2011 Land Rover LR2 Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2010

Highlights

2011 Land Rover LR2 Photo Gallery
  • Refresh for the 2011 model year
  • New front fascia and new option packages
  • New instrument cluster
  • New 19-inch wheel designs
  • Due in showrooms in late 2010

Introduction

Land Rover introduced its entry-level Freelander to the North American marketplace in 2002. Unlike all other off-road-oriented Land Rover models that preceded it, the Freelander was a compact all-wheel-drive SUV built as a cooperative effort between Honda and the (now defunct) Rover Group. It featured a 2.5-liter V-6 engine, yet it lacked the low-range gear and locking differentials of its siblings. While the Freelander was a sales success in Europe, North American sales were discontinued in 2005.

An all-new, second-generation Freelander model was launched in Europe for the 2007 model year. This time, the Freelander was based on Volvo's S80 platform, and utilized a standard all-wheel-drive system developed in conjunction with Haldex. With increased passenger space-and improved performance (both on- and off-road)-the new Freelander was introduced to the North American market as the "LR2" when it debuted for the 2008 model year (thus following the established nomenclature of its U.S. siblings, the LR3 and LR4).

Land Rover has updated the LR2 for the 2011 model year. The exterior receives a mild refresh, with a new front bumper assembly, three new exterior colors, and new alloy wheel options. The interior benefits from new instrument dials, upgraded front seats, and new option packages. Europeans will be offered a front-wheel-drive model, but there is no word yet whether that variant will arrive in North America. The 2011 Land Rover LR2 is expected to be in showrooms this fall.

Overview

2011 Land Rover LR2 Photo GalleryThe 2011 Land Rover LR2 is offered in three different trim levels: HSE, HSE Plus, and HSE LUX. Standard HSE models feature "stadium" seating (rear passengers are slightly elevated to improve their outward view), 6-way power adjustable driver's seat, and a 60/40-split second row to improve utility.

HSE Plus models add adaptive Xenon headlamps with automatic leveling, front puddle lamps, front footwell lamps, and map reading lamps. In addition, the audio system is upgraded with a Satellite Digital Audio Receiver System (SDARS) and HD radio. Bluetooth phone connectivity, HomeLink, and seat memory completes the package. The range-topping HSE LUX builds upon the other two trim levels by adding DVD-based navigation with a 7-inch touch screen and an upgraded 480-watt Dolby ProLogic II audio package.

The 5-passenger LR2 is offered with one standard engine: a 3.2-liter inline-6, sourced from Volvo. The powerplant is rated at 230 horsepower and 234 lb.-ft. of torque. Power is sent through a standard 6-speed automatic transmission. According to Land Rover, the LR2 will accelerate to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 121 mph.

The LR2's suspension is independent, front and rear, with generous wheel travel to enable exceptional on- and off-road capabilities, says Land Rover. Power steering is standard across the model range, and all trim levels wear 19-inch cast aluminum alloy wheels.

Technology

While the rest of the Land Rover lineup features permanent all-wheel-drive powertrains with low-range transmissions and locking differentials, the LR2 is unique in that its all-wheel-drive powertrain is based on Volvo's front-wheel-drive architecture. To give the LR2 commanding off-road capabilities, Land Rover fits its "Terrain Response" system. A turn of the cockpit-mounted dial instantly reconfigures the engine, transmission, and traction control settings to optimize drivability across a variety of driving conditions. The available selections include: tarmac, grass, gravel, snow, mud, ruts, and sand. Terrain Response is standard on the 2011 Land Rover LR2.
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