2008 Land Rover LR2 Road Test

October 20, 2007
2008 Land Rover LR2 Road Test
By Marc Bouchard, Auto123.com
Size may not matter after all -- whether you take it personally or not is far from my point. Let me remind you and your twisted mind that I'm talking about vehicles, in this case the smallest of the Land Rover lineup: the new 2008 LR2.

As some of you might recall, the LR2 was the big winner of our comparative match held last July. Despite facing some hardcore off-roaders, this little Land Rover used its versatility, styling and overall balance to earn our jury's approval. Said balance is vividly felt each time you sit behind the wheel of the British compact SUV.

The LR2 was the big winner of our comparative match.

Inspired design

Given the fact that I have always loved the boxy styling of Land Rover models, it should come as no surprise that I am fond of the little LR2. Replacing the infamous Freelander, which sadly contributed to tarnishing the Land Rover name, the LR2 appears blockier while managing to incorporate smooth curves. Such an artistic tour de force is virtually impossible to explain.

The family traits are more obvious; the LR2 comes dangerously close to looking like the Range Rover Sport, for instance. The only design cue that was carried over from its predecessor is the sloping front end, which is racier and probably more aerodynamic.

The new exterior dimensions also make for a much more spacious interior. The compact LR2 can now be rightfully considered as a 5-passenger vehicle (whereas the Freelander could only sit four), all this without compromising comfort.

Both front and rear passengers enjoy impressive room, while the cargo area allows you to bring your entire camping gear. Everyone knows that Land Rover buyers are avid fans of the great outdoors and they are always in the mood for sleeping under the stars.

On a negative note, however, while the dashboard is far better executed that the LR3's, there is still a hollow space in the middle, which remains a mystery. True, that's where the optional navigation system is supposed to go but, as it is, this void nearly ruins the whole layout.

The hollow space created by the absence of a navigation system marks an odd styling execution.

Also, I have to admit that the ergonomics of the controls could be improved; they require a certain amount of time before you can manipulate them intuitively. And it's a good thing to learn how to use them prior to taking the road, unlike some of my colleagues who encountered various problems while trying to adjust the climate control system.
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