An Archive for Fanatics of Land Rovers

An Archive for Fanatics of Land Rovers










Land Rover Freelander Reviews

Land Rover Freelander 2 Review

Still, after experiencing the newcomer for two days on some extremely testing terrain in the Kalahari, I am happy to report that, ho-hum looks apart, Freelander 2 is a vastly improved vehicle.

As before, Land Rover puts much emphasis on the Freelander 2s off-road capability. In that regard, the new model impresses - on any surface. We started off with high-speed cruising on tarred roads, an exercise that proved the sluggishness of the previous model had disappeared. High-speed stability, and quietness, is also good.

Then it was off onto some gravel roads. With the Terrain Response system switched to its suitable setting, the Freelander 2 hardly noticed the difference. Usually the full-time intelligent 4x4 system (with its new electronically controlled centre coupling) operates in front-wheel drive mode, but can send just about all the torque to the rear wheels if required. What amazed me even more than the vehicles stability on corrugated- and rough gravel surfaces was its ride quality. The tyres fitted to the press units were fairly wide, low-profile ones, so its ability to soak up irregularities was a surprise. Oh, and by the way, lifting up the boot floor reveals a full-size spare.

And then we tackled the really rough stuff. Freelander 2 has a 210 mm ground clearance and short overhangs, which help the compact SUV cope with daunting obstacles in an impressive fashion. The various electronic trickery including Hill Descent and Gradient Release Control, as well as a new Roll Stability Control system also play their part, but I suspect even without these the Land Rover would rate amongst the best in its segment.

Read the full review at

Land Rover Freelander 2 Review from San Francisco Chronicle

Little stops the charismatic Land Rover LR2 It's low on the Initial Quality Study, but the buyers love it
Dan Neil, Los Angeles Times

Friday, June 1, 2007

A couple of months ago, I found myself near Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, standing in front of a high-end cheese shop where customers were lined up out the door. Cheese shop. Waiting. Out the door. It's fair to say the consumers in this part of the world are among the most discriminating and demanding ever to whip out a Louis Vuitton wallet.

And so I waited and started counting the Land Rovers and Range Rovers. In the space of 45 minutes (45 minutes for cheese? My parents would be so proud), I saw about 200 Range Rovers and Range Rover Sports, and an additional 30 or so LR3s. The irony is that these bucks-up mega-consumers who would happily nuke a Starbucks if their doppio macchiato isn't steamed just so, willingly put up with the aggravation of owning a Land Rover product.

How dysfunctional is this relationship? In the 2006 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (problems per 100 vehicles within 90 days of purchase), Land Rover registered a basement-dwelling 204. Porsche leads the industry with 91. The industry average is 124. The same goes for J.D. Power's most recent Vehicle Dependability Study, a three-year survey that has Land Rover at the bottom with 438 problems per 100 vehicles. Lexus leads that list with 91; the industry average is 227.

And yet, like an abused spouse, the Land Rover buyer keeps coming back. Land Rover has some of the highest owner retention rates in the industry in the prestige SUV segment, almost double the industry average.

Why would people re-enlist for such heartache? Well, it's the difference between consumerism and connoisseurship. Consumerism is a mind-set that requires products to perform with appliance-like reliability a transactional, fee-for-service dynamic even at the expense of charm or interest. Connoisseurship requires the opposite, preferring charisma over the quiet and everlasting servility of, say, a Honda. Land Rovers are positively lousy with charm, not to mention having the aristocratic, landed-gentry vibe going on. A Range Rover Supercharged with navy upholstery and ivory piping is about the most delicious British thing this side of Colston Bassett Stilton.

When it comes to the new LR2, the company's re-entry into the compact premium SUV segment after the unloved Freelander went cheerio, the trick is pouring the brand's bewitching otherness into a smaller, and ideally less troublesome, container.

The LR2, which went on sale in April, lands at a propitious time: Even though annual U.S. sales were up almost 10 percent in 2006, sales went soft at the end of the year, most likely because of fuel prices. The LR2 will give downsizers a place to go after they shed their Chelsea tractors.

Some nuts and bolts then: The LR2 is well equipped for its $34,700 base price, and maxed out at $40,350 competes with the BMW X3 and the Acura RDX in the premium compact SUV segment. All three are high-saddle, five-seat, five-door trucklets with roughly comparable cargo capacity, leg and headroom, though the LR2's lower sills and dash give it sightlines and airiness the others lack. Aesthetically, all three are highly expressive of their respective companies, which is to say brand enthusiasts will find plenty of reason to be loyal.

