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

Our Verdict

Land Rover Freelander

The Land Rover Freelander is classy and comfortable, but potentially pricey

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.

Watch our 90 sec video review

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.

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

Join the debate

Comments
19

27 January 2011

[quote Autocar]Some may consider it a removal of the car’s fundamental purpose[/quote]

Yep.

27 January 2011

What's the point of a 2WD Freelander? why not buy a Mondeo Estate and spend the difference on whatever

31 January 2011

Two problems, the newly upgraded 2.2 engine already lags behind its competitors, and the price and performance difference between 2WD or 4WD are not great enough to warrant the choice, metallic paint is £550, leather seats are £1840.

Seems like a half hearted attempt to to appease the eco warriors to me.

31 January 2011

[quote Citytiger]Two problems, the newly upgraded 2.2 engine already lags behind its competitors, and the price and performance difference between 2WD or 4WD are not great enough to warrant the choice, metallic paint is £550, leather seats are £1840.

Seems like a half hearted attempt to to appease the eco warriors to me.[/quote] indeed. I see this car as a bit like buying a bikini and you don't get the top half. You're left with 2 significant problems, and pay a hefty price!

31 January 2011

And at 32K a throw - very much chucking away the fundamentals!

31 January 2011

"bit like buying a bikini and you don't get the top half. You're left with 2 significant problems, and pay a hefty price!"

Yea but all men are stupid and we just adore those 2 signifcant problems!!!

31 January 2011

Real world mpg will make any Eco gains irrelevant ...... Go for the full fat 4x4 version girlies

31 January 2011

Over £32K for a two wheel drive Land Rover. Still, it has the right badge doesn't it darlings

31 January 2011

It's the £ 5k less than the X3 that's the real seller here. Although I'd still opt for the used X3.

Which is a shame really because I grew up loving Land Rovers. You could go through both ranges and do comparisons if you wanted. Even ask if the Freelander should be compared to the X1.

31 January 2011

[quote ianp55]What's the point of a 2WD Freelander?[/quote]

for company car users, economy geeks and those on a tight budget

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