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It's fair to say Land Rover's place at the luxury table is derived from a single vehicle: the Range Rover. Not every dining experience is a five-star affair, though, and the Range Rover's somewhat ethereal positioning and pricing leave plenty of room below for good peasant fare.
That's the more common place where the 2011 Land Rover LR2 plugs away, happily. It's more of a crossover with off-road add-ons, minus the hardcore two-speed transfer case. If we're really nitpicking, it's actually a butched-up Volvo XC60 with a smidge less room, but that's more a compliment than anything--since both the LR2 and the XC60 are great about-town utes with very distinct personalities, fraternal twins, one feminine, one masculine.
The LR2's six-cylinder engine is an unusual in-line unit, and it's a smooth creation, if not a terribly powerful one. In tandem with a six-speed automatic, it'll dart to 60 mph in about eight and a half seconds, off the pace of the latest X3 or the front-drive Acura RDX but amply quick for almost every quotidian task. It's also comfortable and even a little nimble when pressed.
Trail riders won't like the lack of a true low range, but the LR2's sophistication traction systems let everyone else choose a driving mode for the conditions at hand--and that's more than enough for the way these trucks are used, anyway.
In balance, the LR2 sits more with the German luxury crossovers--the Q5, the GLK--than it does with whizzy Japanese machines like the RDX and the CX-7. It feels more substantial, sits more upright, and drinks a lot more gas, one of its more serious downfalls.
It also fairly reeks of heritage. It's not nearly as quick as the latest BMW X3 nor as efficient, and it's probably only as off-road-capable than the Benz GLK. But like those two utes and above all the other contenders, there's some real upper crust in the LR2's folded fenders and in its green-and-silver badge.
- Agile around town
- Sized perfectly for urban duty
- Adult-sized second-row seating
- Moderate off-roading is easy
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- Gas mileage is low
- Visibility to the rear can be an issue
- Doesn't look "crossover," if that's a problem