Land Rover's designers agonized over the LR2's exterior, trying to cue the vehicle's mix of on-road ability and off-road potential, an effort I think they got mostly right. The proportions are a little squarer and more geometric than the Freelander's, with the trademark clamshell hood, stepped roofline and canted hatch all drawn with a more upright pen. But befitting its greater appetite for asphalt, the LR2 has a broader and sportier stance on the road. The LR2's styling risks pastiche here are the composite rocker panels and front fender gills from the RR Sport, there are the trillion-cut compound headlamps of the Range Rover, and over there are the body-colored C-pillars from the LR3 but overall, it stitches together handsomely.

Much could be said of the LR2's interior, which features a slightly simplified version of the LR3's switchgear and console design. Leather and wood are standard, as is a major sunroof. Not as conspicuously technical as the Acura RDX interior nor as severe as the X3, the LR2 interior seems calibrated for outdoorsy types who might climb in apres-ski with snowy mitts. The big, rubbery knobs, switches and panel materials on the LR2 manage to feel rugged and premium at the same time.

Under the hood is a 3.2-liter, 230-horsepower inline six (shared with Ford corporate cousin Volvo) buttoned to a six-speed automatic with manual sequential and Sport mode. In my one-day, several-hundred-mile flog of the LR2, the six-speed's Sport mode was brilliant, holding gears around corners, climbing hills without gear-stuttering and then, when throttle demands slackened, dropping into a fuel-saving overdrive. Meanwhile, the aluminum, transversely mounted engine breathes through all manner of torque-broadening technology, including dual-profile camshafts (switching between a shallow lobe for low-demand driving and a steeper lobe for higher loads), variable-valve timing and a variable-volume intake plenum. The result: 80 percent of max torque is available from idle to the engine's 6,500 redline.

This torque spread, combined with the smarter-than-thou tranny, helps the LR2 notch quite respectable acceleration (0 to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds) and kick up its heels in the passing lane, despite a slightly ridiculous 4,255-pound curb weight. I'm horrified that a chassis-mounted winch kit isn't available. I sure would hate to try to push it out of the mud.

On the road, the LR2 is pretty nearly astonishing, answering the helm with direct, linear responses and surprisingly settled body motions, considering the suspension travel. For what is basically a front-drive vehicle, the LR2 enters corners well, gets planted and hangs on. The steering response is quick 2.6 turns lock to lock and the road feel fairly vivid. It's actually a hoot to drive. It's no particular trick to make one of these smaller SUVs corner properly.

As for the off-road capabilities of the LR2, I want more. After pounding around the sands at Pismo Beach, I have to acknowledge the LR2 has some off-road game. The company's Haldex multi-plate all-wheel drive system does indeed deliver torque to the rear axle as soon as the system senses slip at the front. I also have to give it to the All-Terrain Response system, which modulates the traction control, throttle response, stability and traction systems in a way that basically automates the responses of a skilled driver.

Ground clearance (8.3 inches) approach and departure angles, and wheel articulation are all adequate, if we're comparing against the Acura and BMW. But for a Land Rover? I don't know. I realize people don't jump stumps in these vehicles, but the point of the brand is that it can, not that it will. I'm remaining skeptical of the LR2's off-road cred. I'll have to shoe one of these things with some decent knobbies and see what it can really do. What? Knobby tires are not available?

That's OK, really. Land Rover loves me, I know. It just doesn't always show it.

Land Rover Freelander 2 specs and data

Hennie van den Berg ZA-LRO
After 3 years I've forgiven Land Rover for not having a low range in the Freelander, took the plunge and bought the "unpractical" Blenheim Silver (wherever that may be!) 3 door TD4 Freelander without even taking a test drive. After delivery it was love at first sight, and when I actually got to drive it I just knew we were meant for each other! Why should the yuppies have all the fun?
I know it's still too early for an objective review after 750 km, but WHAT a vehicle. The engine is a masterpiece, and certainly helped make the BMW 320d a deserved Car of the Year winner. The Freelander's removable roof and targa sunroofs are very cleverly designed to the point that even the T-bar in between the targa panels can be removed easily.
Interior space and comforts are perfect, the noise levels from the targa panels not excessive, and all the storage boxes and bins a real boon. The available torque and barely noticeable turbolag makes for a outstanding highway drive, and the suspension treats the potholes of Mpumalanga with utter disdain. Add to that
20 000 km service intervals, and just over 40 liter of diesel after my first 500km, as well as exceptional resale value, and we have a winner!
Lack of low range? So who would want to take this car offroad? That's why I've got a Defender mos. I'll use this one for all my construction site roads, pothole-jumping, and beach weekends. I did always want a beach buggy! Only problem is to convince my wife to use the Defender as Mom's taxi..... 

