Full 2012 Land Rover LR2 Review
What's New for 2012
The 2012 Land Rover LR2 returns essentially unchanged.
As Land Rover's entry-level vehicle, the LR2 has never managed to win us over, despite this model's success in Europe. It's the right size, featuring a platform that isn't far (though a little smaller) from the Volvo XC60, which has proved very popular with us. Yet somehow its Land Rover-caliber all-weather, all-terrain capability doesn't do this crossover any favors in its role as daily transportation.
If you're breaking trail to your farm in Bucks County, this could be the right sort of everyday vehicle for you, as Land Rover's all-terrain technology definitely will get through the mud or snow. With standard all-wheel drive, plenty of ground clearance and electronic assistants to tame a variety of surfaces, there are few remote locations that would be out of reach.
But once you hit the pavement, the LR2 shows evidence of its off-road breeding with driving dynamics that are a little ponderous, with noticeable body roll and un-noticeable acceleration. At the same time, the LR2 is also a little short on interior quality and a little compact in cargo capacity, so it delivers neither the luxury nor the utility that you might expect in a crossover.
The introduction of the Land Rover Evoque with its sleet styling, practical yet nicely furnished cabin, and surprisingly capable all-wheel-drive system also makes the LR2's position a little tough, as the Evoque delivers a more street-friendly package and a lot more fashion at a price point that's not too much more expensive. If you're like most drivers and keep your car on pavement, there are plenty of choices that clearly outclass the 2012 Land Rover LR2. Of these, we rank the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes GLK-Class as the best of these.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 Land Rover LR2 is a compact, five-passenger luxury crossover SUV available in one trim level.
Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, heated and power-folding mirrors, foglights, a panoramic sunroof, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition/entry, a trip computer, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a nine-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.
Selecting the HSE package gets you adaptive xenon headlights, satellite radio, Bluetooth, a universal garage door opener and driver seat memory functions. The HSE LUX package includes all the HSE equipment and adds a 13-speaker surround-sound audio system with six-CD changer, additional power seat adjustments and premium leather upholstery.
The optional Climate Comfort package adds a heated windshield, heated washer jets and heated front seats. Nineteen-inch wheels and a navigation system are offered as stand-alone options.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2012 Land Rover LR2 is powered by a 3.2-liter inline-6 that produces 230 horsepower and 234 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic with manual shift control is the only available transmission. In Edmunds testing, the LR2 turned in a 0-60-mph time of 9.3 seconds, which is quite a bit slower than its competitors. Fuel economy is also underwhelming, with an EPA-estimated 15 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined.
All-wheel drive is standard. In keeping with the LR2's identity as an all-weather vehicle rather than an all-terrain one, it doesn't have the dual-range overall gearing that you find in the LR4, but the multimode Terrain Response AWD system helps to compensate by optimizing engine power, transmission gearing, center differential engagement, throttle response and traction control to increase mobility in four user-selectable conditions: General, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts and Sand.
Standard safety features for the 2012 Land Rover LR2 include antilock brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control, roll stability control, hill-descent control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain and thorax airbags and a driver's knee airbag.
Interior Design and Special Features
In typical Land Rover fashion, the 2012 LR2 surrounds occupants with supple leathers and rich wood trim, but some materials fall short of the mark set by competing luxury SUVs. An upright seating position up front provides plenty of legroom and headroom for larger adults, though some may find the low-mounted (and firm) rear bench (a design meant to help ensure a flat load floor when the seat is folded) a bit uncomfortable.
From the driver seat, the instruments and controls are a bit busy and hard to read at a glance, but the optional touchscreen navigation system is mercifully simple and easy to operate. Cargo space is also a bit less than the competition, with 26.7 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 58.9 cubes with the backseat folded.
The 2012 Land Rover LR2 delivers the type of long-legged, compliant ride that we've come to expect from the Land Rover brand. In terms of performance, though, the LR2 struggles to keep up with the competition, with slow acceleration, uncommunicative steering and pronounced body roll when cornering -- all hallmarks of a vehicle tuned for legitimate off-road capability. The brakes are capable and have a solid pedal feel, but when used aggressively, make the front end dive quite dramatically. The LR2 easily bests the competition when it comes to off-road performance, thanks in large part to the model's ground clearance and Terrain Response system.