2009 Land Rover LR2 HSE is naughty by nature

Land Rovers have always fashioned out a unique path, sometimes literally. The British manufacturer has traditionally been content to build tippy-looking unibody boxes with tall greenhouses and sumptuous cabins—the anti-Humvee, as it were—while off-roading demands a low center of gravity and muddy paths would appear to warrant hose-out interiors and body-on-frame construction. Additionally, in more recent generations, they have crammed their automobiles with intricate electronic systems, air suspensions, dial-a-topography Terrain Response controllers, and other features that should be enough to drive English sports car aficionados back to their psychiatrists’ offices.

However, the formula has always been successful, as evidenced by the fact that cars like the Range Rover and Discovery (now the LR3) have been granted the ability to traverse the Kalahari Desert as well as access to valet stands. The leather-lined off-roader trend has been tried before by other companies (Lamborghini, Lexus, Hummer, Porsche, and LaForza come to mind), but while some have adorned their SUVs with luxuries, precisely no one has been as successful in tying their automobiles to the idea of aristocracy the sort of “Lord and Master of All That I Survey” quality that has remained Solihull’s historical preserve. In conclusion, Land Rovers have always been a delightfully and exclusively British paradox on wheels, which helps to explain why your author is still a touch torn about this LR2.

Specifications 2009 Land Rover LR2 HSE

Spesificatios 2009 Land Rover LR2 HSE

The 2009 Land Rover LR2 is a compact luxury SUV that was available in two trim levels: the base model and the HSE. It was powered by a 3.2-liter inline-6 engine that produced 230 horsepower and 234 lb-ft of torque. The engine was paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and full-time all-wheel drive.

In terms of features, the HSE trim level of the 2009 Land Rover LR2 included:

  • Leather upholstery
  • Power-adjustable front seats with memory function
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Power moonroof
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Navigation system
  • 17-inch alloy wheels

The 2009 Land Rover LR2 had a towing capacity of 3500 pounds and an EPA fuel economy rating of 15 miles per gallon in the city and 21 miles per gallon on the highway.

Even after the unimpressive Freelander failed to find consumers in the United States, it was understandable for Land Rover to try again given the increasing number of purchasers who were flocking to the softroader pool. It’s undeniable that the genre’s emerging traditions are at variance with classic Land Rover fundamentals, most of which the LR2 obstinately strives to retain, despite the good idea of injecting a dose of the company’s values, aesthetics, and heritage into the segment. Let us elaborate.

In order to subtly reinforce emotions of security and safety, more and more of these vehicles are being introduced to the market today with a lower ride height, limited off-road capability, and larger, more sensuous bodies that force the occupants to sit lower in the chassis. The crossover guide was thrown out the window and into the mud by the LR2 before the ink had even had a chance to dry, which is somewhat unsurprising.

On the appearance front, our sample included a number of high-end features, including clamshell hood, side vents, enormous 19-inch alloy wheels (in a new design for 2009), complex-element bi-Xenon adaptive headlights, and in the case of our tester, exceptionally lustrous Rimini Red paint. Ultimately, though, the rectilinear posture and slab sides of the LR2 strike at least some of us as a gussied-up, off-the-shelf SUV bodyshell rather than a distinctive shape. The LR2 doesn’t look particularly large or luxurious, in the opinion of this author, and its protruding front bumper, which resembles Leno’s jaw, doesn’t help matters. The LR2 eventually struggles to capitalize on the Sub-Zero minimalism style popularized by the Green Oval’s other models. It does, however, provide more conventionally tough, upright SUV aesthetics than its more wagon-like competitors, and we think it’s worth defending that valuable (if narrow) position.

Pros and Cons 2009 Land Rover LR2 HSE

Pros and Cons 2009 Land Rover LR2 HSE

Pros of the 2009 Land Rover LR2 HSE:

  • Capable all-wheel-drive system
  • Attractive exterior styling
  • Luxurious interior with high-quality materials
  • Comfortable and spacious seating for up to five passengers
  • Impressive off-road capabilities

Cons of the 2009 Land Rover LR2 HSE:

  • Below-average fuel economy for its class
  • Poor reliability and high ownership costs
  • Steering and handling can feel cumbersome at times
  • Some controls and features can be difficult to use
  • Limited cargo space compared to some rivals


