I am a big fan of German cars so was a little apprehensive when I when to see the new Freelander 2. After a test drive with the salesperson, I was pleased with the vehicle overall, but would not commit myself to buying one until I had at least driven it for a whole day.
The dealer agreed and so I put it through its paces and it was absolutley superb. Handling was good on country lanes and smooth and refined on the motorway. There is plenty of power when needed and fuel economy for a new car was about 34mpg. No doubt this will improve once the engine has worn in a little. In the cabin, the leather seats are comfortable and the controls are to hand and easy to use.
I am now awaiting delivery of my new Freelander 2 2.2 TD4 HSE with automatic gearbox and body kit. Delivery should be early April and I can't wait.
I test-drove most of the 4x4s on the market and the Freelander was by far the best in its class.
Having previously owned a 1.8 petrol and TD4 auto freelander I was keen to test the new model. After an hour in a pre production model followed up by two hours with my wife in a demo model I was convinced. The power and handling are a vast improvement and easily justify the small increase in cost. Having now spent 6 weeks owning the car and half a day at a Land Rover Experience centre driving one off road I am even more inpressed.The power and economy of the engine, coupled to the comfort and all round ability make this the best car I have ever owned.
When I arrived to test drive the new Freelander I was pretty apprehensive. The pictures I had seen looked great but I was wary about Land Rover's pretty appaling reliability record.
In the metal, it did look pretty impressive and the cabin design is very nice, apart from the very cluttered centre console, which would drive you demented after a while, I think. The model in the showroom had a large piece of trim around the gearshift hanging off - not a great start.
The boot seems absolutley tiny (755 litres? Surely some mistake!) - it's not big enough for a double buggy. Room in the back wasn't bad - better than an A4 Avant or Volvo V50, but not by much.
On the road is was very good. It sways on corners, but feels planted, although not as good to driva as, say, a new Honda CR-V. You have a great view out the front with the long flat hood. By the time I got back, I was almost talking myself into buying a smaller pram, but then came the price list.
By the time I had specified things like wipeable leather seats and a sunroof, the dealer was talking over £30,000. This for a car that will likely spend an unacceptable proportion of its three-year warranty period back in the shop getting fixed and which still has an impractically small boot.
I suspect few will see past the badge, though, and part with their large wedge of cash regardless of its flaws. It's a great looking car, but I will be buying something better built, more practical and which offers better value f
As a Freelander I owner I was curious to try out the new one. Having spent an hour or so out in the car without an over-zealous salesperson breathing down my neck, I have to say I am very impressed. This is probably the best car I have ever driven.
It still feels like a Freelander in that it feels substantial and very grippy. However, they have improved it beyond recognition. The new diesel engine is powerful enough for easy overtaking on country lanes. Its also very much at home cruising at 70 on the motorway. The lighter stearing makes parking so much easier than on the previous model, yet it still has decent feel at higher speeds.
It handles well for a car of this size, the seats are very comfortable and the switchgear is much more logically laid out. The car I drove had only done a fairly small mileage but was showing average fuel economy in the low 30s, which for a demo car that I guess will be hammered seems good. I would imagine the claimed figure will be quite achievable.
Overall - well done Land Rover. I may well be buying one of these with the auto gearbox in a year or so.
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