Maurice Whitfield: It's easy to think of Land Rover as the brand that makes large, fully capable, off-road-ready luxury SUVs with a thirst for gasoline. They've earned the reputation.
Amanda Salas: But the compact 2012 LR2 shows a different side of Land Rover, exhibiting a more on-road-friendly ride and better gas mileage than its larger siblings.
Maurice: Built with unibody construction, this five-passenger crossover SUV has more of an all-weather identity than an all-terrain one.
Amanda: And for that, it faces some stiff competition from other luxury-car-based crossovers like the Acura RDX, the Audi Q5 and the BMW X3.
Maurice: No question, the LR2 is well equipped. Standard features include Napoli leather seating, dual-zone automatic climate control and this gorgeous sunroof.
Amanda: We especially like the stadium seating that puts the rear seats almost two inches higher, giving everyone a clear view.
Maurice: Our LR2 came with the Climate Comfort package, a recommended option especially in northern climates. It adds heated front seats and a heated windshield to chase away that winter ice, snow and freezing rain.
The unibody construction of the LR2 means it doesn't have the rugged truck-based capability of a Range Rover, but it does handle simple everyday driving better than body-on-frame vehicles.
Amanda: And the 230 horsepower coming from the standard 3.2-liter inline-6 engine provides good pickup, while the permanent all-wheel drive that's mated to a six-speed automatic transmission will get you around in some pretty tough weather. Unfortunately, that confidence you get with permanent all-wheel drive comes with a price: just so-so fuel economy, especially in the city.
Maurice: This is an improvement over typical Land Rover ratings, but not by much.
Amanda: The LR2 is certainly not lacking standard safety features. In addition to a full array of front, front side and curtain airbags, there's also a driver's knee airbag as well as four-wheel ventilated anti-lock disc brakes and stability and traction control.
Maurice: Plus, advanced features like roll stability control, hill descent control and corner brake control that minimizes the risk of fishtailing when braking hard in turns.
Amanda: A lot for your money! Not counting destination fee, the LR2 costs close to $36,000. Add in the HSE LUX package, and you tack on nearly another $5,000. For the best value, we recommend going with the base model.
Maurice: Capable and unassuming, the 2012 Land Rover LR2 has lots to offer compact luxury SUV shoppers.
Amanda: It may not be as flashy and sporty as other European crossovers, but it's as hardy and luxurious as you'd expect from Land Rover.