What is it?
The 2013 Freelander, a model sporting the mildest of mild facelifts. We’re talking cosmetics, really, so new front and rear lights, a smartened and tidied up cabin, that sort of thing.
More practically than all of that, though, is the electric parking brake and the fact that you now don’t need to slot the key into a, er, slot to start the engine. Instead you just press the button with the key in the car.
It’s definitely moving upmarket, the Freelander. It now comes with a reversing camera which will show you the position of the tow hitch so you don’t go and stove in someone’s numberplate, and you can get a pre-heat system that will warm the engine before you start. Our HSE-spec test car came with piano black interior trim and coupled with black leather and the all-black dash it lends the whole thing a rather serious, grown-up look.
What is it like?
Mild as it is, the makeover is effective enough. The new cabin feels less functional and less cluttered than the current car’s, with its Range Rover influences in the switchgear and a central analogue clock. The mass of switches that dominated the centre console has gone and so has the chunky Terrain Response dial, replaced by a switch to scroll through the off-road settings. The instruments have a distinctly Range Rover look about them.
There’s a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine for North America but we won’t get it in the UK. We get a choice of two diesels: the 148bhp TD4 and the 187bhp SD4. It’s still a bit noisy from cold – not clattery, so much, but more bassy and rumbling – but the SD4 has plenty of shove and grunt to propel the Freelander’s 1805kg with ease, and it never sounds strained.
It rides well, too, even on the optional 19-inch wheels, over scratchy, rough urban roads, and absorbs all sorts of horrors into the suspension. Less appealing is the way the nose tends to pitch up and down under acceleration and deceleration, and it does feel a little unwieldy in tight traffic, a characteristic enhanced by the slightly too remote steering.
Should I buy one?
Well, the Freelander is one of the best in its class. It’s still competent, still comfortable and still good looking. Just don’t get too carried away with spec. Prices start at £23,700, which is £1000 more than the current car, but for the top-spec HSE Lux trim tested here it’s hugely expensive at £39,805. You can get the most expensive five-door Evoque for that and have £1500 change left over.
Land Rover Freelander SD4 HSE Lux
Price: £39,805 0-60mph: 8.7sec Top speed: 118mph Economy: 40.4mpg CO2: 185g/km Kerb weight: 1805kg Engine: 4 cyls, 2179cc, turbodiesel Power: 187bhp at 3500rpm Torque: 310lb ft at 1750rpm Gearbox: 6-spd automatic