From £23,475
All the reassuring Land Rover virtues, only a bit greener and without a driven rear axle

What is it?

Some may consider it a removal of the car’s fundamental purpose, but Land Rover sees the new two-wheel-drive Freelander as a necessary fact of life, and on British roads it seems they’re right.

The only motor available in the front-drive Freelander (dubbed eD4) is the less powerful version of the new, upgraded 2.2-litre turbodiesel, whose main strengths are its mid-range torque and eco credentials. A fuel economy figure of 47.2mpg and 158g/km of CO2 are impressive, given its output of 148bhp and 310lb ft.

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What’s it like?

If the engine’s improvements are evident, so is a lack of the refinement you’d expect in a premium SUV. It comes with stop-start as standard, but wind flutter and turbo whine are often noticeable in the background. A slightly soggy initial throttle response is also disappointing.

Elsewhere, the Freelander eD4 is reassuringly Land Rover-like. It has the characteristic soft springs that soak up intrusions easily without too much body roll. Even at speed, when you do get some slight bouncing and wallowing over undulating surfaces, it is still a comfortable way to travel.

If you choose to drive with a bit more vigour, the chassis responds well, and grip levels are decent. Overall, the Freelander eD4 offers all the stability and comfort you’d expect of a Land Rover. It’s a pleasant and accomplished premium soft-roader.

That doesn’t make it a class leader, though. BMW’s latest X3 offers a more entertaining drive with little compromise to its ability to sooth. The X3 also betters the Freelander’s emissions and economy, despite its permanent 4WD. However, Land Rover does trump the BMW on price. A mid-spec GS eD4 will set you back a reasonable £24,995 – more than £5000 less than BMW’s cheapest.

Should I buy one?

Whether four-wheel drive or front-wheel drive best suits your lifestyle is not a question we can answer, but there is clearly an argument for both. Even so, the £800 extra required for the full-fat 4WD Freelander seems a small sum, particularly given its claimed figures of 45.6mpg and 165g/km.

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If you do want front-wheel drive in a high-riding SUV (and 23 per cent of the soft-roader market are with you, according to Land Rover), the Freelander should be on your shortlist.

Land Rover Freelander 2 eD4 2WD HSE

Price: £32,995; Top speed: 112mph; 0-62mph: 10.4sec; Economy: 47.2mpg (combined); Co2: 158g/km; Kerb weight: 1710kg; Engine type: 4 cyls, 2179cc, turbodiesel; Power: 148bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 310lb ft at 1750rpm: Gearbox: 6-spd manual

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Comments
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Marky13 3 February 2011

Re: Land Rover Freelander 2.2 eD4 2WD

I know it wont happen at all often - BUT you are going to look a real dick being stuck in a muddy field / snowy lane in a 2 wheel drive Land Rover!

Pye 2 February 2011

Re: Land Rover Freelander 2.2 eD4 2WD

disco.stu wrote:
I would prefer Land Rover to spend its money improving the 4WD version to get the emissions below 160 g/km, rather than taking the easy option of removing the drive to the rear wheels and along with it, a significant part of its ability to rove the land.
I second this. I've said it before, a 2WD Landrover Freelander is a joke when a 4WD X3 has figures that are much better. In order to succeed Landrover must play the government at it's own game, the point about company cars and the 160g/km threshold is a very real one - I understand the financial penalties companies pay and no one is going to get a car that's over 160g/km unless they work for a very generous employer. I presume that they are just making the best of what they have - which I suppose is what Landrovers have always been about. But as we have a crazy tax system in this country does anyone know what the situation is in other markets? I can only think that as a general rule lower is better.

disco.stu 1 February 2011

Re: Land Rover Freelander 2.2 eD4 2WD

Devonboy wrote:

Surely the point in this country is that with a CO2 figure of 158g/km this is the only current Jaguar Land Rover product which can appear on the company car lists of thousands of people. The huge extra cost to an employer of any car with a CO2 figure above 160g/km excludes the 4WD versions for many people.

Why doesn't Autocar pay more attention to this somewhat arbitrary 160g/km limit? It severely limits the choice of interesting vehicles for many company car drivers.

I would prefer Land Rover to spend its money improving the 4WD version to get the emissions below 160 g/km, rather than taking the easy option of removing the drive to the rear wheels and along with it, a significant part of its ability to rove the land.

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