A few years ago my daily commute included dodging consistently busy traffic on downtown Toronto’s Spadina Avenue. But anywhere in the city, at any time, you can find yourself part of an instant traffic jam — usually caused by constant road repairs.
Look at what attributes a vehicle needs in the city: Manoeuvrability, visibility, comfort, safety, strength — and if your wallet stretches to $46,295, I don’t see a better runabout than the smallest Land Rover.
First, you’ll have a commanding view of the road in an LR2, meaning, in most cases you’ll be able to spot why traffic is jammed up a few lights in advance. Combining a tall body with plump seats and an unobstructed view out of the SUV gives drivers the confidence to slice through back streets and weave through parking garages.
The LR2’s sophisticated drivetrain helps, too: Land Rover uses Terrain Response, a simple set of controls that give the driver options. Select the “snowflake” setting in winter or the “cactus” for sand driving, and the vehicle alters the way it delivers power to the wheels, helping to maintain traction on different surfaces.
Keep in mind this is no go-anywhere off-roader. The all-wheel-drive and terrain response systems will ultimately lag behind, say, a Jeep for ultimate capability. But how often do you see a muddy Jeep on your morning commute?
Inside, simple controls with many buttons cover the dashboard. Why? This is one rig chock-full of technology. There’s only one trim level, HSE, so options range from a navigation system ($3,200); lighting package with adaptive xenon lights and a few other goodies ($1,200); 440-watt Dolby Pro-Logic sound system ($375); phone integration with Bluetooth ($600); to “Narvik” black paint ($600).
It’s also neat when you sit down with a salesperson and discuss what shade of interior colour looks best with the LR2’s eucalyptus wood trim. It sounds snotty, but for that much money it’s nice to see customers will never want for choice concerning body colours (nine) or interiors (two).
Oh, and need I mention the LR2 is built on a Volvo platform and keeps all its safety features, like rollover protection and seven airbags?