This is the new Land Rover Freelander, a refreshed model that gets exterior styling tweaks and a comprehensively rethought fascia and cabin.
The Freelander 2, which was introduced in 2006, remains popular with family buyers and those wanting a mix of practicality and some off-road ability. It's been a hit in new markets such as China and Russia, but even Land Rover has been surprised by how it has continued to sell in the UK. Insiders say that while the Range Rover Evoque has attracted new customers into dealerships, many of them have chosen a Freelander instead because of its greater interior space.
Accordingly, the new Freelander is designed to offer more 'luxury' car features inside, although it remains very much a Land Rover, not a Range Rover.
Only Land Rover aficionados will be able to spot the difference between the new model and the outgoing car, because the metal panels and basic design remain unchanged.
Only Land Rover aficionados will be able to spot the difference between the new model and the outgoing car
Land Rover has made changes to the lighting set-up, however. The headlights get xenon technology and a new design, including a string of LED daytime running lights, and the tail-lights (also LED) get a new ‘figure of eight’ layout.
There’s also a new design of 17-inch alloy wheel, and three new colours: Aintree Green, Havana and the Mauritius Blue that’s pictured here.
2013 Land Rover Freelander interior
The biggest changes in the Freelander will be noticed from the front seats, because Land Rover claims it has listened to customer feedback and heavily revised the fascia and front cabin.
For starters, the regular handbrake has been replaced with an electronic parking brake, and the Terrain Response control has gone, now replaced by a more compact pair of switches. These moves free up more space for a useful storage area between the front seats. Land Rover has kept the front passengers’ armrests, though.
The dashboard gets an analogue clock (a direct result of customer requests, Land Rover says) and a new design that incorporates space for a large central screen. This seven-inch touch-screen unit will be standard in all but the most basic model (it gets a five-inch display instead), and it can be used to control most of the car’ systems, including the stereo, and hard disk-based sat-nav. It can also be operated via voice commands, or steering wheel-mounted controls.
This new screen will look familiar to anyone who’s used a Jaguar XF or even an Evoque. The same could be said for the driver’s instrument panel, which now gets a five-inch TFT information display between the rev-counter and the speedometer.
Customer feedback has influenced the heavily revised fascia and front cabin
Other new features include push-button start, which senses if the key is present in the vehicle, and a reversing camera that also overlays the position of the towing eye to aid hitching up.
There's s a major upgrade in audio, with the choice of three systems: an 80W eight-speaker set-up for the entry-level car, and two Meridian systems with either 11 speakers and 380W or 17 speakers, 825W and surround sound.
The Meridian players incorporate AM/FM and DAB radio, CD, DVD, iPod and USB, and Bluetooth audio streaming. There’s also ‘Virtual CD’, which can store up to 10CDs on a portion of the system’s hard disk.
Seven airbags in total are standard: two curtain, two front, two thorax and a driver’s knee bag. The mechanicals of the Freelander 2 were updated last year, so they haven’t been touched this time round. Just one 2.2-litre diesel engine is available, in two states of tune: 148bhp (called TD4 with four-wheel drive, and eD4 when equipped with only front-wheel drive), and 187bhp, which is sold as the SD4 only.
2013 Land Rover Freelander: engines
The eD4 is available only with a six-speed manual. It gets stop-start technology as standard, helping to improve its official fuel economy to 47.1mpg and to reduce its CO2 emissions to 158g/km. The TD4 manages 45.6mpg and 165g/km as a manual, and both it and the more powerful SD4 return 40.4mpg and 185g/km when fitted with the six-speed automatic transmission.
Land Rover has made changes to the lighting set-up, including a string of LED daytime running lights, and the tail-lights
2013 Land Rover Freelander: specifications
All four-wheel drive models get Land Rover’s Terrain Response system as standard. This allows you to change the electronic systems to one of four settings depending on the type of conditions: general driving, gravel/snow, mud/ruts and sand. It also includes Gradient Release control for more secure climbs and descents in poor conditions. The entry-level Freelander S gets cloth seats as standard. Next up are the GS, with full leather, and then the XS, which also adds a 380W Meridian stereo and a gloss black surround for the front grille.
Dynamic trim brings a bodykit, with further gloss black finish at the front wing vents, front grille bars and the grille surround, plus unique 19-inch ‘painted’ 10-spoke alloy wheels and a choice of three colours of electrically adjustable leather seats.
Then there’s HSE trim, which used to be the top spec. It offers wood interior trim, a panoramic sunroof, memory function on the driver’s seat and door mirrors, and an even more powerful 850W Meridian sound system.
HSE Lux takes over at the top of the range, and adds Windsor leather seats, black lacquer finisher, premium deep-pile carpet mats and 19-inch ‘diamond-turned’ wheels.
How much will the 2013 Land Rover Freelander cost?
The more generous equipment list is likely to be accompanied by a small increase in price; that should make the basic four-wheel-drive S model around £24,000. The HSE Lux’s price will reflect its more expensive finish and materials, so expect it to cost almost £40,000.
The 2012 Land Rover Freelander gets new 17-inch alloys and three new exterior paint colours
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