The LR2, despite having a somewhat gangly appearance, is actually wider than its main rivals (such as the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK, and Volvo XC60), but it is also taller, has the shortest overall length, and uses a noticeably shorter wheelbase, all of which combine to give it a relatively tippy-toes appearance. The low beltline and dining room chair seats inside the car add to this sense. The formal driving position affords a noticeably better view of the vehicle’s corners and immediate surroundings than any of its competitors, which is important when tiptoeing around boulders and threading down narrow two-tracks, giving the vehicle that “on, not in” feeling that is uniquely Land Rover. Unfortunately, unlike many Range Rover and Discovery owners we know, we find it difficult to imagine the average LR2 driver putting their vehicle through much more than the occasional curb hop or gravel road, so this tactic may have minimal value, even if it’s important to stay on [brand] message.

Almost everything in the interior is ergonomically sound, with big buttons, clear layouts, and good switchgear feel, with the exception of the irksomely convoluted starting procedure (insert oversized fob into hidden slot below gauge binnacle, push in until it clicks, then reach up to push the separate engine start/stop button). Even better, the interior is bathed in sunlight through the standard twin-element sunroof, matching dcollet instrument panel, and low, elbow-on-the-sills beltline, giving it a spacious and open feeling. Again, because of the upright seating, there is plenty of space inside despite the short overall length and the narrow wheelbase. However, we feel that the LR2’s interior has a little bit too much starch in its collar.

The center stack is outdated, the dashboard itself lacks style, some of the plastics are of poor quality, and the $3,500 technology package’s too-small yestertech navigation touchscreen is set distractingly low in the dash. This is in addition to the separate 320-watt Alpine audio controls that are hidden even further down (and whose old-fashioned display is prone to washing out in the aforementioned floods of sunlight). However, the lovely and fragrant almond leather/nutmeg carpet combination (also new for 2009), the legible instruments, and the heated windscreen (part of the $700 Cold Climate Package) all deserve praise. While we criticize Land Rover for its outdated in-dash technology, we are happy that they have not yet adopted an unnecessarily complicated all-in-one GUI controller like their competitors at Audi, BMW, and Benz.

Although the unibody LR2 casts the smallest shadow among its competitors, it is the heaviest member of the compact premium class, weighing in at 4,250 pounds (competitors typically weigh in at 4,000–4,200 pounds). This doesn’t bode well for the 3.2-liter inline-six, which only produces 230 horsepower (@ 6,300 rpm). That’s much fewer horsepower than the LR2’s competitors, the majority of which generate more than 260 hp.

Although it is a little higher up in the rev range, the Volvo-sourced 24-valver’s 234 pound-feet of torque (@ 3200 rpm) is at least competitive. However, we wish the Aisin-Warner six-speed gearboxes’ kickdowns had been a little smoother and quicker. Although the latter’s sport mode makes a small difference, blazing progress is simply not an option as many of the LR2’s tarmac-oriented contemporaries will reach 60 mph in under 7 clicks according to our rear-end accelerometers (LR claims 8.4 seconds, but we’re not buying) (and most will make more attractive noises while doing so). With EPA ratings of 15 mpg city and 22 mpg highway (17 mpg combined), drivers will frequently find themselves depleting the 3.2’s modest reserves. However, we could only get 15.2 miles per gallon of premium fuel while primarily traveling on the highway.

Speaking of highway driving, the superslab will require numerous little course corrections, especially in windy conditions. The LR2 feels a little wayward and unsteady as a result of the rapid steering rack’s (2.6-turns lock-to-lock) feeling at odds with the rest of the LR2’s capabilities, an impression that is amplified by the elevated seating position. The long-travel suspension also contributes to some noticeable pitch and yaw, although the smooth, assured braking performance allays any dynamic concerns.

However, things couldn’t possibly be that horrible, can they? Hardly. Although we didn’t go off-roading with our HSE while it was staying with us in Michigan, we must admit that we were already aware of the LR2’s robust off-road capabilities after testing the model’s tenacity at the Biltmore Estate’s Land Rover Experience in Asheville, North Carolina, last year. We returned and completed a large portion of the course in the LR2 and discovered that it was more than capable of handling the difficult terrain after navigating a muddy and slippery forest and field course that included log bridges, side tilts, and teeth-gnashing, root-strewn descents in the LR3 and big daddy Range Rover.

