What is it?
The new Land Rover Freelander with the newly available combination of the Td4 engine and six-speed auto ’box.
A massive 94 per cent of Freelanders are expected to be diesel-powered and 40 per cent will be hooked up to a self-shifter.
What's it like?
On the road, the effortlessness of the auto hints at baby Range Rover. The car is just quick enough and, ironically, the quiet of the cabin emphasises the noise of the tyres.
The rock-roll that afflicted early cars seems to have been tuned out and the overly keen steering has also been reined back to good effect.
For the majority of drivers, this six-speed Aisin Warner unit should be the first choice for both serious off-roading and urban travel. Combined with the excellent Terrain Response system, the auto alters its shift points to suit off-road work.
The upshot is that the self-shifter seamlessly combines with the all-terrain trickery (and a very low first gear) to make short work of harsh terrain. A day-and-a-half of Icelandic river crossings and challenging tracks was rendered a remarkably easy task.
The quality of the interior and switchgear (early glitches spotted in our road test last November have obviously been sorted) are a convincing sign that LR’s premium ambitions are not too overstretched.
Should I buy one?
This could well be the pick of the range. In truth, the new Freelander is in such a different league from the original that it is almost misleading to have used the same name.