Though it doesn't offer the sporty, sensuous, coupe-like lines of the Range Rover Evoque, the 2013 Land Rover LR2 does offer much of the Evoque's compact crossover appeal, in what is ultimately a more useful package.
Chief among the comprehensive updates for the 2013 model year is the replacement of the previous LR2's in-line six-cylinder engine with the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder found in the Evoque. Rated at 240 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque, it is actually more powerful that the six-cylinder it replaces. A six-speed automatic transmission handles gear changes, with CommandShift manual-shift mode and sport mode for more spirited or technical driving.
Land Rover says the new turbocharged engine will be more fuel efficient than the previous model, but hasn't revealed how much of an improvement we can expect. Aiding efficiency are Land Rover's Intelligent Power System Management and Smart Regenerative Charging systems, which reduce engine load and thereby reduce fuel consumption.
Exterior and interior styling updates for the 2013 LR2 give the premium compact crossover a more modern look without edging into the fashion-centric urban style of the Range Rover Evoque. There's still a healthy dose of classic Land Rover charm, particularly in the interior, where familiar round-knob and rectilinear surface themes dominate.
A new 7-inch touch screen color display is the central control unit for the optional navigation system and Meridian audio. The center stack sheds the previous Terrain Response dial in favor of buttons for the individual modes.
In front of the driver, a 5-inch display mounted in the instrument cluster relays key vehicle information like temperature, fuel levels, Terrain Response mode, and gear position. Higher-spec HSE models also get a rear-view camera with "hitch assist" to ease backing up and towing.
All models of the LR2 also get standard grained leather, dual sunroofs, and a choice of three new colors.
Driver convenience gets a slight boost for 2013 as well, as the LR2 no longer requires the key to be docked in the car, instead requiring its mere presence somewhere within the cabin--say, within the driver's pocket--to enable function of the pushbutton ignition.
Despite their metropolitan flair, the Land Rover range is still meant for serious off-road business, and to that end, full-time Haldex four-wheel drive supplies traction to each wheel. The traction is monitored by Land Rover's Terrain Response system, which takes complex considerations of surface condition, wheel sensor information, and more to deliver optimum traction in difficult conditions. The driver can select from General Driving, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud & Ruts, or Sand modes for specific challenges. Other off-road driver aids include Hill Descent Control and Roll Stability Control.
Prices for the 2013 Land Rover LR2 start from $37,250, rising to $39,750 for the LR2 HSE, and $42,350 for the LR2 HSE LUX. Look for more details on trim-level specifications, gas mileage, and more, as the 2013 LR2 draws closer to launch.