When it comes to SUVs, few names conjure up images of backcountry adventure quite as well as Land Rover. Sure, the Jeep Wrangler has a solid reputation, but when was the last time you saw a Wrangler on safari in Africa, surrounded by a pride of lions?
While the iconic and traditional Land Rover, last sold here as the Defender in 1997, may be going the way of the dinosaur, the Land Rover brand
is alive and well. Counting the more luxurious Range Rover vehicles, Land Rover now has five crossovers and SUVs to choose from in its U.S. product catalog, starting with the Land Rover LR2
More utilitarian than it’s fashion-conscious cousin, the new Range Rover Evoque
, the Land Rover LR2 serves as a gateway model to the upscale brand. It may lack the two-speed transfer case and beefy skidplates necessary to give it off-road chops, but the LR2 is more than up to the task of navigating the wilds of suburbia, thanks to standard all-wheel-drive. It doesn’t look like a mild mannered, grocery-getting crossover, either, which helps broaden the LR2’s appeal to both sexes.
All LR2 models come powered by a 3.2-liter inline-six engine, good for 230 horsepower and 234 pound-feet of torque, bolted to a six-speed automatic transmission. Power goes to all four wheels, and while the LR2 lacks a low range, it does come with Land Rover’s superb Terrain Response system. Using a console-mounted dial, drivers can select optimized traction for pavement, snow, mud and sand, and the LR2 will tailor transmission and throttle settings accordingly.
If you’re looking for the quickest crossover on the market, the LR2 is likely to disappoint. The run from 0-60 takes around 8.5 seconds, which isn’t up to standards set by the latest models from BMW or Acura. Worse, the LR2 can be thirsty when pushed hard, returning an EPA estimated 15 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. Still, when the snow starts falling or the road to the cabin is covered in mud, there are few crossover we’d rather be driving than the LR2, which speaks to the legacy of the brand.
For a detailed look at the 2012 Land Rover LR2, see our comprehensive review on The Car Connection