Freelander 2 2.2 SD4 HSE
if you do and damned if
just how todays
car makers must sometimes feel.
First, drivers moan that cars should
be more economical; then, as soon
more economical, they
moan that they want more power...
AND IT'S NOT JUST SPORTY LITTLE NUMBERS we're talking about
here. 4x4 and SUV owners are no different. But they've not got anything
to moan about when it comes to the smarter 'new-look-for-2011'
Freelander 2, whose more potent 187bhp turbodiesel engine makes it both quicker
and more economical.
Badged SD4, the revised 2.2-litre powerplant is only available with a six-speed
tiptronic auto 'box. Stick-shifting stick-in-the-muds will have to settle for
less power with the 148bhp version that comes mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.
The diesel-drinking SD4, tested here in top-of-the-range HSE spec, costs £36,245.
Don't complain about the price because you'd shell out as much for a similar
BMW X3 xDrive and however much you pay for the B-M it won't have that £70K Range
Rover spirit, which the latest Freelander 2 does.
aboard and the Range Rover linkage is as clear as the nose on your face
the fascia and centre stack being the most obvious RR features. HSE models come
with leather upholstery but it's not just window dressing the
Freelander's expensive-looking cabin is now notably more upmarket, from the
'feel good' trim materials to the classy dials.
tested here, in range-
topping HSE spec,
the price because youd
shell out as much for a
similar BMW X3 xDrive
and however much
you pay for the B-M
have that £70K
Range Rover spirit,
which the latest
Freelander 2 does...
At first glance the centre stack and console are switchgear-busy but all buttons,
rotary knobs and switches are large, clearly marked and easy to identify and
use. In fact, spend a few minutes before you drive away for the first time and
you shouldn't need to dig out the handbook.
Even the three-setting memory for the driver's seat is intuitive. The centre
stack is crowned with a foolproof touch-screen colour display that serves the
The smart, four-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel houses remote controls
for the audio, 'phone, speed limiter and cruise and, incidentally, adjusts generously
for both reach and height. The stylish and extremely 'gettable' horn bars are
definitely deserving of a mention in despatches; another thoughtful touch is
the stepped S-shaped column stalks that bring them handily up to the 10-to-2
position and within easy reach of your fingertips.
Driver's information is accessed (and cycled through) via the button on the
end of the left-hand stalk. Other commendably efficient features include the
first rate heating and ventilation as well as the very effective two-stage seat
heating. And yet another much-liked feature: the separate audio on/off
unlike many, it's not tied-in to the SatNav and thankfully doesn't come on every
time you restart the engine.
Once upon a time the Freelander was more utilitarian than 'yup there'
no longer; this refreshed version, particularly in range-topping HSE guise,
is a desirable alternative buy to a similar M-B or B-M.
As to the drivetrain, the 187bhp powerplant and the six-speeder auto 'box is
a good pairing. Yes, you know it drinks derv, but once you're rolling that's
quickly forgotten, replaced by an appreciation of the strong torque that pulls
solidly from low-down.
Adding to the mechanical polish is the quick- and smooth-shifting transmission.
Not only does it drive well, but this latest Freelander goes better, too: 0-62mph
takes 9.5 seconds and there's a higher 118mph top speed. While it's meaty enough
left in Drive, moving the selector lever to the left and into Sport really adds
a gratifying edge to the performance. Reassuringly, you always know exactly
what gear/mode you're in thanks to the secondary driver's information display
in the speedometer. There's also a manual override (called CommandShift) for
either rapid acceleration or to maximise engine braking.
of its brilliant and completely idiot-proof Terrain Response system (and now
even more wieldy thanks to the 187bhp unit's muscular 309lb ft of torque), the
Freelander 2 is justifiably highly rated as an out-an-out off-roader
and not just by dyed-in-the-wool Landie-lovers.
average over all sorts of
highways and byways
was a liveable 30.7mpg
it could easily have
been better but we
succumbed to the eager-
Sport mode for
most of our testing...
While the Freelander never fails to impress in the rough, what really surprises
passengers is just how adeptly it rides the blacktop.
It's comfortable, supple and agile. Bumps on lesser roads even
sleeping policemen! are ironed out while motorway miles are ticked-off
without any fuss at all. And note that that's running on 19-inch alloys shod
with wide 235 section rubber. Press on and you'll find that body roll is well
checked and the steering nicely weighted and unexpectedly direct
for a vehicle designed to tackle the world's worst roads.
Add in a refined cabin ambiance and you have a go-anywhere-at-anytime vehicle
that's particularly good for tackling long journeys. And long journeys is where
you'll see your best mpg with an official 49.6mpg Extra Urban figure; for the
record, Urban is 32.5mpg and Combined 40.4mpg.
