Tag Archive | "Freelander"

Goodbye Freelander, Hello Disco Sport


On the very day the Land Rover Freelander 2 featured here was delivered for review by Motor Blogger, the very first Discovery Sport – the replacement for the venerable compact all-rounder – rolled off the production line. This doesn’t mean that reviewing the out-going car is a waste of time though because it continues to have much to recommend it as a great used car buy.6 300x192 Goodbye Freelander, Hello Disco Sport

I wondered if the Evoque may have taken some of the sales share away from the older car – given that they share engines and some mechanicals – but this isn’t the case, according to Land Rover. Since the original Freelander first appeared in 1997, the company have sold almost a million worldwide as at the end of 2013.

Indeed, 13859 of them were purchased by UK customers during 2013 so clearly the demand for this practical and versatile car remains.

2 300x205 Goodbye Freelander, Hello Disco SportAs the Freelander exits through the gift shop over the next few months the range has been pared down accordingly. Our vehicle was in fully loaded Metropolis trim with Indus Silver paint, Windsor Leather Ebony Seats, Ebony interior with Grand Black Veneer all set off by some fetching 19” Alloy Diamond Turned wheels. Our car came with the optional full-sized spare wheel – a must have for peace of mind I think. At around £35,000, this is not a cheap car but it is a very complete and able one. Land Rover reckon 40mpg should be possible on the combined cycle and that seems reasonable after a week of mixed use.

The first thing you notice is how tall you sit in the saddle affording the driver with a clear all-round view. Certainly, there’s a degree of body roll and I felt the steering was over-light, but the car always feels safe and predictable, plus there’s plenty of grip from the permanent four-wheel drive. Power is derived from the torquey 188bhp 2.2L SD4 turbo diesel via an excellent auto gearbox that always seems to select the right gear. I didn’t feel the need to switch to the paddles.

The Freelander is about cruising comfort. It’s good to drive on road. The suspension easily smooths out our ruined roads, There’s a pared-down version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response system on board, which adjusts the traction control according to the conditions meaning that this car can handle all but the most difficult gnarly stuff with ease, which is why it scores well against the more road-oriented vehicles from other car makers.3 300x195 Goodbye Freelander, Hello Disco Sport

Inside, the Freelander has benefited from Land Rover’s overall upmarket trend. The dashboard is a high-quality affair, with soft-touch materials and metal trim. As mentioned there’s no Terrain Response dial like you’ll find in a Discovery; instead you get a pair of buttons which scroll through the various transmission settings, which is fine.

The interior benefits from deep door pockets, a decent-sized glove compartment and plenty of storage cubbies, so there’s no shortage of space. The boot is massive offering 755 litres of space, which expands to a cavernous 1,670 litres when the standard-fit split-fold seats are folded down flat. The lack of a seven-seat option does limit the Freelander 2′s flexibility and overall people-carrying ability compared to some but the brilliant existing Discovery fulfils that brief anyway.

Although in some ways it is starting to show its age I still think the Freelander laughs in the face of more trendy opposition secure in the knowledge that is part of a legendary heritage. Still a great choice.Land Rover Discovery Sport 2015 0051 300x184 Goodbye Freelander, Hello Disco Sport

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Cars On Television


Great news! After a year’s break and no Christmas special, the premier car show – in the world – is returning to our small screens next Sunday for seven weeks. That’s right; TG is back and as usual the three refugees from Last Of the Summer Wine will again grace our TV’s with their usual larky high jinks and a choice selection of (mostly) desirable cars.

But is that enough? Are car and driving enthusiasts catered for on the box? The problem is that cars are still viewed by the chattering classes as evil incarnate. Somehow or other, the automobile has taken the brunt of the climate change guilt without a fair hearing. Certainly the car must take its share of blame but if any industry has pulled out all the stops to work towards a cleaner future more than car manufacturing, it would come as a big surprise.

