Car Reviews: Land Rover Freelander 5 door Td4 SE - The AA | Catalog-cars

Car Reviews: Land Rover Freelander 5 door Td4 SE – The AA

21 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Car Reviews: Land Rover Freelander 5 door Td4 SE – The AA

Car safety

Likes

Redesigned nose looks very chic New headlamps and rear lamps improve visibility Dash-mounted cupholders within easy reach

Gripes

V6 engine requires frequent filling of the fuel tank No steering wheel reach adjustment No driving seat height adjustment Reputation for mechanical niggles persists

Even though it faces stiff competition from a multitude of rivals such as the Toyota RAV4, Nissan X-TRAIL and Honda CR-V, the Land Rover Freelander is consistently near the top of the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) sales charts.

Just when it was starting to look a little dated, a highly effective facelift repositioned the Freelander as a baby brother to the Range Rover, injecting a valuable dose of ‘premium’ appeal in the process.

Exterior styling tweaks such as distinctive pocket headlamps, repositioned rear lights and a chunky but cleverly integrated body-coloured bumper may be the most obvious features of the latest Freelander, but the most significant changes are inside, where previously questionable build quality and choice of materials have been addressed.

Use of cheap plastics has been kept to a minimum, and closer attention to detail complements the improved quality of most surfaces. The result is a cabin that feels classy, even if the actual layout and lack of adjustability leaves something to be desired. But if the Freelander is to remain competitive, it will need to improve its reputation for developing minor mechanical and electrical problems, which rarely dog its Far Eastern rivals.

Most glitches seem to have been ironed out, but when a Freelander does go wrong, it tends to be expensive to fix.

The vast majority of Freelanders never venture off Tarmac, despite an advertising campaign that stresses the vehicle’s adventure credentials. In recognition of this fact, a Sport variant features lowered, stiffened suspension and car-like handling characteristics that many hot hatches would be proud of.

A choice of three-door and five-door body styles, plus an optional ‘softback’ version (three-door only) with a removable canvas rear section means buyers can choose a Freelander to match their specific tastes. In all cases, the Land Rover badge on the grille provides instant credibility and ensures that owners who do venture off-road will be pleasantly surprised by the Freelander’s considerable potential, aided by full-time all-wheel drive and traction control systems such as Hill Descent Control (HDC) and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD).

Our verdict on the Land Rover Freelander 5 door Td4 SE

A loyal customer base proves how likeable the Freelander has always been. The most recent models are undoubtedly the best, equally at home in town and country.

Costs

List prices for the Freelander tend to be higher than most rivals, but as compensation, resale values are also high thanks to eternally strong demand. Running costs are middling by SUV standards – unless you opt for the thirsty V6 – and if reliability questions have been conquered, a Freelander is a sound investment.

Space and practicality

Quite how practical the Freelander is depends entirely upon the uses it is put to. Few could argue against it being relatively impractical as a car to drop the kids at school in the morning rush hour, yet a large proportion of Freelanders are used for just that purpose. As a daily car for country-dwellers or transport for outdoor enthusiasts it makes more sense, but finds less use.

Controls and display

Comfort

Car security

Car safety

Most 4x4s feel inherently safe – though not always with good reason. The Freelander has front driver and passenger airbags as standard, but that’s about it for safety features, apart from the inherent strength of the design and the electronic traction aids to help avoid an accident in the first place. Freelanders with an automatic gearbox change their change-up patterns on steep hills to give optimum grip.

Driver appeal

The Sport variant is undoubtedly the default choice for the enthusiastic on-road driver, exhibiting considerably less body roll and sharper responses than the sometimes imprecise standard models. Freelanders are engineered for optimum performance at low and medium speeds in challenging conditions, not high-speed racing. Book a day at an off-road course to release the true driving potential.

Family car appeal

First car appeal

Quality and image

Other SUVs may offer more kit, but none can match the Freelander’s heritage, supplied courtesy of Land Rover. Simply put, people like to be seen driving Freelanders, as ownership identifies them as active, modern ‘doers’ – even if they never venture further than the local shopping mall. In truth, earlier Freelanders never quite matched up to their billing, but today’s model just about manages it.

Accessibility

Seats are located at a pleasant height so that occupants can slip into them without having to either stoop down or climb up. Ergonomic improvements include a more sensible location for electric window switches, and clearer instruments. Some of the switches and stalks are surprisingly fiddly.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

A single-slot, 6-speaker CD player is standard. A six CD autochanger is used on top-range derivatives with a premium nine-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system. Satellite navigation is also available.

Upgrades to the cabin make the Freelander appear more refined

Colours and trim

Thirteen exterior colours are avilable including micatallic, metallic and solid finishes. Buyers can go wild if they like, but traditional Land Rover deep greens, sandy hues and basic blacks will always look best. Cloth, alcantara and perforated leather upholsteries all seem of high quality, while Sport models get a new technical fabric called Black Mogul with a special ‘grippy’ surface.

Parking

Spare wheel

Full-sized, held in position on the side-opening tailgate, making it heavy and an obvious target for thieves. Don’t forget to lock those wheel nuts.

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