Land Rover Freelander

29 Nov, 2012 5:00pm Luke Madden

The revised Freelander gets sharper looks and an upgraded cabin, but some familiar flaws remain


The Freelander is improved by this facelift, but not by much. The tweaks have sharpened up the looks and cabin, although there are no upgrades in other important areas. The engine is among the most inefficient in this class and it can’t match the refinement of BMW’s or Audi’s four-cylinder diesels. This HSE Lux is very expensive, too.

The tremendous success of the Range Rover Evoque has cast a bit of a shadow over the Freelander. So, in an effort to shift some of the limelight back on to Land Rover’s old star, the company has given it a bit of a makeover.

The engine line-up and chassis remain identical, but there are now new headlights incorporating the same LED design as the new Range Rover. The rear lights are fitted with LEDs, too, and this new Mauritius Blue paintjob adds a bit of excitement to the range.

Climb aboard and you’ll notice a few Evoque-inspired updates. The Terrain Response dial has been ditched in favour of buttons behind the gearlever, and the traditional handbrake makes way for an electronic switch.

As a result it feels a lot less cluttered, and a lot more upmarket. It can’t match the eye-catching luxury of the Evoque, but then the Freelander is intended to be one of the more utilitarian members of the Land Rover family. Nevertheless, our range-topping HSE Lux model comes with Windsor leather seats, a 17-speaker sound system, a seven-inch touchscreen and 19-inch diamond-turned alloys.

On the road, the Freelander feels the same as ever. Things don’t get off to the best start, with a noisy and slightly harsh sound from the 187bhp diesel engine. However, once you’re up to speed, it quietens down slightly. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 9.5 seconds, so it feels fairly nippy, too.

The Freelander’s most impressive attribute has always been the comfortable ride, and it still shines through in this facelifted model. The 19-inch wheels add a degree of firmness over small road bumps and ridges, but it’s barely noticeable most of the time.

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40 Grand!!! Has Ratan Tata got a crack habit or something he needs financing!?

A few more grand sees you in a SQ5 Audi, with 300+ hp, 0-60 in 5s, and build quality Land Rover couldn't achieve if its top designer Vicky Beckham's life depended on it, or 40k for a BMW X3 35d.

40 Grand for a 7 yr old shed thrown together in Halewood, with a nasty old Peugeot-Ford engine?!

What a joke company! 2013 - Aston Marin mark two - up for sale, to any plonker stupid enough to buy it!

As this joke company is on course to make £2 billion profit this year they probably could not care less what a German car lover thinks.Oh and i see Audi has done even worse in the jd power survey this year in the market everyone wants to succeed in, ie the U.S, coming a shocking 17th.It is a shame that their legendary build quality is only skin deep and does not include their mechanicals which are only average in reliability terms to say the least.Think they should recruit power train engineers from the far east to help them !!

hello johnny

er, Tata isn't based in "the far east"

JLR is a joke company. New Range Rover has to have its seats changed due to "marginal" euroncap crash test result. It also scored marginal for side impact pole test.

80 grand for unsafe rubbish. 15 grand new Seat Leon flew through euroncap.

That's because VW group is a proper car company, not a shyster outfit bunging up prices every 5 secs., selling them to muppets who wannabe airheads like Beckhams.

Didn't you know, johnny, Tata is a cowboy outfit. Tata planned to cash in on JLR earlier this year with an IPO, for $20bn, but got thwarted by Facebook's IPO fallout and economic re-downturn.

Stuck with JLR now, they're gouging prices to try to get their $3bn money back.

Don't believe all the stuff you read in English media about "mega profitable JLR" - they're not.

Only the Evoque propped them up last 12 mths. That's off the boil now as folk wise up to a 50 grand Freelander in drag, with abysmal fuel economy and typical L/Rover falling to bits. Tata played up JLR's profitability to pump the IPO price. That's gone. Tata's stuck with its 'asset' now.

7 of the manufacturers ahead of audi are from the far east, that is why should recruit engineers from the far east.The company at number 2 is Jaguar again, Mercedes is the highest german manufacturer at number 9 . Another one of your favourites, Volkswagen is at an abysmal 31st , just 4 from the bottom !!!,obviously the americans don,t appreciate what a proper car company can achieve !
As for the Evoque not selling well, every other car transporter travelling on the M6 is carrying them and most of them are LHD and pre-ordered.
As for poor fuel consumption ask any owner of a volkswagen touareg what their vehicle actually achieves as opposed to volkswagens official figures, my tdi did 23mpg which is why it is long gone, oh and at 62k the propshaft failed and the keyless entry and the electric drivers seat,thankfully this was after i had got rid of it . in fact the only vehicle that i have ever owned less reliable than this was a bmw 318tds which spent more time in the garage than on the road.

What a load of crap you talk, sales of all JLR products are UP in the majority of the markets they are in, shifts have been extended and new factories are being built, new models are planned and launched with more product, the profits are factual where as your comments are not, you talk poo and have no idea what your talking about so go back to your pushchair and have an after noon sleep....

