Land Rover Freelander 4x4 full 9 point review
Every Freelander uses a 2.2-litre diesel engine, but you can choose between outputs of 148 and 188bhp. Both develop strong low-end pull, but holding onto the revs soon reveals the 148bhp version’s shortage of power. A six-speed automatic gearbox is standard on the 188bhp model, and an option on the 148bhp unit, which comes with a six-speed manual as standard.
Ride & Handling
The Freelander is brilliant at ironing out bumps – it's more like a luxury car on the motorway. However, the body leans as you turn in to a corner, and the car bounces around over crests and dips. The steering is accurate, but it’s not exactly quick and could do with a bit more weight and feel at higher speeds. All versions come with Land Rover's Terrain Response System, which lets you optimise the car's set-up for different surface conditions via a simple rotary knob.
The Freelander is pretty refined up to about 50mph – the engine has a slightly agricultural note when you pile on the revs, but the car is very good at shutting out suspension clatter. Unfortunately, the boxy body generates so much wind noise at motorway speeds that it’s impossible to estimate how much noise the tyres, suspension and engine are generating.
Buying & Owning
The Freelander looks a little pricey compared with some compact 4x4 rivals, but strong resale values mean you’ll get a large chunk of that outlay back when you sell it. To keep running costs in check, manual versions have a stop-start system that reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Still, the fuel and tax costs aren't in the same league as the super-clean BMW X3's.
Quality & Reliability
Land Rover's reliability record leaves a lot to be desired; it got a below-average rating in the latest JD Power customer satisfaction survey. Perceived quality is more impressive, though: the dials and steering wheel are virtually identical to those in the Freelander's upmarket Discovery sister car, and the cabin materials look and feel similarly robust. Wipe-clean surfaces make it easy to live with, too.
Safety & Security
Safety equipment is comprehensive, with stability control and twin front, side and curtain airbags all fitted as standard. There's also an airbag under the steering column to protect the driver's knees in an accident. Deadlocks, marked parts, an integrated stereo and locking wheelnuts all help to deter thieves.
Behind The Wheel
The Freelander’s high-set driving position and flat bonnet give you excellent forward visibility and make it easy to place the car on the road. Rear vision is great, too, because the back of the car has an immense amount of glass. The simple dashboard is easy to navigate, particularly with the seven-inch colour touch-screen system fitted to higher-spec versions.
Space & Practicality
Front-seat occupants get plenty of head- and legroom, but rear knee space is no more than adequate. The boot is small compared with the best in class and suffers from wheelarch intrusion; its high floor also means you might struggle to lift heavy items into it. There are 60/40 split rear seats, though, and they lay pretty flat.
Even entry-level SE models get alloy wheels, climate control, rear parking sensors, heated leather seats, a DAB radio and a heated windscreen. That's pretty good for the money, so is what we'd go for. Next up is SE Tech, which brings satellite-navigation, automatic lights and wipers, and a better stereo. Metropolis models get electrically adjustable seats, a reversing camera, sunroof and an even better stereo, but they're pricey.