Land Rover LR2 Review

Land Rover is what's known as an "aspirational" brand...something people want to move up to. There was one weak link in that argument...the smallest Land Rover, the Freelander.

Last year, Land Rover moved to fix that, sending the cramped, underpowered, plasticky Freelander out to pasture and replacing it with the all-new LR2.

Good move.

Get inside an LR2 and there's no disconnect with your expectations from the larger LR3 and Range Rover models. Materials, fit and finish are not only a quantum leap ahead of the late, unlamented Freelander, they're better than the $35,000 base price would indicate. And that base price also includes a leather interior, a front power sunroof and a fixed sunroof over the rear seat and dual-zone climate control.

Looking for something that can handle not just Rodeo Drive but the Rubicon Trail as well? Land Rover didn't skimp there, either...giving the LR2 8.3 inches of ground clearance and the ability to ford streams up to 19.7 inches deep.

And the option list includes a $3,500 technology package, bringing navigation, Bluetooth and a killer 440 watt Alpine audio system with 12 speakers and Dolby 7.1 surround sound. It's worth the additional dollars.

Big points to Land Rover for understanding that an aspirational brand needs an attractive entry point. It'll pay off in LR2 owners trading up to LR3s and Range Rovers over the years.