Land Rover Freelander 2 TD4 SE review
Isaac Bober’s first drive Land Rover Freelander 2 TD4 SE review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety and verdict.
In a nutshell The original baby Land Rover, the Freelander 2 has been replaced by the Discovery Sport, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it.
Practical Motoring Says The Freelander 2 won’t be available for too much longer (Land Rover expects to be out of stock by May) but the lovable Freelander is both capable and comfortable. And with dealers looking to shift stock there’s likely to be some real bargains to be had.
THE ORIGINAL Land Rover Freelander, which launched in 1997, became the best-selling four-wheel drive in Europe (selling more than 540,000 units in nine years). Then along came the Freelander 2 in 2006 which was easily the most capable of the compact rough roaders on the market, and, to be fair, probably still is.
Nope, the Freelander 2 doesn’t get low-range, but it does get Land Rover’s clever Terrain Response system that allows its electrical brain to tweak things like throttle response, gearbox and traction and stability controls across a variety of surfaces. Drivers can choose from Normal; Grass/Gravel,/Snow; Mud/Ruts; and Sand. This puts the Freelander 2 ahead of its rivals when it comes to rough road ability.
While the Freelander 2 is on its last legs thanks to the arrival of the Discovery Sport which will replace it as the new smallest Land Rover, it shouldn’t be ignored. Our test car is the Freelander 2 TD4 SE which is priced from $54,100 (+ORC) which is more expensive than the entry-level Discovery Sport when it goes on-sale in May from $53,300 (ORC), although the entry-level Freelander 2 TD4 lists from $42,300 (+ORC) and tops out at $68,400 (+ORC) for the HSE Luxury variant. The equivalent Discovery Sport SD4 HSE Luxury lists from $69,500 (+ORC).
But let’s not dwell on the Discovery Sport for fear of potential buyers ignoring run-out Freelander 2 models and holding out for the new kid on the block. Although, we wouldn’t blame you…
It might not hold a candle to the Discovery Sport in the looks department, but the Freelander 2 still cuts a reasonable figure when compared to rivals like the Jeep Cherokee, Toyota RAV4, and Ford Kuga. It certainly looks more rugged than all of those vehicles, despite Jeep’s designers throwing every heritage design cue possible at the Cherokee. While the Freelander 2 TD4 SE compares favourably with these rivals, if you’re shopping at the other end and comparing the interior with that in a BMW X3 or Audi Q5, well, you’ll be disappointed as the Freelander’s fussy interior can’t compete with the clean, premium feel of those two.
Like its siblings, where the Freelander 2 steps ahead of the pack is in its superior visibility afforded both by the high-set ‘command’ driving position, deep glasshouse and narrow pillars. And, just like its brothers, you can see right out to each corner of the bonnet which makes placing and maneuvering the Freelander 2 when rough-roading a cinch. This excellent visibility makes it surprisingly easy to thread through city traffic and park.
As mentioned, from behind the wheel the visibility right around is about as good as it gets. The seats are flat but comfortable for long journeys, and all of the major controls fall easily to hand; reach and rake adjust on the steering wheel make it easy to find a comfortable driving position.
Over in the back, there’s plenty of room for three adults or children, with the boxy shape and stadium seating affording plenty of headroom the backseat of the Freelander 2 is a comfortable place to be, although its worth mentioning that knee room is just okay rather than excellent. We fitted two child seats into the back (one booster and one childseat) and there was still enough room for me to climb in between the two seats. The rear seats are 60/40 split fold and while they don’t fold completely flat they lay down flat enough to make the space usable.
Speaking of the boot, it isn’t huge at just 405 litres and the wheelarches do intrude into the space. That said, it’s more than big enough to handle a family of four’s luggage or the weekly grocery shopping. While the high-set rear floor makes it easy to get things out of the boot, lugging heavier items from the ground and up into the boot could be tricky for some.
Under the bonnet of the TD4 SE is a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine that produces 110kW (at 4000rpm) and 420Nm of torque (at 1750rpm). The TD4 SE comes with a six-speed automatic as standard, but a manual is available as standard on the TD4 only. Land Rover claims 7.0L/100km (combined) and in our week of driving around (more than 600km) we managed to better that figure, returning 6.8L/100km – most of our driving were 200km round trip journeys and usually with just one in the car, and that no doubt helped reduce fuel consumption. The Freelander 2 weighs 1805kg and has a maximum braked towing capacity of 2000kg.
The engine is a real sweetheart; quiet at both idle and when the engine revs rise. It’s also, thanks to the early arrival (1750rpm) of peak torque (420Nm) got plenty of low-down grunt, which is great for schlepping around town and excellent for when you’re crawling around on a rough track. Our test TD4 SE had, as mentioned, a six-speed automatic which seems positively old-school when you consider the new Discovery Sport has a nine-speeder, but the Freelander’s auto is hard to fault with smooth shifts up and down no matter the situation.
Steering is light, but very direct with just 2.6 turns lock-to-lock (with a turning circle of just 11.3m) and that makes the Freelander 2 easy to drive around town, or maneuver the thing in a car park, it also makes the Freelander particularly wieldy on a tight track. The steering and the ride (in the next par) are all reminiscent of the Range Rover’s slightly ponderous feel but that’s not as bad as it might seem as it endows the Freelander 2 with a relaxed and smooth driving experience.
Across all surfaces the Freelander 2 offers up a nice comfortable ride with the suspension soaking up the worst the road can throw at it. Sure, tip it into a corner and the Freelander2 will roll, thanks to its softer set-up, but not alarmingly so. But its this softer set-up that allows the Freelander 2 to walk across the sorts of rough-road surfaces that its competitors would struggle to make it across.
When it comes to rough-roading, the Freelander 2 offers some impressive statistics. For instance, its approach angle is 31-degrees, departure is 34-degrees, rampover is 23-degrees, ground clearance is 210mm and its wading depth is 500mm. The Freelander 2’s angles better the ‘trail-rated’ Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk: 29.9-degrees approach; 22.9-degrees rampover; and 32.2-degrees departure, although it gets slightly more ground clearance at 221mm.
So, what does your $54,100 (+ORC) get you? A full leather interior, 18-inch alloys and a full-size alloy spare, Halogen headlights with LED daytime running lights, cruise control, climate control with air filtration, rear parking aid and reversing camera, front parking aid is a $900 cost option, Bluetooth connectivity, sat-nav and solid paintwork, metallic paint will cost you an extra $1700. There are a range of extra cost packages that will add things like a sunroof and rain-sensing wipers, etc, the option packages range from $400 to $2650.
Safety. The Freelander 2 gets a reversing camera as standard, seven airbags, child seat ISOFIX mounts, permanent four-wheel drive, stability and traction controls, Terrain Response, trailer stability assist and remote central locking. ANCAP has awarded it a five-star rating, a rating it’s had since its Australian release in 2007.