Re­cov­ery ve­hi­cle

The se­cond it­er­a­tion of the Free­lander put back some of the off-road cred

Herald Sun - Cars Guide - - USED CAR | LAND ROVER FREELANDER 2 - with Gra­ham Smith

NEW

The Land Rover badge cre­ates the ex­pec­ta­tion of a ve­hi­cle that can go any­where but the first Free­lander failed to mea­sure up. Panned for lack­ing off-road abil­ity, it was un­der­pow­ered and gen­er­ally un­der­whelm­ing.

Land Rover’s re­cov­ery ve­hi­cle was the Free­lander 2, equally com­pact but com­pletely new from the ground up — pretty much noth­ing car­ried over from the ear­lier model.

It looked neat and tidy with a fa­mil­iar­ity of shape and line that re­called its larger sib­ling, the much loved Range Rover.

Its in­creased di­men­sions all­round mostly meant a roomier cabin that was more com­fort­able and had more legroom. There was also a lit­tle more boot space.

The five-seat wagon came in SE and HSE ver­sions and there was an XS ver­sion from 2011.

The orig­i­nal six-cylin­der engine was later re­placed by a 2.0-litre turbo and a 2.2-litre turbo diesel in two lev­els of tune

With 171kW on tap, the Volvo-built petrol six was a strong per­former, while re­turn­ing a rea­son­able 11.2L/100km. Most buy­ers went for the diesel, with its ap­peal­ing blend of torque and thrift.

At the be­gin­ning, the Free­lander 2 used only a sixspeed au­to­matic with sports shift. A six-speed man­ual was added in 2011.

The Free­lander 2’s all-wheel drive sent power to the front wheels un­der most cir­cum­stances. De­tect­ing a loss of drive, it au­to­mat­i­cally sent the urge rear­ward.

On the road the Free­lander 2 was re­fined and com­fort­able, han­dled dirt roads with aplomb and, with the sup­port of its elec­tronic aids, it was quite at home off-road pro­vid­ing the go­ing wasn’t too chal­leng­ing.

An up­date in 2011 ex­panded the range, adding the SD4 and the punchier diesel.

In a sub­se­quent up­date in 2013 the six-cylin­der petrol engine was dropped and Land Rover added the 2.0-litre turbo four, which de­liv­ered bet­ter per­for­mance and im­proved fuel econ­omy.

NOW

The own­ers of the Free­lander 2 we sur­veyed were over­whelm­ingly sup­port­ive of their cars. Vir­tu­ally none re­ported any prob­lems in their time of own­er­ship and most would be happy to rec­om­mend one to friends.

A cou­ple of them would have liked a big­ger boot, though this was more a com­ment than a crit­i­cism. Most praised its com­fort and re­fine­ment and were happy with the econ­omy.

From a re­li­a­bil­ity point of view that means the Free­lander 2 can be bought with some con­fi­dence you‘ll avoid a lemon.

Check for the signs of offroad use. It may be a Land Rover and have a level of offroad abil­ity but the Free­lander 2 wasn’t de­signed as a roughtough off-roader. Some own­ers might have tested the lim­its of its ca­pa­bil­i­ties and taken it where it wasn’t meant to go, so look for dam­age un­derneath.

Also check for a ser­vice record to be con­fi­dent the car you’ve cho­sen has been well looked after.

There was a re­call for the sun­roof, which could be­come de­tached if the guide rails failed.

An­other in 2008 re­lated to a po­ten­tial short cir­cuit in the elec­tric booster heater that could cause a fire. In 2013 there was a re­call for a po­ten­tial fuel leak with diesel mod­els that could cause a fire. Check the re­me­dial work has been done.

OWN­ERS SAY

John L I’ve been very pleased with my 2013 SD4 SE. It’s trav­elled al­most 80,000km, largely high­way use with coun­try driv­ing, in­clud­ing dirt roads. It’s had lit­tle off-road use but per­formed ad­mirably. We bought it mainly for the com­fort­able, sup­port­ive seats as we can sus­tain quite long drives with min­i­mal dis­com­fort. It av­er­ages about 8.3L/100km and, for me, pro­vides a good balance be­tween com­fort and han­dling. It wasn’t the cheap­est in class but I think it was good value for money. I’ve had none of the qual­ity and re­li­a­bil­ity is­sues.

David Bur­rows I have just traded my 2011 SE TD4 after 150,000km of trou­ble-free mo­tor­ing rang­ing from around town to nu­mer­ous in­ter­state trips, and off-road. It never missed a beat. It was a great car and one I have strongly rec­om­mended to my friends.

Gil Oliver I’ve had my HSE TD4 for nine years and I’ve never had any trou­ble with it. It has no squeaks or rat­tles, I get less than 7.0 L/100km and I’m happy with the ser­vice costs.

Ed­die Brod­er­ick It’s hard to fault my HSE TD4. It’s solidly built, eco­nom­i­cal and I love the diesel engine. The only thing I would like is a big­ger boot.

Ross Provan I traded in a BMW X3 to get my Free­lander 2 and I couldn’t be hap­pier. It is more eco­nom­i­cal, com­fort­able and re­fined, and bet­ter en­gi­neered.

John Burgess I bought my TD4 in 2011. It’s a pleas­ant and com­fort­able car for cruis­ing; the only crit­i­cism is the boot space. But over­all I love it.

SMITHY SAYS

Qual­ity com­pact SUV that can be bought se­cond-hand with con­fi­dence.

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