2012 Land Rover LR2 Performance

7.0
Performance

The LR2 is far from the most capable Land Rover off-road, but on the pavement it's the best of the brand. Along with the 2012 Evoque derived from its platform, the LR2 gives Land Rover a vehicle with accessible trail-riding capability and good interstate road manners.

The powertrain has more in common with Volvo vehicles than with any other Land Rover. The 3.2-liter in-line six is a new powerplant that was developed for the LR2, and its Volvo XC60 kin, and it's also found in the Volvo S80 as well. it's an exceptionally smooth piece--in-line sixes tend to be that way--and coupled to a responsive six-speed automatic, it can push the LR2 to 60 mph in about 8.4 seconds, according to Land Rover. It doesn't feel quick pulling away from stoplights, though there's a sport-shift mode folded into its electronics. It's more responsive at highway speeds, where the touchy throttle isn't as noticeable, but it also has enough low-end torque for relatively smooth off-roading.

Civil road manners are the LR2's most notable departure from the Land Rover norm, but it's still capable of some medium-duty off-roading.

That said, it's far from the best choice for anything more than a muddy path to the weekend cabin. The LR2 lacks a true four-wheel-drive system--there's no low range, which qualifies the Haldex system as all-wheel drive by most definitions--but its traction system has been engineered with many electronic assistants to endow the LR2 with more than reasonable all-terrain ability. It won't be running the Paris-Dakar Rally any time soon, but the LR2 can ford through nearly 20 inches of water and it has 8.3 inches of ground clearance, with approach and departure angles of 29 and 32 degrees, respectively.

On the road, the LR2 feels at home turning easily into parking spaces, tight city streets, and narrow country roads alike. The steering isn't quick or particularly communicative, but it corners without the heavy body roll of larger, heftier, and more trucklike SUVs. It rides quite comfortably, too--the bias toward on-road driving means it doesn't need a costly air suspension to keep jounces and bounces to a minimum.

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