Set against today’s cutely styled SUVs, the Land Rover Freelander 2 of 2006-15 looks tough and ready for a dose of hard work, be that towing a horsebox, wading through a river or rounding up sheep.
In fact, thanks to its on-demand, four-wheel-drive system and other traction trickery plus a choice of lusty diesel engines, it can do all of these things and more. One specialist regards the model as a kind of mini Range Rover: it’s that comfortable and capable.
It arrived with a choice of two engines: a thirsty but sweetly powerful 230bhp 3.2 auto petrol badged the i6 and destined to be a poor seller; and a 158bhp 2.0-litre diesel manual called the TD4, which was the mainstay of the range. An automatic version arrived soon after.
In normal conditions, most of the power goes to the front wheels, but the moment the four-wheel-drive system sniffs trouble, the Haldex central coupling directs more of it to the rears. In addition, from 2009, all but the base S versions got Land Rover’s Terrain Response system. This adjusts torque, drive and traction control systems as determined by a range of driving modes.
If you consider four-wheel drive unnecessary, there’s always the two-wheel-drive eD4, launched in 2010 to coincide with the Freelander 2’s first facelift. Very few were sold but it’s wise to check you’re not buying one in error. For the record, a well-kept, 2013/62-reg 2.2 eD4 with 80,000 miles costs around £7490. But back to the ‘proper’ versions.
In 2009, the i6 petrol (we found a 2007/07-reg 3.2 i6 auto with 90,000 miles and full service history for £7495) was sensibly dropped and the TD4e with stop/start, promising lower emissions, was introduced. A year later, the facelift came knocking (new grille, lights and bumpers). The 158bhp 2.0 TD4 lost 10bhp but gained more torque and the equally powerful 2.0 eD4 arrived. Also new was a more powerful 2.0-litre diesel badged the SD4. It produced 187bhp but the same torque as the other two motors and was auto only. It was a solid seller but outsold two to one by the TD4.
Around this time, the Freelander began to feel the heat from more modern, premium rivals so Land Rover sprang a further facelift (revised styling, new centre console, more features, a more space-efficient electronic parking brake and Passive Start) on an unsuspecting public in 2012. The unloved eD4 was dropped, leaving the TD4 and SD4 to fight on.