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
As before, Land Rover puts much emphasis on
the Freelander 2’s 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 vehicle’s 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
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
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
That's OK, really. Land Rover loves me, I
know. It just doesn't always show it.
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
now been 2 years and 80 000km of sheer driving pleasure. The vehicle has
had it’s 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.
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.
consumption averages on 12,7km/l, and the Michelin tyres were replaced at
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.
me and my wife still love driving the vehicle, and the initial passion has
progressed to mature love. It’s still the best car I’ve 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
the luggage grid in the back we’ve often loaded it to the roof for
camping weekends, so luggage space is ample for a family of four.
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
Thick front pillars hampers sideways visibility at T-junctions.
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?
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;
- Diesel is the way to go regarding
petrol/diesel unstable market share hold in the opec oil to the world.beter km's range.
- Being a "bakkie" person the freelander
serves me a tripurpose regarding my work, personal and entertaining range.
- 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.?
- 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?)
- 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
Riaan Moolman, 1999 3 door diesel Freelander
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
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
cruise around at the speed limit, up to about 140-150 km/h. I believe
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!)
full story on Freelanders including more on Riaans's vehicle