The LR2 stands out in a sea of smaller SUVs with its ability to tame all manner of terrain thanks to an advanced traction-control system. In addition to having legitimate off-road chops, Land Rover's least-expensive vehicle features a plush interior and excellent visibility.
You'll Like The 2012 Land Rover LR2 If...
If you want a premium compact SUV that can tackle mud, ruts, snow and sand, this one can legitimately do it. The lesser-known LR2 also stands out among its peers with more rugged, squared-off looks and ample ground clearance.
You May Not Like The 2012 Land Rover LR2 If...
If you need a vehicle that can tackle extreme terrain, look to a Jeep Wrangler or Toyota FJ Cruiser, which have off-road-specific features like low-range gearing. If you’d rather have a small and sophisticated SUV with plenty of tech frills, check out the Audi Q5, BMW X3 or Mercedes-Benz GLK.
The Land Rover LR2 soldiers on in 2012 with updates it received a year prior that include a new front end that shares its appearance with the Land Rover LR4. Inside, the LR2 has been updated with new seat styles and a redesigned instrument cluster. The SUV is available in three trim levels: LR2, HSE and HSE Lux.
The 2012 Land Rover LR2 has a generally understated but comfortable interior that features leather seats and good legroom in the front and rear. The stadium-style rear bench will be a squeeze for three adults but is fine for two. For better or worse, buttons and knobs abound in the center dash. The LR2’s radio is starting to appear dated, and models not equipped with a navigation screen have a gaping hole in the center dash that looks akin to a mouth with a missing tooth. Cargo capacity is good at 58.9 cubic feet, and the rear seats tumble and fold to create a flat surface.
You won’t find many curves on an LR2. As with other Land Rovers, a boxy shape and angular lines dominate. But it all works for the LR2, giving it a strong, athletic appearance that is seasoned with a dash of sportiness thanks to prominent side vents and a small tailgate spoiler. The LR2 has a forward-leaning stance, which makes it appear ready to pounce. The rear door lifts high to create a wide-open space for easy loading, but it takes a long reach to close.
The 2012 LR2 is surprisingly comfortable for an SUV. A pothole-absorbing suspension system, excellent visibility and Land Rover’s “Command” driving position inspire confidence, whether negotiating a tight parking lot or jumping into the fast lane in rush hour. Though starting to show its age, the LR2’s 230-horsepower 6-cylinder engine and 6-speed automatic transmission still adequately hustle the Land Rover to speed, especially when using Sport mode, and the 0-60-mph time is a respectable 8.4 seconds. When venturing off the beaten path, the LR2 is a more than capable and will do most of the thinking for you. With its high-tech Terrain Management system, all it takes is a twist of a dial to optimize the Land Rover for surfaces such as grass, gravel, snow, mud or ruts. Other controls, such as those for climate and the rear wiper, are awkward, and the startup procedure is redundant, forcing you to insert the keyfob into a cavity in the dash and then press the start button. Wind buffeting is pronounced when cruising with the front windows down.
A base 2012 LR2 starts around $36,500, while a fully-loaded LR2 HSE Lux is $46,000. The Land Rover LR2’s starting price is under that of the BMW X3 (about $39,500), over the Acura RDX (just over $35,000) and Volvo XC60 (about $34,000), and nearly the same as the Mercedes-Benz GLK, Infiniti EX and Audi Q5 (all within range of $36,500). Be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the Land Rover LR2. Resale value is another weak spot for the Land Rover LR2, where it resides at the bottom of its class.
All 2012 LR2 models feature permanent all-wheel drive with a driver-adjustable terrain-response system, rear park-distance control, rain-sensing windshield wipers and 18-inch alloy wheels. Inside there is leather seating, dual-zone automatic climate control, 320-watt Alpine AM/FM/CD 9-speaker system with auxiliary input, panoramic sunroof, auto-dimming rearview mirror and 60/40-split folding rear seats. On the safety front, the LR2 has seven airbags and multiple stability and traction control systems. Surprisingly, Bluetooth is not standard in base models. HSE models add xenon headlights and satellite radio, while the top-line HSE Lux has premium leather seating and a 480-watt, 14-speaker sound system with 6-disc CD player and HD Radio.
The LR2’s list of optional features is slim, with a DVD navigation system one of the major add-ons. Also available are satellite radio and the Climate Comfort Package, which includes heated front seats, heated front windshield and heated windshield-washer jets.
That Command Driving Position jargon isn’t just marketing hype: The Land Rover LR2 offers a superb environment for the driver to get down to business. Thoughtful touches such as a right arm rest that can be set to various positions and locked in place help ease driver fatigue, while big windows allow a good view in all directions.
TERRAIN MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
In addition to the everyday “tarmac” setting, the LR2 can take on various other conditions. Just twist a rotary dial to the appropriate terrain icon and go. For extra safety on steep grades, there is a hill descent control.
Under the Hood
All 2012 Land Rover LR2 models use a 6-cylinder engine and 6-speed automatic transmission. The Land Rover’s 230-horsepower engine does a dutiful job moving the vehicle, but fuel economy is dismal, topping out at 22 mpg on the highway and returning just 15 mpg in the city while requiring premium unleaded. On a brighter note, the LR2 can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
230 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
234 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 mpg
The 2012 Land Rover LR2 is rare among premium compact SUVs in that it doesn’t mind getting dirty. After all, the 5-passenger LR2 is the smallest and least-expensive Land Rover, but it’s still a Land Rover. By definition that means this boxy, all-wheel-drive British vehicle takes pride in its ability to travel over hill and dale while treating passengers to posh, leather-wrapped accommodations. Still, it will take more than the LR2’s competent Terrain Management system to keep up in a competitive segment that includes more powerful, more fuel-efficient and classier rivals, such as the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK and even its own cousin, the striking new Range Rover Evoque.