Our week-long test average over all sorts of highways and byways was a liveable
30.7mpg it could easily have been better but we succumbed to the
'eager-beaver' Sport mode for most of our driving. The brakes shave off road
speed easily; use them in need and you'll discover them to be as powerful as
they are progressive. No worries.
What also impresses is that on road the Freelander feels very car like, with
what can genuinely be described as agile handling and roadholding. Push hard
through corners and yes, there is some body lean (mostly down to the high ground
clearance) but for normal driving it's as stable as needs be. Of course, the
usual caveat applies: if you want a hot hatch, buy a hot hatch.
The powered front seats (8-way driver; 6-way passenger), with power lumbar adjustment
and adjustable drop-down inner armrests, are comfortably supportive
with enough shape and bolstering to keep you stirred but not shaken if you do
take to the rough.
on road, the Freelander's 'intelligent' Terrain Response full-time 4WD system
ensures high levels of grip and it couldn't be easier to operate:
simply turn the rotary knob to dial up the appropriate setting
General; Grass-Gravel-Snow; Mud-Ruts; Sand and you're done!
a lot of SUVs (Audi Q5, Volvo XC60, etc) have taken the softer crossover route
style-wise, the Freelander has not betrayed its heritage and is still instantly
of the Land Rover clan. Like its sophisticated big bro the Range Rover, the
Freelander 2 remains unapologetically proud of its upright bearing, which gives
it strong on-road presence.
ensures high levels of
and it couldnt
be easier to operate:
simply turn the rotary
knob to dial up the
Snow; Mud-Ruts; Sand
Thanks to the almost regal squared-off body architecture, the Freelander's cabin
provides ample space and practicality; the lofty driving position also affords
the driver a panoramic view of the road ahead over the trademark clamshell bonnet
the slim A-pillars are a bonus.
From the driver's seat there's also good awareness of all four corners, making
placing the Freelander a piece of cake. There's good room, too, in all seating
positions for heads, elbows, knees, legs and feet. Plus more than enough cubbyholes
to go round.
The rear cabin is equally spacious and luxurious two adults can
chill out in real comfort on the well-padded rear seat, their lounging territories
democratically split by the comfy centre armrest. And if needs must, then three
adults will fit well enough. The deep glasshouse ensures a light and airy rear
cabin and exit and entry is made easy by wide-opening doors. What more can we
say? It's a great place to be driven in.
Neither is parking a problem sensors are standard although you
won't need to rely on them. And just to make life easier, the nearside mirror
dips when you engage reverse gear; and a single beep reminds you that you're
The tailgate is wide and lifts high, offering unrestricted access to the 755-litre
boot; fold down the 60:40 split rear seats creating a virtually
flat load-bay and this extends to 1,670 litres. The mid-thigh
level loading ledge may be a tad high for some but it's always far easier (and
kinder to your back!) to lift up rather than lean over when loading or unloading
heavy items, so no issues on this point. And, under the boot floor, something
you don't see often a genuine, full-size matching alloy spare
is well up to 'premium' expectations, particularly on the HSE model which comes
with full-time all-wheel drive and Land Rover's Terrain Response system, traction
and stability control, hill descent control and seven airbags
two curtain, two front, two thorax and a driver's knee bag, all helping the
Freelander 2 achieve a 5 star Euro NCAP rating for adult occupant protection.
Other standard kit includes powerfold door mirrors (on demand and automatically
on locking), one-shot electric windows (all four), alloy wheels, cruise control,
parking sensors, power front seats with driver's memory, touch-screen SatNav,
multichanger CD player, full hide upholstery, auto-dimming rear-view mirror,
dual-zone automatic climate control, two glass sunroofs (a fixed panel at the
rear and a one-shot powered tilt 'n' slide front section), drive-off central
locking, etc, etc.
When it comes to 'make your mind up' time the Freelander 2 has a lot to offer
over and above its first class brand image. For many buyers that badge alone
will seal the deal. But for those who need more than a badge, there's much to
recommend the Freelander, starting with its genuine and highly-rated off-road
abilities (it's no exaggeration to say that when the going gets tough the Freelander
trumps its rivals) and continuing with a hard-to-fault, practical nature that's
well-suited to serving as a family car. And, of course, its undemanding 'drive
anywhere, anytime, any weather' driveability. MotorBar
Land Rover Freelander 2 2.2 SD4 HSE | £36,245
Maximum speed: 118mph | 0-62mph: 9.5 seconds | Overall Test MPG:
Power: 187bhp | Torque: 309lb ft | CO2 185g/km