We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Tue 26 Feb 2008 04:00 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

Our cars

We've already declared the LR2 to be the best Compact SUV of 2007, now Land Rover wants Shahzad Sheikh to put it to the test long term.

We've already declared the LR2 to be the best Compact SUV of 2007, now Land Rover wants Shahzad Sheikh to put it to the test long term.

Last month we awarded land Rover's new LR2 our 2007 compact SUV of the year title. The handsome off-roader ‘brilliantly combines the best of both on-road and off-road worlds,' we said. ‘It works around town, is an ideal long-distance companion, and yet will tackle deserts and mountains trails as only a Land Rover can.'

And now we have the chance to prove we were right, thanks to Land Rover lending us an LR2 for, to our knowledge, the first local long term test of a major manufacturer's vehicle in a regional magazine. Subjecting a car to the unforgiving and rigorous scrutiny of CAR Middle East over a long period, demonstrates Land Rover's immense confidence in its latest line-up of products, and its eagerness to lay to rest any persisting claims that Land Rover's are still not reliable.

The car we've been given is the upper of two trim levels and comes well-equipped in HSE guise with standard items such as parking sensors, front and rear glass sunroof, trip computer, dual-zone aircon, auto lights, touch-screen navigation, Bluetooth handsfree for your phone, a nine-speaker six-disc Alpine sound system, leather and memory front seats, and pretty much all you'd expect from a good junior executive car.

New it would cost you $41,500, which compares very favourably when compared to a BMW X3, possibly its closest rival in the rarefied prestige segment of the small SUV market, especially when you consider that this comes with a 231bhp 3.2-litre inline-six and six-speed sequential shifter.

This particular car isn't quite new though and arrived with 9780km on the clock, most of those undoubtedly hard-driven considering that it's served time as a Land Rover Middle East press vehicle. In fact this is the very same car we featured in our November 2007 issue, when we drove it to Mussandam in Oman to look for the endangered Arabian Leopard.

It's showing some signs of abuse at the hands of my fellow hacks in the forth estate. The Land Rover chap handing over the car noted that the front sump-guard undertray below the bumper wasn't fully fastened on and promised to get that corrected soon.

And having driven it around for a week I've also noticed that the lower seal of the rubber cladding at the bottom of the front driver's door is kinked. Unnoticeable when the car is clean, it becomes apparent when it's collected a bit of dust. Also the steering wheel doesn't quite sit level when straight and the sunroof whistles.

Aside from these quibbles the car is already living up to its growing reputation. It feels solid and yet lively around town, with its Volvo-shared power unit providing eager performance especially with the transmission in Sports mode. It's not the sportiest of drives, but it's nimble enough at getting through Dubai's traffic.

And should you get lost, the neat touch-screen nav is very well-executed with intuitive controls and a GPS feature for the desert. The hands-free Bluetooth linkup with your phone is also a brilliant idea, but truth be told, I've only got it to work properly once, and I fear it'll soon fall into the ‘more trouble than it's worth category', but I'll persist for a little longer.

Classy and distinguised it certainly has the ‘feel-good' factor. Just watch this space to see how we get on over the next few months as Land Rover ‘owners'.

The formOur 'new' LR2 would have set us back $41,500 in this high-spec HSE trim. But this car comes to us fresh off the Land Rover press fleet with the clock showing 9780km. Already battle-hardened at the hands of fellow journalists, it has a slightly dislodged undertray and off-centre steering wheel.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall