$42,300 – $68,400
Good: clean and uncomplicated design is crisp; Class leading off-road ability; Excellent vision.
Not so Good: Excessive tyre roar and wind noise; Excessive body roll at speed on tarmac.
Design and Engineering
Good: The latest generation Freelander hit Australian shores in May 2007 and received a facelift in February 2011. The latest facelift was in December 2012, bring with it the ‘Ecoboost’ petrol engine as well as other equipment and interior enhancements.
The overall design and styling is clean and uncomplicated – we like its upright stance, the floating effect roof with blacked out rear pillars and chunky door handles.
All Freelander 2 models receive the latest Xenon LED technology, the front and rear lamps have been revised for a sportier look, the new signature graphic in the front running lights also work well. The grille and fog lamp highlights feature a bright metallic finish and paint detailing changes to the front grille surround, insert bars and fender vent finish the sporty look.
Not so good : The Freelander 2 is uniquely sized – larger than a Volkswagen Tiguan yet smaller inside than the premium BMW X3, Audi Q5 or Volvo XC60 offerings.
Interior and Styling
Good: The interior layout is logical and functional. There is excellent visibility for all on board and the upright ‘command’ driving position ensures that you sit high giving drivers a better view of traffic. Depending on the grade the seats are covered in a durable cloth with two colour choices on offer or high quality leather. We love the front folding centre armrests that come equipped with the added Leather Pack.
The 5-inch instrument cluster screen located between the dials is crisp and displays useful vehicle information like temperature and fuel levels, gear positions and Terrain Response mode.
There’s also an electric parking brake which adjusts brake force according to the slope the vehicle is parked on. A Passive Start replaces the key docking system, meaning that as long as the key is somewhere inside the car, the engine starts at the touch of a button.
The high roofline offers up excellent levels of headroom for second row passengers. When not in use the back seat folds down flat (in a useful 60/40 format) creating 1670 litres of cargo space.
There is a total of six trim levels to choose from in the model range depending on your lifestyle and needs.
Not so good : Rear seat knee and legroom is average, plus the Freelander lacks rear air-conditioning vents.
The boot has a higher than ideal load height and the 755 litre capacity (or 1670 litres rear seats folded) isn’t as impressive as it sounds due to the narrow shape of the cargo zone.
Good : Land Rover offer three engines to choose from, two diesel and one petrol.
Kicking things off is the TD4 2.2-litre in-line four-cylinder turbo diesel. The TD4 manages 110kW of power and 420Nm of torque.
Next up is the SD4 2.2-litre in-line four-cylinder turbo diesel. Producing 140kW of power and 420Nm of torque.
Last but not least the Si4 is a 2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder turbo petrol pumps out 177kW of power and 340Nm of torque.
All bar the entry level grade come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission. The TD4 comes equipped with a six-speed manual as standard or six-speed automatic transmission at an added cost.
We went a week with the TD4 and came away well impressed. Whilst the official 0-100km/h time is 11.7 seconds in the real world it feels a lot faster of the line. Pulling power is impressive from low down in the rev range, the engine stays relatively refined when driven sensibly and the six-speed automatic delivers power in a linear fashion.
Not so good : Against the competition the diesel isn’t quite as refined as we’d hope. Noise and vibration are noticeable at idle and low revs, however it becomes less of an issue at cruising speeds.
Ride and Handling
Good : Whilst it rides on a car like monocoque platform, make no mistake the Freelander is still a true off-roader. Thankfully so, the engine and radiator are protected by a rugged under-tray and Land Rover’s Terrain Response means it can be driven with confidence over a wide variety of surfaces.
The Freelander has a smooth, comfortable ride and stays composed over almost any road surface. The long travel suspension is softer than typical; a bonus when negotiating poorly marked roads.
Gravel surfaces are handled with aplomb and should you need or wish to negotiate 4×4 terrains the Freelander will be well and truly up to it. The Terrain Response driver controlled system offers 4 modes (on-road, grass/gravel, snow/mud, rock and sand) – off road the Freelander is best in class.
The hydraulic power assisted rack and pinion steering is direct feels well weighted under hand.
Not so good : Body roll in the Freelander is more noticeable when compared to its more road focused competitors like the BMW X3, Volvo XC60 and Audi Q5.
Body roll becomes more evident when cornering on tarmac at speed, but the Freelander is sure to smash the competition when tackling country roads or getting dirty off-road.
Buying and Owning
Good : We think the SE trim grade is the pick of the range. It comes with a gloss black grille surround, full leather trim and the Meridian sound system including rear camera and is far less expensive than the top of the range HSE grades.
All Freelander’s come with a full size spare wheel (located under the boot floor), unlike some competing SUV’s that only come with a temporary space saver spare – a plus for country driver’s who prefer the security of a full size spare.
At the high end of the option range, there’s a HSE Lux Pack option with Windsor leather trim, 825W Meridian Audio with 17 speakers, Climate control – Automatic with air filtration and air quality sensing for automatic recirculation, Auto Dimming Interior Mirror with Humidity Sensor and Premium Carpet Mats.
Not so good : The optional Lux Pack pushes the Freelander into a higher price bracket. Yes, the Windsor leather trim is beautiful to touch and the 825W Meridian Audio with 17 speakers is slamming to the ears. But, we think the smarter value is lower down in the price range.
If you want a compact sized Land Rover loaded with every possible luxury option, surely the Range Rover Evoque is the more appropriate vehicle to load up.
Larger wheel options aren’t the way to go if you intend to travel off-road – our tip is to go for the smaller wheels with larger profile tyres for better grip.