upgraded to a 200-hp 4.2-liter V8.

Land Rover Range Rover Sport
The Land Rover Range Rover Sport is a premium SUV that represents a shift in focus for this SUV-oriented luxury brand. While traditional Land Rover models have combined unbeatable off-road performance with the amenities of a luxury sedan, the Range Rover Sport represents Land Rover's first entry into the burgeoning high-performance SUV arena. It is designed to offer sporty road manners and traditional Land Rover luxury without completely sacrificing the go-anywhere abilities of other Land Rover models.
Despite its name, the Land Rover Range Rover Sport is actually a modified and shortened version of the Land Rover LR3. As such, the Sport is the smallest and most nimble SUV in the company's lineup. Overall, it is an enjoyable and luxurious vehicle to drive as well as look at. Shoppers seriously interested in getting maximum on-road performance out of an SUV would probably be better served by a few of this Land Rover's competitors, however, as they are able to deliver better acceleration and handling.
Current Land Rover Range Rover Sport
The Range Rover Sport is offered in two trim levels. The HSE is equipped with a 4.4-liter V8 that develops 300 horsepower and 315 pound-feet of torque. The Supercharged model is equipped with a 4.2-liter V8 that, logically, employs a supercharger to produce 390 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. However, the relatively high curb weights put a damper on performance and fuel economy for both models. Both engines are backed by a six-speed automatic transmission that offers three modes: automatic, sport and CommandShift (manual mode).
Handling performance is a definite step up from other Land Rover models. The Range Rover Sport is the first Land Rover to offer the company's Dynamic Response suspension system, which is standard on the Supercharged model and optional on the HSE. Land Rover says that this computer-controlled system senses cornering forces and automatically adjusts the antiroll bars to optimize body control and handling. Dynamic Response works as advertised, giving the Range Rover Sport a more agile feeling when the roads get twisty, as compared to previous Land Rovers.
Off road performance is still within the Range Rover Sport's repertoire as well. A permanent four-wheel-drive system with a two-speed transfer case is standard, and features an electronically controlled, infinitely variable locking center differential that automatically distributes the available torque to both drive axles as needed. Additionally, the Range Rover Sport's Terrain Response System assures that the driver will be up to nearly any off-road task. It offers five different settings that adjust throttle response, gearchanges, vehicle ride height and the differentials to optimize mobility in varying environments, ranging from pavement to sand.
Land Rover is also synonymous with luxury, which doesn't take a backseat in the Range Rover Sport. Just about any premium feature that you will find on most luxury sedans, or any of its luxury SUV competitors, is available on the Range Rover Sport. The same holds true for safety items, with the usual complement of airbags and electronic crash-prevention aids.
Past Land Rover Range Rover Sport Models
The Range Rover Sport debuted for the 2006 model year and is still in its first generation. No significant changes have occurred since.

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