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.

Explore the Land Rover LR2 in Autotrader's New Car Experience (Beta)

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