Land Rover are on a roll at the moment sales are up everywhere around the globe, according to ACEA Land Rover sales are up 38% in Europe this year, the biggest sales increase of any brand. What recession?

Looks a great package, still the original & the still best, you still see lots of old 40+ year old Landies being used as a regular tough daily workhorse.

As a previous owner of a Freelander with the well-documented head gasket failure I was intrigued to see what the latest 'offering' was. Judging by the pictures alone it looks like things are still rotten, for example, the front and back bumpers are a much darker shade of blue than the rest of the paintwork, and there are inconsistent gaps around the lights which make it looked shoved together. 40K is a complete joke, maybe worth 20K if a 5-year warranty is included.... better off with a qashqai built in uk but with better qa standards

Pleased to see they've targeted what feels like the biggest of the previous Freelander's faults - the handbrake. The old version had a quirky design owing far too much to the original Landrover and taking far too much force to hold the vehicle from rolling down even a slight incline (as we know too our cost.)

The transporters on the M6 you see carrying the Evouque's are hired by the AA and RAC for breakdown recovery.

Hmm, nothing like some cold hard owner experiences to ginger up a slanging match. Jeez fellas, I couldnt possibly stoop to calling these 'exchanges' a debate, or discussion. So, not here to head-butt with anyone, but certainly have my opinionated 6d worth.

I see the malais has now spread across the group to LR, with their own 'pointless car' list headed by the Freelander. Is this not the dog of a car with a very chequered history, that at some stage had a wheezing V6 that hit the lights for two reasons. It couldnt cut the mustard, and gobbled gas furiously. And was it not the Freelander that came out with a weird faux landau top? You pulled off some plastic at the back of the body, and exposed the boot! Wild. Bet that bit of cheap kit was air/water tight, and soundproof......not. So the vehicle has evolved, into what now looks like a mini brick trying to look like a mini wedge. Where have unthinking unimaginative blinkered so-called designers been since the debacle with Alfa Romeo in the 70's and their horrific flying wedge. A universally acknowledged hideous car, that sold hideously. Beauty is obviously in the eye of the beholder, and 'ugly' comes off an ugly stick. Why, aesthetically, or purposefully does a car need its backside jacked up in the air, and the ensuing acres of dead space between tyre and body? And whatever beauty there may be with a wedge shape, every car without exception so 'designed', also consequently looks like its falling on its nose. Once you a do live or die stab of the brakes, how much traction at the rear are you really left with? Nominal? Mechanical handbrakes are early 20th century, now, clunky old technology. You'd wonder why every single car maker has not got with the programme and put in an electronic device. We certainly get lumbered with all manner of supposedly useful devices, without any huge uproar about their absolute necessity. And of course pay inflated prices for the privilege. A serious question. By who's perception was this old dog ever one of LR's 'old stars'?? From a crappy beginning, to a crappy now, I dont think LR had a clue about any real purpose or rainson d'etre with this car. Its almost an 'also-ran' amongst its peers. What an interesting comment about Tata trying to unload JLR, and cop a $17Billion profit! Shifty Ratan indeed. You're a real dyed in the wool car lover after all. That's a sad scenario to invoke a shabby mercenary tasteless exercise of polishing the turd. Why would you spend excessively more on such a flawed vehicle? JLR fix up the car, big time, make it look like it at least has some purpose in life, even if that's only emulating all the other would-be faux 4WD shopping trolleys. I mean, they're not real 4WD's, well not off-road 4WD's anyway, they are not cars in any true sense, they dont drive or handle or respond like a car, even if the dumb buggars/burghers at BMW want to lie about their range of bricks being sports cars. Finally, why would you spend an obscene amount of money buying something that sounded like it had a washing machine full of nuts and bolts under the bonnet. The greatest con I've ever seen inflicted on an unassuming market, perpetuated buy this magazine, is diesels are quiet. Absolute garbage. AE I challenge you to get get a decibel metre and do some real-time tests on anything with a supposed 'quiet' diesel, and compare it to its identical petrol brother. I'll eat something, not sure what yet, if you can clearly demonstrate they are even as quiet as a petrol driven car. Cheers bruisers :-)

JLR sales here in Western Canada are Jumping and I can tell you 6 of my friends are impatiently waiting for 4X4 vehicles to hit Our side of the puddle they all own supercharged 2 & 4 door JLRs . Oh by the way, sad to say I convinced them to buy audi and bmw , that cost me six cases of 18 year old Scotch at the end of their lease life ; luckily the Scotch barely saved friendship . Yes JLR sales are up 38% for 2012 .

Yeah and after warranty a few grand every month to keep the audi and bmw on the road

Key specs

  • Price: £39,805
  • Engine: 2.2-litre 4cyl turbodiesel
  • Power: 187bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 9.5 seconds
  • Top speed: 118mph
  • Economy: 40.4mpg
  • CO2: 185g/km
  • Equipment: Windsor leather seats, sat-nav, 19-inch alloy wheels, 17-speaker sound system
  • On sale: Now