Tag Archive | "Jaguar Land Rover"

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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