The second iteration of the Freelander put back some of the off-road cred
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.
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.
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.
Quality compact SUV that can be bought second-hand with confidence.