Update from Hennie 
Freelander 3D TD4
My baby has now clocked 10 000 km in 4 months, so my impressions could now be slightly more unbiased, but the honeymoon is still going strong. Overall average consumption is 11,5 km/l at speeds varying from 100 to 130 km/h. (Worst was 10,5 with trailer, and best was 13,5km/l!)
I am still enjoying the vehicle tremendously - very comfortable both on tar and gravel, and have removed the roof and sunroofs on two occasions. The resulting wind and noise is surprisingly little, and only becomes bothersome at 120km/h and faster. At cruising speeds of 100 to 110km/h, you don't even need a cap to keep your hair in place. The kids love it as much as dad.
At 5000 km I had the customary pathetic free service done by LR, with none of the gripes on my list being repaired, but that seems to be par for the course, reading other impressions on your website. The most serious defect is a slight dust leak at the sill of the rear door. Only good thing of the service was the wash.
The Bee-Em engine is amazing - virtually no smoke, very little diesel noise, and plenty power. Every drive is a pleasure. My wife is equally impressed with the car, and also loves driving it. Beats me how anyone can choose the more expensive RAV to this masterpiece!  

Update 2 from Hennie 
Freelander 3D TD4
20 May 2003

80 000 km report.

Its now been 2 years and 80 000km of sheer driving pleasure. The vehicle has had its 4 services, cost varying from R1200 to R2200, and only two significant defects surfaced which were repaired under guarantee the turbo was replaced at 60 000km, and the master cylinder of the clutch was replaced at 70 000km. Ritchie Land Rover from Standerton sent a technician from Standerton to my workplace at Sasol Secunda, and the replacement was done in 10 minutes.

My last 2 services were also done at Ritchie Land Rover, and I can recommend them. They did not take no 1 servicing agent spot in SA for the last 2 years for nothing.

Diesel consumption averages on 12,7km/l, and the Michelin tyres were replaced at

80 000km. The tyres gave a constant humming on tar, with passengers often recommending that the wheel bearings should be checked. Talking to other Freelander owners confirmed that this was common. I replaced them with Pirelli Scorpions, which appear to be less noisy so far.

Both me and my wife still love driving the vehicle, and the initial passion has progressed to mature love. Its still the best car Ive ever bought. We once towed a Gypsey Regal to Mtunzini and back as well. The power was more than adequate, but the short wheel base caused snaking when braking too hard. Consumption on the way down was 10km/l, and back up to the Highveld 7km/l.

With the luggage grid in the back weve often loaded it to the roof for camping weekends, so luggage space is ample for a family of four.

Items that could be critisised are:
The arm rest in the door panel is far too low to be practical for my average (1,78m) height;
The front seats are slightly too short for comfortable leg support;
Paintwork on the ridge next to the doors gets damaged by stones on gravel roads;
Thick front pillars hampers sideways visibility at T-junctions.

All in all I stick to my initial impressions, that it is an excellent combination of fun and practicality. Good economy, excellent resale value, a pleasure to drive, good looks and the fun of removing the roof for Sunday outings. What other car can offer that?

Miguel, e-mail, 12 April 2000

I am in the process of buying myself a freelander 3 door, 2l diesel. The reason for this choice are;

  1. Diesel is the way to go regarding petrol/diesel unstable market share hold in the opec oil to the world.beter km's range.
  2. Being a "bakkie" person the freelander serves me a tripurpose regarding my work, personal and entertaining range.
  3. The back roof can taken off to give you a more open air feel of sumer,yet securer than a soft top which is more noisier. I am sure that in good time of wear and tear the rubber lining will tell.?
  4. Being a bachelor with a German Shepard it gives me enough space. pity that it do's not come with a mini vacuum to suck up all the dog hair. cant get it all yeh?)
  5. Engine wise, after my 3 test, i was very impressed with her hold and gear pull. she's is a bit to eager to jump but i am sure with a bit of wear she will smooth out those jumps and yes so will my legs merge in with her pull. she is not a fancy lined rolls royce but speaks with simplicity, space and a very refined momentum of "ride me".

Riaan Moolman, 1999 3 door diesel Freelander

I got the car October '99, it's a 3-door diesel.  The car has 50,000 k's on
the clock.  I change the oil every 5000km's (Castrol Magnatec) and have the
car serviced every 10,000-15,000 depending on the amount of offroad work.
Some Land Rover agents suggest a 20,000 km service interval, I tend to be a
bit more conservative!  Main servicing agent is Waterford Landrover in
Witkoppen road, Fourways. I can certainly recommend them.

On-road performance is very similar to a sedan vehicle.  You can comfortably
cruise around at the speed limit, up to about 140-150 km/h.  I believe the
petrol versions can go higher than that, but if you want to do some
offroading I would definitely recommend the diesel - more torque, torque
available at low revs (which saves the clutch in the inevitable event of
having to slip the clutch to crawl really slow over obstacles - damn Land
Rover for omitting low range!)
Read a full story on Freelanders including more on Riaans's vehicle

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