The Land Rover Freelander was introduced in 1997 and aimed to offer all the off-road capability that Land Rovers were famous for, but in a more modern, practical package.
It was available as a five-door station wagon, three-door removable hardback or three-door foldable softback.
A 1.8-litre or 2.5-litre V6 petrol were available on these early cars, as well as a 2.0-litre TD4 diesel. An automatic gearbox was available on the diesel and for the 2.5 V6 it was standard. The hardback and softback models got the same engine and transmission options.
In 2003, Land Rover refreshed the range. The engine, bodystyles and gearbox choices remained the same, but the car got refreshed styling inside and out, while there was extra kit on offer and a restructured trim list.
The big change came in 2006, when Land Rover launched a completely new five-door-only Freelander.The new car was bigger, heavier and more luxurious. The engine line up completely changed, too. There was now a 2.2 TD4, later adding more efficient SD4 and eD4 versions. A thirsty 3.2 V6 petrol could be bought as an auto, but all the diesels could be either manual or auto.
It is one of the most searched for 4x4s on What Car? despite suffering from a range of reliability issues, which we list below.
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Land Rover Freelander rear suspension problem (1997-2003 cars)
Some models built between June 1997 and June 1998 had problems with their rear suspension. There was an issue with the welding process, meaning the rear hub assembly could fracture. This would cause the car to deviate from a straight line on the road.
Land Rover Freelander front seat problems (1997-2003 cars)
On some Freelanders built between August 2000 and February 2001, there was an issue with the front seats. They sometimes didn't latch properly after using the tip lever, meaning the backrest could attempt to fold forward if the vehicle was brought to a sudden stop.
Land Rover Freelander engine harness problem (1997-2003 cars)
On cars built between August and November 2000, there was an issue with the engine wiring harness. The harness could chafe upon the wiring and cause it to fail. That could result in the headlights, engine management, cooling fans, fuel pumps, ignition, air-con, anti-lock braking, hill-descent control, horn or SRS system failing.
Land Rover Freelander handbrake problem (1997-2003 cars)
There was a problem with the handbrake on some Freelanders built between October 1997 and February 2001. The handbrake ratchet mechanism wasn't tight enough, meaning there was the possibility it could loosen the brakes and allow the car roll on uneven surfaces.
Land Rover Freelander diagnostic connector problem (1997-2003 petrol cars)
On some petrol Freelanders built between July 2000 and March 2002, there was an issue with the diagnostic connector. The connector didn't meet the required safety levels, and had to be changed.
Land Rover head gasket problems (1997-2003 1.8 petrol cars)
Blown head gaskets on first-generation 1.8-litre petrol models were a common problem. If the coolant level fell too low then the gasket would tend to fail. Water in the oil is a good sign of an impending problem.
Land Rover Freelander child lock problems (1997-2003 cars)
There has been an issue reported with the child lock on some cars built between July and September 2002. It was found that the left-hand rear door could still be opened from the inside even if the child lock was switched on.
Land Rover Freelander airbag problem (2003-2006 cars)
On some Freelanders built between August and October 2004, there were problems with the passenger airbag. The deflector panel contained in the passenger air-bag module was not to the incorrect specification. Some airbags wouldn't deploy properly and would therefore not be as safe as intended.
Land Rover Freelander sunroof problem (2006- cars)
Some cars built between November 2006 and January 2008 had problems with their sunroof. A failure of either the left or right guide rail could mean the sunroof detaches from the car completely.
Land Rover Freelander heater problem (2006- cars)
There were issues with the booster heater on some cars built between February 2007 and May 2008. The controller circuit might suffer from a short circuit, which could drain the battery. It could also emit a burning smell if it melts the surrounding components. In extreme cases this could cause a fire.
All these problems - apart from the head gasked issue - should have been fixed by Land Rover for free, so check the work has been done