It pulls well and is a pretty reasonable performer, even with this lower-powered of the two units.
Land Rover’s Freelander 2 has plenty of fans. It is the king of the so-called ‘soft-roaders’, successor to the original Freelander which first appeared in 1997. That car was immediately popular as the smallest, most affordable modern Land Rover, and it lasted until 2006 when the second generation model made its debut. For the 2013 model year, the Freelander 2 has undergone a face-lift to smarten its exterior and re-vamp the cabin.
On the outside, there are new LED headlamps and some minor styling tweaks to freshen what is essentially a strong, purposeful design that has aged pretty well over the six-plus years of the second generation Freelander. Inside, the dashboard has been substantially re-designed to improve its looks and practicality, and more equipment has been added to the car’s standard kit-list. The car remains a respected stalwart even though the spotlight has moved to its newer brother in the Land Rover line-up, the glitzier but similarly sized Range Rover Evoque.
The Freelander 2 underwent an engine update in 2011, and comes with one of two well-proven diesels, both 2.2 litre units, with either 148 or 188 bhp power outputs. There is also a choice between two- or four-wheel-drive. With the 148 bhp engine you can opt for either the eD4 two-wheel-drive model with a manual gearbox, or the TD4 with four-wheel-drive and manual or auto transmission (the latter a £1,505 option). The more powerful engine comes exclusively with four-wheel-drive and standard six-speed automatic transmission in the SD4 version.
Prices for the range start from £23,700. This is for an eD4 with a 2.2 litre 148 bhp engine, manual transmission and two-wheel-drive. It is the greenest model in the range with average fuel economy of 47 mpg and a CO2 figure of 158 g/km. The range-topper is the SD4 HSE Lux with the 2.2 litre 188 bhp engine, auto box and 4x4.
The engine is a 2.2 litre, six-cylinder, 24-valve unit. It pulls well and is a pretty reasonable performer, even with this lower-powered of the two units. It’s quite a heavy car to propel around, weighing in at over two tonnes, even in the version tested here without four-wheel-drive. So the 148 bhp unit under the high clam-shell bonnet has a job to do, but you don’t notice any shortage of power.
With a top speed potential well beyond the legal limit, there is plenty in hand for quiet and relaxed motorway cruising. The 0-62 acceleration time of just under 12 seconds is reasonable for a tall chunky car. It is brisk enough to feel acceptably lively in the traffic and there is ample torque that peaks at 1,750 rpm, so you have plenty on tap from quite early in the rev range.
The car performs reassuring well on-road, and even this 2x4 can cope with surprisingly tricky conditions off-road. Its high ground clearance and torquey diesel engine will trundle it successfully through some quite awkward terrain. Obviously the 4x4 version is even more capable and comes with a standard-kit variable four-wheel-drive system, Terrain Response control, which lets you set the car up for tricky conditions ahead.