Land Rover Freelander vs rivals

16 Jan, 2013 10:30am

Can the revised Land Rover Freelander hold its own against the Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60? We put it to the test...

Land Rover has been on a roll. The Discovery is still the full-size 4x4 benchmark, the all-new Range Rover has been launched to glowing reviews and the trendy Evoque continues to be one of the hottest cars of the moment. But the company hasn’t been ignoring its massively successful entry-level model, the Freelander. The 2013 version comes with a slightly remodelled exterior and an updated cabin, as well as new trim levels.

Land Rover isn’t the only manufacturer trying to stay on top of the competitive compact SUV class. The Audi Q5 has also benefited from a range of updates, including cleaner engines and subtle styling changes, along with revisions to its suspension and steering systems.

All this makes the competition even tougher for the practical and well designed Volvo XC60. Revised engines promise improved efficiency, while this car still sets the style standard.

So which one of these classy compact SUVs should you be putting your money on?


If you were expecting a heavily revised Freelander, you’ll be disappointed. This is more of a mild makeover than a full facelift, with tweaked looks and an updated cabin being the most significant changes.

Yet the Land Rover is still a fine all-rounder that strikes a very attractive balance between ride, comfort and handling. Its off-road ability is unmatched here, and the comfortable interior still exudes a rugged charm. Unfortunately, emissions haven’t been improved at all.

The Audi is much cleaner, and also has a more upmarket cabin, bigger boot and slightly greater passenger space. Stunning residuals add to its appeal. This compact SUV matches premium desirability to financial sense. It’s a clear winner.

Sadly, the attractive-looking and powerful Volvo is outclassed in very nearly every area by its rivals and finishes in third place.

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Cant see how the Freelander trounces the XC60, apart from off road, the XC60 is Volvos best selling car worldwide, how many Freelanders get sold, I suspect not many, the XC60, is faster, more powerful, more economical, cheaper to insure, has a longer range, a bigger boot, its safer, and is far better looking and more reliable, I suspect you may be telling porkies, the Freelander is by far the worst car in the test.

i agree xc60 anyday over freelander driving for a living i see freelanders discoverys and range rovers broke down all to often

Do you know how poor Volvo sales are? To suggest the the XC60 (which I have quite honestly never even heard of, much less seen) sells more than the incredibly successful Freelander is ridiculous. Volvo are not far from being the next casualty in the motoring world. The Freelander has been a top seller in it's market since it was first put on sale over 15 years ago.

Interesting, because I don't. Tell me, how many XC60's have you actually seen on any road, driving, broken down or otherwise?

Why is the Freelander being compared to cars that are at LEAST 25% more expensive? How on earth is this even a valid, much less relevant test? Can you get hold of either of them for less than almost £31k? yet the Freelander can be had for less than £24k. MINI do a Special Edition model that costs over £40k, I suppose we should compare that to cars in that price range....not.

Google "Freelander and Head-Gasket failure". I was one of those who spent too much time broken down at the side of the road due to a major design flaw, and suffering appalling LR customer service.

Never heard of a head gasket fault with the freelander 2. Don't get confused with the original freelander which had several issues.

It's funny I drove a new 10 year old design ie xc90 recently and then a new Discovery and Freelander and apart from the obvious older generation switchgear software off road ability etc etc I still found the old Volvo was more comfortible and more importantly more CAR like to drive!! Trust me I was seriously surprised.And I agree i bet the Volvos will be so much more reliable.

what rubbish you talk

Volvo (421,951) sold more cars than JLR (357,773) combined last year, JLR's biggest seller by far was the new Evoque with 108,598 globally, almost a third of the groups sales, Volvo sold 106,203 XC60's last year and 97,183 in 2011 and 80,723 in 2010, so I suspect there are far more of them on the road than Freelanders dont you think. Please if you are going to slate a company get your facts right.

WHo have I slated? I didn't slate Volvo I merely said I had never seen much less heard of the XC60 - I have googled it, and I still don't recall seeing one, of course, you know Volvo's sales better than I do... But then of Course Volvo (who sell a fairly full range of cars and MPV's) sell only half of what JLR (a niche manufacturer) do in the UK. I was simply responding to a post that WAS slating a company, Land Rover, with no foundation at all.

Ah, you obviously mean the Freelander 1 which was designed in the late 1980's early 1990's and hasn't been in production for almost 10 years... and the flaw brought about by Rover Group after BMW Group who owned LR at the time insisted it change certain head gasket parts on engines that had otherwise been reliable. Yes, yes, I see the relevance to this discussion...

