Free­lander buyer’s guide

FROM £4,000 Ca­pa­ble, flex­i­ble com­pact SUV looks a great sec­ond-hand buy

Auto Express - - Contents - Richard Dredge

How to get Land Rover favourite for only £4,000

YOU’VE seen our count­down of the 102 best new SUVS from Page 44. But you don’t need a big bud­get to up­grade your car to some­thing more rugged in readi­ness for win­ter; there’s a wealth of great-value choices on the sec­ond-hand mar­ket.

Land Rover has all-wheel drive run­ning through its veins, and one of the most ac­ces­si­ble and us­able mod­els in its range is the Free­lander 2, which first hit show­rooms over a decade ago. The ques­tion is, does it still make a good buy?

His­tory

THE Free­lander 2 ar­rived in Septem­ber 2006, in five-door 4WD form only. There were 3.2-litre i6 petrol auto or 158bhp 2.2-litre TD4 diesel man­ual op­tions only at launch, al­though by April 2007 a TD4 auto had joined the line-up.

The top-spec HST went on sale in Fe­bru­ary 2008, then in April 2009 the i6 was dis­con­tin­ued and the TD4.E with stop/start was in­tro­duced to cut emis­sions from 194g/km to 179g/km. A re­vised Free­lander 2 in Septem­ber 2010 brought an over­hauled in­te­rior, de­sign tweaks and a two-wheel-drive ed4 model, plus the auto-only 188bhp SD4. Man­ual gear­box TD4S also fea­tured stop/start.

An­other facelift in Septem­ber 2012 in­tro­duced fur­ther styling re­vi­sions, new trims (Dy­namic and HSE Lux), voice con­trol and a seven-inch in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem.

Which one?

IT’S hard to find a petrol Free­lander 2, which is just as well, be­cause fuel and road tax costs will be high. If hav­ing four-wheel drive is more im­por­tant than ul­ti­mate econ­omy, don’t buy a front-wheel-drive model (ed4) by mis­take. Au­to­mat­ics are sig­nif­i­cantly thirstier (and more costly to tax) than man­ual cars, but the auto suits the Free­lander’s easy-driv­ing na­ture, so don’t dis­miss it.

The trim hi­er­ar­chy runs S, GS, XS, Dy­namic/se, HSE, HSE LUX/HST. All mod­els fea­ture al­loy wheels, elec­tri­cally ad­justable and heated door mir­rors, ESP, cli­mate con­trol plus pow­ered win­dows front and rear. GS adds re­vers­ing sen­sors, XS elec­tri­cally ad­justable front seats and cruise con­trol, SE fea­tures nav­i­ga­tion while HSE brings leather.

Al­ter­na­tives

THE BMW X3 and Audi Q5 are the Free­lander’s big­gest ri­vals, with pre­mium badges, posh in­te­ri­ors and ex­cel­lent en­gines. You’ll pay plenty for these, but there is a cheaper op­tion – the Volvo XC60. Re­cently re­placed with a new model, the XC60 is stylish and safe, and you’ll get more for your money than if you buy Ger­man.

Al­ter­na­tively you could buy Ja­panese, with the Toy­ota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Nis­san Qashqai all of­fer­ing fru­gal en­gines, gen­er­ous equipment lev­els and re­li­a­bil­ity. As with the Land Rover, all these cars are five-seaters, but if you’d pre­fer seven seats take a look at the Nis­san X-trail or Mit­subishi Out­lander, which don’t have the same pre­mium feel but do offer great value.

Ver­dict

LAND Rover’s Free­lander 2 scooped Best Com­pact SUV three times in a row at our New Car Awards from 2008 to 2010; in 2011 and 2012 it was run­ner up, which gives some idea of just how ta­lented it is.

At this point we some­times add that as a used buy, Land Rovers can be a gam­ble due to patchy re­li­a­bil­ity, but a strong show­ing for de­pend­abil­ity in this year’s Driver Power used car sat­is­fac­tion sur­vey shows that most Free­lander 2s have been trou­ble-free.

When you throw in a smart de­sign, an ex­cel­lent cabin, a good driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and strong re­fine­ment, it’s easy to see why the Free­lander 2 is so sought af­ter.

“Launched over a decade ago, the Free­lander 2 is one of the most ac­ces­si­ble and us­able Land Rovers”

OUR VIEW

THE Free­lander 2 ranked 19th in our Driver Power 2017 used car sur­vey, and was in the top 10 for safety, com­fort, prac­ti­cal­ity and han­dling. But while 22nd for re­li­a­bil­ity is also great, 83rd for run­ning costs isn’t.

YOUR VIEW

ROBIN Suther­land, from Lud­low, Shrops, said of his 2011 TD4: “It’s used for cross­ing fields and tow­ing. It copes and is com­fort­able. It’s needed a few re­pairs, but it’s no worse than my old Mit­subishi Shogun.”

NEED TO KNOW NEED TO KNOW

Fac­tory-fit sat-nav isn’t very user­friendly or ef­fec­tive, so don’t pay over the odds for a car that’s fit­ted with it. Know what you’re buying. The ed4 is front-drive, man­ual only; SD4 is 4WD, auto only; TD4 is 4WD, man­ual or auto.

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