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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For Smooth on the road, and accomplished on the rough stuff: the Freelander is refined and desirable.

Against Passenger and boot space isn't great. Running costs are high and there are long-term reliability questions.

Verdict Capable in the wilds as a Land Rover should be. Running costs are only for the brave.

Go for… 2.2 TD4

Avoid… 3.2i HSE

Land Rover Freelander Crossover
  • 1. The Freelander's ride smoothes out all but the worst road surfaces, and there's plenty of grip through bends. Body lean is never excessive, either.
  • 2. The 158bhp 2.2-litre diesel is a good option. It's a bit flat at lower revs, but has enough pull to feel frisky once it's on the move.
  • 3. Road tax isn't cheap, with CO2 emissions of 194g/km for the diesel and 265g/km for the petrol. With road tax charges hitting vehicles that produce higher emissions, costs look set to keep rising.
  • 4. Clutch and gearbox issues have been reported, with Freelanders towing caravans particularly at risk. However, most of these should have been fixed under warranty.
  • 5. The Freelander 2 is a much better buy than the original model, and a diesel is the only sensible choice.
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Land Rover Freelander Crossover full review with expert trade views

When you think 4x4, you think Land Rover, and the Freelander 2 certainly wears the badge with honour. With its supple ride and sophisticated four-wheel-drive system, the Freelander is equally at home on Tarmac or in the rough: it's the perfect compact SUV. The Freelander 2 isn't quite as accomplished as its bigger brother, the Discovery 3 – and you don't have the option of seven seats – but it's still a highly desirable and practical vehicle.

The Freelander's ride smoothes out all but the worst road surfaces, and there's plenty of grip through bends. A vehicle of this size and height is always going to lean when cornering, but it's never excessive. Even though you get some wind noise at higher speeds, and the large wheels increase road noise, it's still a refined and a proficient motorway cruiser.

The cabin is well presented and feels solid, the driving position is comfortable, and forward vision is excellent, too. Front passenger space is plentiful, but taller people in the back will be left wanting for kneeroom. The boot is smaller than most rivals' and the loading lip is too high off the ground, making it tricky to load.

Trade view

Paint colours such as red, white and orange aren't to everyone's liking, and you may find they're harder to sell on later – so buy with care.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

Unless it's really cheap, you should avoid the 3.2-litre V6 model. There's nothing wrong with the way it drives, but there are hardly any examples available and real-world petrol consumption will cause many sleepless nights.

The 158bhp 2.2-litre diesel is a much better option. It's a bit flat at lower revs, but has enough pull to feel frisky once it's on the move. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, with a smooth automatic option. It suits the car well, so is worth looking out for.

The Freelander is equipped with alloy wheels, air-con and a CD player as standard. The GS model gets climate and cruise control, rear parking sensors and Land Rover's Terrain Response system, which allows you to alter the four-wheel-drive system for various driving conditions. XS trim adds electric front seats and an upgraded stereo, while SE comes with satellite-navigation and a CD multichanger. HSE gives you leather upholstery, while HST models have different body side mouldings, a roof spoiler and 20-inch alloys.

Trade view

Join the country set with the Freelander 2. It's a much better buy than the original model. Diesel is the only sensible choice.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The 2.2 diesel has an official average economy of 37.2mpg, but you may struggle to achieve that in reality. What Car?'s long-term test Freelander managed an average of only 32.8mpg.

Road tax isn't cheap, with CO2 emissions of 194g/km for the diesel and 265g/km for the petrol. With road tax charges targeting vehicles that produce higher emissions, costs look set to rise throughout the car's lifetime.

You'll pay a lot for servicing, too, but it's worth sticking with Land Rover dealers as their stamp will help shore up resale values. Get quotes from different regions of the country and consider travelling if the savings are worthwhile.

Insurance is similar to rivals', with the diesels starting in group 12, rising to group 14 for the petrol models.

Trade view

Paint colours such as red, white and orange aren't to everyone's liking, and you may find they're harder to sell on later – so buy with care.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The original Freelander had a poor reputation for reliability, and although the newer car is an improvement, it's not without faults.

The electrics have been known to misbehave, with items such as the stereo, headlights and airbag warning lights all giving problems. Depending on the exact fault, it can take dealers a while to fix it.

The Freelander's body-coloured bumpers are expensive to repair, with even low-speed accidents potentially costing over a £1000 front and back. Check carefully for any cracks or deformation.

Clutch and gearbox issues have been reported, with Freelanders towing caravans particularly at risk. However, most of these should have been fixed under warranty. Only time will tell if this continues to be an issue for older cars that are out of warranty. There are also reports about engine failures – with very high oil consumption being a possible early warning sign.

Trade view

Join the country set with the Freelander 2. It's a much better buy than the original model. Diesel is the only sensible choice.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor
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