There’s Fifth Gear of course but these days it seems hastily cobbled together, trying to pack an hour’s show into half that time. It is rushed, no matter how enthusiastic the presenters are. Also, it has been shunted off to the Discovery Channel robbing terrestrial viewers of even that delight.

Motor sport fans fare just as badly. The BBC believe that Formula One is the only game in town and all the UK channels, however received or broadcast, completely ignore motor rallies; even the World Championship. Motors TV tries hard and ITV4 covers the British Touring Car Championship very well, but that’s it.

Thanks in the main to JC, Top Gear has moved on from the stiff and starchy early days (Noel Edmonds! Angela Rippon!) to a more fluid format but has the emphasis shifted too far towards fun rather than car content? Every driving nut in the country would no doubt like to try a Pagani Huayra but very few of them would buy one even if they had the very many Euros required.

However, many would be interested in hearing about the new Fiesta ST or the latest Freelander. There’s a wealth of autos priced under £30k that would satisfy everyone’s needs whatever their fancy. The Crossover / SUV market is awash with desirable, well-priced vehicles, for example.

Nissan’s popular Juke (a third of a million of them built so far) has been breathed upon by Nissan Motorsport resulting in the Nismo, a 197bhp pocket rocket (see image) that will satisfy most drivers for a modest twenty thousand. Why, on British third world roads, would we need more?

We probably don’t want TG to change but we almost certainly would like a magazine programme that covers the sorts of cars we mostly buy. It doesn’t have to be stuffy provided the presenters are personable people who, crucially, actually know about cars and the needs of modern motorists. What do you think?

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New Freelander – The Best Yet


At the time of writing it is early in the morning and very cold. It is so cold that there’s a brass monkey at the door trying to borrow some welding equipment. The problem with the UK is that the weather is so variable it is hard to know what sort of car to buy. For example, many drivers would love a sports car for that wind in your hair / open skies thrill; but is it worth it for three days a year? Probably not, in which case – on the basis that the weather is more likely to be against us – why not buy a Freelander instead?

As luck would have it there’s a new version. That’s it in the image. Clearly in keeping with the family look, it is a marked improvement on the previous model which, although good, is beginning to look a bit dated and hasn‘t been as well regarded or as capable as its bigger siblings off road. Land Rover are very confident about the abilities of this new car however. Recently tested in conditions much worse than we can expect in this country it came up trumps in all departments.

For starters, it looks good with styling cues found on the Range Rover and Evoque. The Freelander also gains the Evoque software for the terrain response and hill descent functions. Throttle response is governed by a choice of four surface settings – grass, gravel and snow are lumped together and there is also a choice of asphalt, mud and sand. This just about covers all eventualities. There is no diff-lock or low range ‘box but this is the baby of the family after all and with prices starting at around a very reasonable £26000 (2WD will be a bit cheaper), it’s to be expected that some technology found on the other cars will be missing. Most users won’t miss them.

Power now comes from a 2.2L diesel engine configured at 148bhp in the TD4 version and a more beefy 188bhp in the SD4 model. There are no petrol engines on offer but in this type of vehicle most buyers would undoubtedly choose the oil-burner in any case. As we’ve come to expect in these frugal days there will also be an economy version – the eD4 – which offers a thrifty 47mpg. This is more likely to be suited to customers who rarely venture into the rough. Real mud-pluggers need the sort of torque that only a diesel can really deliver.

As you’d expect the interior has also been refurbished to a high standard, pinching the Evoque’s colour touch screen in the process. This features all the usual infotainment gadgetry plus the very useful rear view reversing camera – a bonus in a big car. For users of caravans or trailers there‘s even a ‘hitch-assist’ gizmo which superimposes a graphic to show the exact position of the tow-ball.

In a market segment that includes the Volvo XC60 and similar offerings from Audi and BMW, the Freelander will have to show that it is the model to buy. It certainly competes on price and early road tests are saying that Land Rover are onto another winner.

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