Six years since it went out of production, the Land Rover Freelander has become a popular used buy, with prices for the second-gen version starting from just £2500.
Admittedly, you’ll be getting a very well used example for that, potentially with a patchy service history and a few knocks and scrapes.
We would suggest stretching your budget to look at a post-2010 facelift car (there was another nip and tuck in 2012 to the interior and tail-lights), because that introduced the more powerful (187bhp) SD4 diesel engine.
We found one for £10,000, and that sort of money also allows you to pick up a handsomely equipped XS, with leather seats that are electrically adjustable and heated in the front, an Alpine hi-fi and parking sensors.
The SD4 comes exclusively with a smooth six-speed automatic gearbox that suits the Freelander to a T. This isn’t a car that enjoys being hustled, rather revelling at a measured canter.
It’s also a competent cross-county tool; every version aside from the eD4 has four-wheel drive. A simplified version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response system cleverly controls the brakes, traction control and throttle to get you out of the mud. It may not have quite the off-road chops of the Range Rover, but it is far from your regular soft-roader.
The Freelander certainly isn’t trouble-free and can suffer badly if scheduled fluid changes are missed. It’s understandable that some are, especially the 10-year service that costs more than £1000 at the dealer.
But find a Freelander that’s been cherished and you’ll enjoy a cosseting and capable SUV with lasting kerbside appeal.