7.4.2010Land Rover Freelander II TD4e review
Most credible compact SUV whether you are going for style or genuinely need its off-road capabilities, in which case be careful on choice of tyres.
At least as comfortable as a car to drive/ride in and doesn't feel a lumbering beast when a road starts to twist. Latest technical developments make it kinder to the environment than rivals. Getting expensive.
Review by Russell Bray for WhatGreenCar.com
Far livelier than the bald figures of 158bhp (at 4,000rpm) and 0-60mph in 10.9 seconds would suggest. There's no effort keeping up with traffic and with 295 lbs ft of torque from 2,000rpm the Freelander II feels quite sprightly, especially mid-range. Motorway cruising is remarkably smooth and using cruise control the Freelander averaged 37.6mpg on one schlep. Test track top speed was a more than adequate 112 mph. The car will 'drift' up to 90 mph with ease if you aren't concentrating.
The commanding driving position, good all-round visibility and squared off shape means manoeuvring isn't nerve wracking, even in town. Despite the absence of low ratio gears or differential locks, like the big brother Discovery, the Freelander coped well with snowy conditions but I got it stuck on a muddy bank. And yes, it was in the mud and ruts setting. A chunkier tread pattern would have helped and automatic transmission (£1,410) would have been better for the gentle throttle needed.
Instantly recognisable as one of Solihull's brew with projector headlights, wide grille and deeply chamfered front and rear leading edges for steep arrivals and departures off-road. Pleasingly streamlined for a 4x4 as evidenced by impressive constant speed and cruising fuel figures. Absence of standard roof rails for canoes etc a surprise. It's among options along with bike carrier, tow bar etc. Length 4005mm. Width 2005mm.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
A bit curate's egg to be frank. Excellent front seats, with folding armrests, but some rivals have more space in the back. Radio controls on steering wheel essential as buttons are located west of your left knee and a stretch away.
Hard, cheap looking plastic on top of dashboard and round window switches jar next to plusher materials and good to touch switchgear. Clutch isn't heavy and six-speed change satisfying mechanical but not obstructive.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Official fuel economy: Urban 33.2mpg, extra-urban 49.6mpg, combined 42.2mpg. This translates to a fuel cost of around 13.5p per mile. Carbon dioxide emissions of 179g/km put the Freelander II into band I. Annual road tax is £200. Insurance group 13. Warranty covers three years/ unlimited miles.
While we're not going to recommend that you buy a larger heavier car if you don't need one (we are WhatGreenCar after all!), the new model is the most fuel efficient Land Rover ever and world's first SUV with intelligent stop-start system which reduces consumption by 4.5mpg and cuts CO2 by 8% on the standard EU4 drive cycle. Low rolling resistance tyres and change-up gear indicator encourage economical driving style.
It is also the first Land Rover to achieve full End of Life Vehicle Certification. Particulate filter traps exhaust particles. Land Rover offsets 100% of its manufacturing assembly CO2 emissions and enables customers to offset their driving emissions for the first 45,000 miles in the case of a new vehicle. WhatGreenCar Rating of 50.
HSE trim delivers leather seats, climate control, RDS radio, CD player, alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, and the usual electric mirrors, windows, power steering. Standard colour screen satellite navigation worked fine and warned of London congestion zone. Double sunroof made interior light but blind tended to snag. Options on test car: Bi-Xenon headlights £995, full size spare wheel £120, carpet mats £75. You would also need something to protect the boot area if used for dirty loads.
Model tested: Land Rover Freelander II HSE TD4e
Body-style: Five door compact sports utility vehicle
Engine/CO2: 158bhp 2.2 litre turbo-diesel/179gCO2/km
Trim grades: S, GS, XS, HSE
On-road price: From £21,750 for 2.2 TD4 S (model tested £34,490)
Warranty: Three years/unlimited miles
In the showroom: Available now
Review rating: 4.0 STARS