What it is
The latest addition to the group is the 2007, Land Rover LR2, a redesigned and renamed replacement for the Freelander. The LR2 trades the Freelander’s clunky design and underpowered engine for fresh new bodywork that more closely resembles the larger LR3 and Range Rover models and a 230-horsepower 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine. Two-door models have been scrapped, leaving a four-door LR2 as the only choice. Inside are features befitting a premium vehicle, such as a touch-screen navigation system and an upgraded sound system. And, in traditional Land Rover fashion, the LR2 comes with what the company claims is a remarkably capable all-wheel-drive system bolstered by Roll Stability Control, Terrain Response, and hill descent technology called Gradient Release Control.
Pricing for the 2007 Land Rover LR2 has not been released, but given the numerous enhancements, chances are that the bare-bones model will sticker for more than 2006’s $27,495 base price (including a $665 destination charge).
Why it matters
Buyers are gradually shifting, or at least considering a shift to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, which makes it the perfect time for Land Rover to release a more desirable and competitive small SUV like the LR2. There are a number of premium and luxury SUVs on the market – the Lexus RX 350, Acura RDX, and Volvo XC90 are just a few examples – though the LR2 might trump them all in terms of off-road capability. It’ll need to – none of the competitors have the Freelander to wash from buyers’ minds.
What’s under the hood
Also behind the LR2’s redesigned exterior is a fully independent suspension that incorporates Land Rover’s Roll Stability Control and Terrain Response systems as well as a hill descent control system.
Besides its reportedly spacious interior, the 2007 Land Rover LR2 will debut with a long list of creature comforts. Among them is a push-button ignition system (we prefer the old-school key-in-the-ignition type so you never lose track of the key, but this keyless thing seems to be gaining steam), an auxiliary jack for your iPod, adaptive high-intensity discharge headlights, rain-sensing wipers, a huge sunroof, a rear park-assist system, a DVD navigation system, and an upgraded audio system.
What Land Rover says
Photos courtesy of Land Rover