Off-roading in the baby Brit was actually much more exciting, mostly because one didn’t feel as invincible. The lack of a real low-range made momentum conservation a top priority, which made deft two-footed juggling of the brake and throttle pedals more crucial. With 8.3 inches of ground clearance (significantly less than the other air-suspended LRs, but more than any of its competitors), we had to pay close attention, but the LR2’s quick best-in-class turning circle helped us navigate tight tree stands and narrow trails that would hang-up larger vehicles. The car’s unusually erect driving position and excellent sightlines as well as the long-travel suspension, which reduced head-toss and gen-toss, also played major Even the short wheelbase contributes to a low breakover angle.

Our LR2 maneuvered up, over, and down obstacles that would have left its contemporaries absolutely gutted thanks to its Terrain Response Control (Driver-selectable modes: General/Snow/Sand/Mud & Ruts) and Hill Descent Control, which keeps an eye on everything from the four-wheel ventilated disc brakes (12.5-inch units up front, 12.0-inch out back) to our throttle position and the Haldex all-wheel drive system’s The HDC made some distressingly loud noises while we were driving, but the LR2 managed to stay unscathed in enough challenging circumstances to make its competitors look like they’re afraid of rain by comparison. This performance might be enough to convince you to visit your nearby Land Rover Center if you reside in a very harsh environment.

Fair enough, the LR2 isn’t exactly a brand-new car. Although it has only been available in the United States since 2007, it was first sold in Europe earlier. Other more current models include the GLK, Q5, and larger, outlier vehicles like the Lexus RX350 and Infiniti EX37. Critically, the LR2 undercuts many of its competitors at a base price of $36,100 ($35,375 MSRP plus $775 in destination charges), especially when one looks at the blatantly extravagant option lists on some of its German competitors. A comparable X3 would cost upwards of $48,000, but the Bimmer’s superior maintenance program and resale value mitigate the price difference. Our full-house tester cost $41,400 all-in.

Land Rover, meantime, just debuted its significantly redesigned 2010 Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, and LR3 lines. All of these cars have, historically, to some degree or another, shared some of the LR2’s shortcomings (elderly interiors, underwhelming power). Although we haven’t had a chance to test-drive these new vehicles, what we have seen shows that Land Rover is committed to filling in the gaps in its product lineup. We expect that the LR2 will soon receive the same treatment.

However, enough with the qualifying. The LR2 is ultimately a purposefully different product, and it is likely to stay that way, if only out of necessity. The LR2 had to prioritize off-road ability over other considerations in order to adhere to Land Rover’s core principles and brand essence, regardless of expectations for the segment. Whatever you want to call our tester—a precarious balancing act, an intrinsically conflicting constellation of abilities, or anything else—the consequences of the design brief are felt in almost every part of it, both positively and negatively. A buyer’s priorities will determine if Land Rover’s engineers created the LR2 in the best way possible. But if there was ever any question that the LR2 is a genuine Range Rover, those days are long gone.

F.A.Q : 2009 Land Rover LR2 HSE

Here are some potential questions someone might have about the 2009 Land Rover LR2 HSE:

  • What is the fuel economy of the 2009 Land Rover LR2 HSE? The 2009 Land Rover LR2 HSE has an EPA fuel economy rating of 15 miles per gallon in the city and 21 miles per gallon on the highway.
  • Does the 2009 Land Rover LR2 HSE have good reliability? The 2009 Land Rover LR2 has a reputation for poor reliability and high ownership costs. It may be prone to various mechanical issues and may require frequent repairs.
  • What kind of engine does the 2009 Land Rover LR2 HSE have? The 2009 Land Rover LR2 HSE is equipped with a 3.2-liter inline-6 engine that produces 230 horsepower and 234 lb-ft of torque.
  • Does the 2009 Land Rover LR2 HSE have a lot of cargo space? The 2009 Land Rover LR2 HSE has a total of 27.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and 63.3 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded down. This is somewhat limited compared to some other SUVs in its class.
  • Is the 2009 Land Rover LR2 HSE a good off-road vehicle? Yes, the 2009 Land Rover LR2 HSE has impressive off-road capabilities thanks to its full-time all-wheel-drive system and high ground clearance. It can tackle a variety of terrain and is well-suited for driving in rugged and challenging conditions.

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