We like to talk about classes in the auto industry as though they were neatly defined categories that vehicles fit into. But that's baloney.

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The car market is like some flowery New England school where students make their own curriculum: There are no classes. From the Fiat 500 to the Chevrolet Suburban, there's practically an unbroken spectrum of vehicle sizes, weights, proportions, and purposes. And even specific points along the spectrum contain their own spectra spectra within spectra, man, kaleidoscopic fractals within gifs of shorelines and galaxies and an Escher sketch of a cat's iris . . .

Whoa. Who brought those brownies in the break room? Speaking of high, the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque tested here certainly feels higher than the BMW X2 M35i we drove alongside it. 

Not high in the intoxicated sense, just high as in its roof is nearly five inches farther from the pavement and you sit about that much above the X2 driver when you're behind the wheel. And so, while the interior measurements of these entry-level crossovers from premium brands make them appear to be similar on paper, the two are quite different.

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The upright Land Rover's interior feels far more spacious than the squatty BMW's. Occupants in both rows sit farther off the floor, and there's sufficient room for a quartet of six-plus-footers to ride in perfect comfort, with nobody's knees buried in the dash or the front-row seatbacks. There's a more comfortable lean to the Evoque's rear seatbacks, too. 

A group of people of similar size is going to be doing a lot of complaining and cramping in the X2. Likewise, while the cargo-volume measurements are the same, the Land Rover's space is more useful, accommodating an extra piece of luggage compared with the BMW's. If you like the relatives you're picking up from the airport, that matters.

There's a downside to the Rover's size, though, and that's weight. It's heavier than the BMW by 680 pounds, which is a staggering 18 percent of the X2's weight. Given that, the Brit's mere 2-mpg penalty in EPA-rated combined fuel economy is rather surprising. What isn't surprising is their acceleration perform­ance. 

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Each of these two vehicles packs a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine, BMW's making 302 horsepower and Land Rover's, 296. But with 332 pound-feet of torque on hand, the X2 has a 37-lb-ft advantage over the heavier Evoque. It hits 60 mph a full two seconds sooner and 100 mph seven seconds earlier, making freeway entrances much easier in the BMW

Plus, the Evoque sounds bored, as though there's sound coming from the tailpipes only because there has to be. The X2, on the other hand, has a rorty liveliness that speaks to the spirit and passion of the people involved with its making.

We know that acceleration above 70 mph or so only matters in police chases and, to buyers of these vehicles, at about 3:30 a.m. on Black Friday but it's a good illustration of just how different the experience is that the BMW needs 22.0 seconds to hit 130 mph from rest and the Rover needs very nearly double that 43.3 seconds. One of these things is quick; the other is not.

Both of them are sporty, though the BMW is more so. Land Rover made a tremendous improvement in this generation of Evoque. The last one had a punishing, flinty ride, but this new model is compliant and comfortable. It handles, too, with an easy balance that masks and makes the most of its comparatively low grip. It's less successful at hiding its weight and height, with a tippiness in rapid transitions that had it stumbling over its own feet or rather its own stability-control programming in the slalom, trailing the X2 by more than 5 mph. Comparison-test history shows that this margin is massive.

That spread is not solely the fault of the Land Rover. It is also a credit to the BMW, which editor at large Daniel Pund described as "a sport compact car posing as an SUV." Its steering is weighty and natural, turn-in is immediate, and the ride is uncompromising. The firm brake pedal hauls the M35idown from 70 mph in just 168 feet, and the Pirelli P Zero Run Flat PZ4s generate 0.90 g of skidpad stick.

The toad-shaped BMW is wholly incapable of turning heads the way the Land Rover can, though. The Evoque is a fashion accessory, pure and simple. Its greater functionality is just icing on the cake. With the daring taper to its side glass, the near complete lack of a rear overhang or bumpers, and the high and tight grille raked back wildly at the top of the nose, its basic shape is still arresting 11 years after the debut of the concept car it so closely resembles.

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And in Dapple Grey paint with copper-colored accents on the hood, fenders, and doors, this example is a full-blown fashionista. 

That goes for the interior, too, with its simple, classy black-leather treatment punctuated by of course gray tweed. Or in this context, that's probably considered misspelled if it isn't written as "grey." We debated whether the color of the BMW's pebbled leather was more of a terra cotta or a tomato bisque but agreed that no matter what you call it, it looks juvenile in comparison.