Land Rover Freelander 2 SUV
- Good to drive
- Comfortable and luxurious
- Go-anywhere ability
- No seven-seat option
- Relatively expensive
- Cheaper rivals offer more for the money
"Once the compact SUV star, the Land Rover Freelander's shine has been dimmed by the ability of its rivals."
Surprisingly, the Land Rover Freelander 2 is rather good to drive on road – especially considering how capable it is off of it. It doesn’t feel like an off-roader but more like a tall estate car with 4x4 ability. You can only get the Freelander 2 with a 2.2-litre diesel engine but it is available in two different versions and you can order the car in front-wheel-drive form if you want the look of the car without the 4x4 fuel consumption.
An update late in 2012 freshened up the car's looks, with new lights at the front and rear, plus an interior with a much cleaner look thanks to fewer buttons. The car's rivals include the Hyundai Santa Fe, the budget Dacia Duster, and the popular Nissan Qashqai, so the competition is as tough as ever.
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MPG, running costs & CO2
Decent economy but average emissions
The Freelander 2’s 2.2-litre diesel engine comes in two power outputs: the eD4 and TD4 both have the 150bhp engine and the SD4 gets a 190bhp version. Which one you choose depends on what is most important to you, the SD4 reaches 60mph quicker than the other two, but the lower power engine is more fuel-efficient. If it is fuel efficiency and reduced emissions you want then we suggest the eD4, which is the two-wheel-drive version of the TD4. The eD4 does around 47.1mpg and emits 158g/km of CO2, with the four-wheel drive TDV returning slightly worse figures of 45.6mpg and 165g/km of CO2. If you go for the higher-powered SD4, that drops to 40.4mpg and 185g/km of CO2, making it a fairly expensive car to run and tax.
If its off-roading you’re after then the variable four-wheel drive system is one of the best on the market and comes as standard on all of the four-wheel drive models.
Engines, drive & performance
Enjoyable to drive and handles with precision
An excellent manual gearbox, or the automatic with the more powerful 190bhp SD4 turbo-diesel engine, makes the car easy to drive, however, the steering is slow to react. It works well if you’re going slowly, but the Freelander feels out of its depth when you pick up speed. Its high seating position gives great visibility for all of the family and the compact exterior dimensions do make for easy town driving. Not only does it have incredible off-road capability, its supple suspension impresses with its comfort on long journeys. The Terrain Response feature, available on higher-spec models, also makes it a more versatile off-road vehicle than many of its more road-focused rivals.
Interior & comfort
Extremely comfortable over rough roads
There is no doubt that the Freelander 2 is a very comfortable car - its improved suspension means it tackles bumpy roads without a problem.
The low levels of tyre, wind, and road noise mean that the car is pleasant around town but at higher motorway speeds the boxy shape does create some wind-whistle and the engine is noisy at high revs. The quality of the seats, plastics and general surroundings is very good and should cope well with the wear and tear of family life – it’s just a shame the finish isn’t up to the standard you would expect for the money.
Practicality & boot space
The boot is a decent size and the seats are comfortable
Inside the Freelander 2 are deep door bins, a decent-sized glove compartment and plenty of handy storage cubbies, so there’s no shortage of space. The Freelander 2 offers massive boot space too, offering 755 litres of space, which expands to a massive 1,670 litres when the standard-fit split-fold seats are folded down flat. However, the huge wheel arches make the boot’s shape much less practical, intruding greatly on that appealing floor space. The lack of a seven-seat option does limit the Freelander 2's flexibility and overall people-carrying ability compared to some of its competitors. The legroom, in both the front and back, means that four adults should fit comfortably.
Reliability & safety
Some of the interior plastics lack a quality finish
Land Rover dropped five places in the manufacturer rankings for the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey to come 25th out of 32. The Freelander itself actually re-entered the list of top 100 cars at number 73 but negatives included high running costs, lack of reliability and poor handling – Land Rover's reliability has never been its strongest suit, with owners often suffering niggling issues. The Freelander did manage to secure the maximum five-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests though, so it’s a safe car.
Price, value for money & options
Entry-level S cars not very well equipped
Land Rovers don’t come cheap; the starting price for the Freelander’s entry-level model, which isn’t particularly well stocked, is expensive. But, the Freelander's main advantage is that it will have stronger resale value in the used car market than most of its rivals. The XS model is our recommendation, as it comes fitted with climate control, cruise control, leather seats and sat-nav, all as standard. The HSE spec also adds a full leather interior, but at a significant bump in price over the XS. HSE Lux and Dynamic models were added to the range to provide an extra little focus on luxury and finishing touches – prices reflect this.