By KBB.com Editors
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.
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.
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.
Driving Impressions 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.
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.
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.Exterior
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.
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.
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
By amanda on Thursday, July 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Haven't had an issue with the LR2 and really enjoy riding it. The SUV isn't bulky like some others and offers great visibility when driving. 2 thumbs up!"
11 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By msrover on Thursday, July 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Safe, attractive, fun to drive, good service"
Cons: "None that I have experienced yet."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have had this car for three years now, purchased as a demo with 4,000 miles on it. While it does not have a great deal of mileage on it, and I confess to "pampering" it (I do not drive it "hard"), the car has been reliable, provides me with a sense of security, and is actually fun to drive. Great pick up when I need it. I LOVE the appearance of the car in particular! I am thinking of keeping it even after the warranty runs out in January, as I would hate to change what I have. I got a great deal on it from the dealer in Massachusetts where we used to live, and have had great service on it both there and now in FL where we live. I wonder if a new one would be as good as this!"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Al on Friday, February 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Nicely equipped vehicle"
Cons: "No center console"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"The 2011 LR2 is a great vehicle if you enjoy the great outdoors. As an avid hiker and snowshoer the LR2 performs well throughout the mountains in winter. Very comfortable seating with adequate power under the hood. The negatives at 35,000 miles are the original Continental tires had to be replaced and this vehicle is also a little thirsty."
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By andrey on Thursday, October 24, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price is great, but only on a used one. Great ride"
Cons: "It will break, but so is anythingelse you will buy"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"So I went to the dealer to buy 2011 Volvo XC60 and ended up buying 2010 LR2 HSE black on black all options, because under the hood they are exactly the same. LR2 did have more room and better interior, in my opinion. Before I signed the paper I had my dealer take it to Land Rover dealer and replace door seals, arm rest, key fob, tires (you bet!!), and a few days later rear differential bearing (was making noise). All this at 32K miles. Land Rover dealer service were super nice, by the way. All repairs paid for by warranty. This SUV ended up being super clean and perfect all around, I took it home for $25K. Soon after I replaced filthy semi-metallic brakes (still in new condition, just filthy) with premium ceramic pads and premium rotors. Now it is truly perfect. Volvo guts are holding up just fine. I fix my cars by myself, I spend a lot of time underneath and I will say the LR2 exhaust pipe is very rusty, and rust is found on a hood and some brackets here and there. Rust and Land Rover are made for each other I guess. Now, I am prepared to replace anything on this car by myself, since it is a Land Rover, it is just a matter of time. I even have a same year Volvo XC90 as a backup (wife's daily driver, she loves it more than my LR2 only because LR2 has a sportier/stiffer ride feel). So, I love it, would recommend it to all those who can deal with occasional repair here or there. For the money, you will not find a better deal (equipment wise, 4X4, leather and all that)."
10 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Cheryl on Friday, August 16, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive!"
Cons: "expensive frequent repairs"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Seems like the car has had more than it's share of problems. Expensive to repair. Key fob is entirely too expensive and it should last the life of the car (or have rechargeable or replaceable batteries)!"
10 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By TheOzarks on Thursday, July 04, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,200overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "MPG/ Electronics/ Driver view/"
Cons: "Wind noise at highway speeds"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Previously owned a 2008 Range Rover ..the LR2 is of different quality due to it's pricing. Drives well. The Terrain Response System is really exceptional. The updated integrated electronics is very good and the sound system is phenomenal. MPG in mixed driving is a whopping 27.1 already! I coast and don't use cruise control ..and refrain from jump-starts from a stop."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful