What's the used Land Rover Freelander 4x4 like?
The original Land Rover Freelander was a top seller and a huge success commercially, right across Europe, but this second-generation version represented a big step up for the British company’s smallest product. With smarter looks inside and out, it could take on premium-badged opposition such as the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 for the first time.
The most popular engine of choice is the 2.2-litre TD4 diesel engine, which produces 157bhp and gives the Freelander pretty good performance. If not, there was also a 190bhp version of the same engine in the SD4 that comes paired with a six-speed automatic gearbox. You could also briefly get a 231bhp 3.2-litre six-cylinder petrol (available until 2008) that was relatively swift, but you’ll pay dearly for the privilege at the pumps.
This second-generation Freelander also made a bit of history by becoming the first Land Rover product to be sold with front-wheel drive; that fuel-saving eD4 model was added to the range in 2008 and provides a noticeable reduction in fuel consumption. Plus, it’s not as useless in tricky conditions as you might expect, due to the weight of the engine over the driven wheels.
Most Freelanders are four-wheel drive and come equipped with a clever Terrain Response system (apart from S versions) that adjusts various vehicle parameters to help you when going off road. Provided you’ve got good tyres on your Land Rover, it should go farther than most from the beaten path.
When you venture back on to sealed roads, you'll find there’s a lot of body lean in bends. However, the Freelander grips well and has a very comfortable ride. Wind noise can be an issue at high speeds, but it’s still a relaxing car to take on a long cruise.
True, the interior plastics don’t feel as classy as those in contemporary Audis and BMWs, but they’re much better than the ones used on the original car. There's plenty of head and leg room in the front, and the high seating position gives an excellent forward view over the bonnet.
Adults won't enjoy sitting in the rear seats, though, because there isn't a great deal of leg room back there. The bench is at least mounted quite high to afford a good view out over the front seats. It’s also a shame that the Freelander’s boot is so small.