So, as promised, a small update now that my old man has a few miles under the wheels…
From my old man's point of view there's not much to report and the update reads: He absolutely loves his Freelander2 and nothing's gone wrong with it. The end!
But, of course, that would be mean of me.
The only issue he's had was a loose wheel arch lining when he got it home. They told him to bring it back in at his convenience (which was right away) and they changed both rear wheel arch linings while he waited. They also called him the following day to make sure he was satisfied with the service and that everything in general was O.K. with the car. So, as far as he's concerned, that's 10 out of 10 for customer service. Other than that it's been faultless. And his general opinion of the car is that he likes it better than anything else he's had (last car was a Mondeo).
I drove the car for most of the long bank holiday weekend while the olds stayed over. Have to say that, despite not being my cup of tea, it really is a pretty nice car.
Not the fastest thing I've ever driven, but every bit as fast as you need a car of this nature to be. And the engine certainly doesn't sound as offensive as many diesels (my ears do not like the sound of diesels!) and the amount of noise that reaches inside the cabin seems well judged. The auto gearbox, while not seamless, is more than acceptable and is the equal of some I've driven in cars costing 4 times as much. Brakes: powerful and, importantly, progressive. If there's anything on a car that's going to take me a while to get used to it's usually the brakes but I was comfy with these within a few junctions.
I'm probably not the best person to comment on the handling of a tall 4X4. Most of you know the kind of kit I've been driving over the last few years so this is always going to feel like a bit of a boat to me. Having said that, for a tall 4X4 you can chuck it about (albeit in a lumbering fashion) and it does cope well with changes in surface direction or bumps mid bend, something that was keenly felt given my recent experience in a Passat. The ride is quite impressive. While not limo smooth it does handle the bumps in a way that filters out the pain but still lets you know what's happening under the car. For me personally an excellent compromise - I've never liked cars that smooth everything out. And I did get to give it a bit of a workout in the ride department as I had to make six journeys along a mile and a half of very rutted track leading to a farm. Basically you could just plough on with no regard for all but the deepest of pot holes (and there were some very deep ones!). If you'd have tried the same trick in my Fiesta it would have taken your fillings out.
Steering is well weighted and has a nice feel thought there isn't a ton of feedback. Mind you, that's not something I'd be looking for in a car like this.
Inside, while comfortable enough, there is too much plastic for my taste, though I guess that's pretty standard fare for something in this price bracket these days. If you want 'plush' you should probably be looking further up the range. And although I only drove it locally, longest journey 15 miles, I can well imagine the Freelander being very comfortable on a long motorway slog. And while it's not over burdened with toys, what it has seem to be of the useful variety such as auto lights, auto wipers, parking sensors etc. I suspect some might want more toys but for me less is more. One thing I noticed is that the stereo didn't sound that good, although I didn't have a fiddle with the settings and I wouldn't mind betting that I could have gotten a better sound out of it by fettling the settings.
And finally, just for completeness, as reported some months back its 4x4ness is really rather impressive. I drove the car during that brief dump of snow we had earlier in the year and had to take it up a very steep incline into a car park. The incline had six inches of snow on it and had to be entered at right angles so there was no opportunity to carry momentum up the slope. Two cars ahead of us failed miserably despite several attempts. The Freelander glided up the incline as if it was dry tarmac. And I doubt my old man is running anything particularly special in the tyre department.
So, over all, while I still wouldn't buy one myself, I'd certainly recommend one to others.
p.s. I dug up the old thread on this subject but it seems that half the posts are missing and the ones that are there are all over the place, so I thought it would be better to start afresh.