Do you know how poor Volvo sales are?To suggest the the XC60 sells more than the incredibly successful Freelander is ridiculous. Volvo are not far from being the next casualty in the motoring world. - Sounds like slating to me, and lets not forget, until very recently the 6 cylinder petrol engine in the Freelander 2 was built and supplied by Volvo, the diesel and the new 4 cylinder petrol engines are supplied by Ford, the chassis was designed by Ford and Volvo and is the same one used in the XC60, and the Mondeo, probably explains why its now a lot more reliable, because its not actually a Landrover.

i must be dreaming what ive seen fool!

in the uk you see them all the time if you go out that is

check out autoexpress driver power survey 2012 20th place landrover not good for prestidge brand not when hyundai an manage 7th

Ah so it was BMW's insistence that was at fault, not the actual engines ? when the earliest Freelanders also had the fault. You're making perfect sense. And andrewvnn specifically mentioned Freelander 2 models in his post too. It all makes sense now....

Sorry I fail to see what you are getting at, andrewvnn mentioned nothing about which model of Freelander he was referring to, however, 'Known head gasket' failures mentioned by gaztt are 'known' only for the old Freelander models, you know, the one designed 20 years ago that used Rover petrol and diesel engines, not the Freelander 2. And yes, the K-Series engine became unreliable under BMW's reign and it was never addressed. Until BMW took charge the regular K-Series units were not only reliable but were award winning too. It never ceases to amaze me the drivel that some people will come on here to spout and the increasingly incoherent replies that follow.

You must be, still googling the XC60 and still don't recall seeing one. But then, Volvo are not a big seller in the UK comparatively speaking are they? You don;t happen to live next door to a Volvo dealership do you? (or perhaps work for or own one...)

Yes, gent, we are aware of your previous rant using the exact same idioms designed to give the impression that you are well informed of the garbage you are actually jotting down here. However... Land Rover sales globally: 304k. Volvo sales globally: 422k. Also, both have 2% market shares in the UK. If you have never heard of or seen the XC60, then well your just that misinformed. Perhaps you are the LR salesman.

I have to admit that Volvo does have a larger range of vehicles than Land Rover so realistically Land Rover are more successful ,Volvo has always had a tough task to get over its fuddy duddy image especially in the Uk but its range now makes up I believe a fantastic group of good looking comfortable and premium quality cars!! yes so a BMW ,Merc or Audi might handle slightly better but for the average driver who cares!! now I drive over 50k a year and have driven so many makes of cars and whenever it comes time to change I look at all the options but almost inevitably I end with a good ole Volvo.

no a 2010 citroen c5 hdi 160 nav.but new santa fe on order.but i drive a lot of miles and see plenty all over uk

what about new Honda Cr-v in this test as drive a lot better than freelander more reliable than all three and have some of the lowest running cost in the market sector

According to official UK figures, Jaguar/Land Rover sold 62,735 cars in 2012 with a market share of 3.07%. Volvo sold 31,790 with a share of 1.55%. When you say rant, if you mean, I prefer people to quote facts rather than make things up that they know little about, yes, I suppose that could be a rant. Case in point is your post above, as you can clearly see, your references to market share are , frankly, completely off. JLR sell double the number of cars in the UK than Volvo do. You mentioned being well informed, perhaps you'd like to share with us the 'font' of your knowledge?

Having refreshed myself on Volvo cars current range, something I have to say had escaped me (they don't seem to have a particularly high profile image or PR profile) I have to say I was rather surprised at the range of models on offer. Whilst the styling is subjective, and IMPO, rather dubious, I will give them credit for being more desirable than I recall them ever being. Quite why they have such a relatively low market share in the UK I don't know but they are certainly more attractive and current than they once were. As it happens, coming up the M1 today I saw my first XC60, rather too much like a jacked up estate for my liking and a strange looking tailgate/light arrangement, but I'm sure its owner was happy.

The problem with surveys like these is that they are not like for like and some cars score well in one area, and others in another. In some cases the % scored is so close it makes no difference which you choose. Ranking the results simply creates a false impression that somehow the number 1 car is somewhat better than the 10th, or 20th etc, but in fact, the results could be so close that it makes no difference. In other cases scoring well in areas that might be more important to you, may lose out to another car that scores highly for something else. The bottom line is people will go for the car that 'does it' for them, which explains why cars such as the Honda, whilst clearly attracting a following who zealously report how fantastic they are, doesn't appeal to as wide an audience as something like a Freelander or an Evoque does. I would never buy a car on the basis of it's standing in a car magazine poll. The AE poll had 29,000 participants, yet around 2,000,000 cars are sold every year in the UK, so there are probably 8-10,000,000 cars eligible for the poll and only 0.3% of those owners share their experience. So perhaps interesting reading that might sell a few more"survey" issues of AE, but really rather pointless.

exactly each to their own :)

another disappointment ???

Autoexpress Freelander SD4 review 29th Nov 2012 £39,805

My poont was that you can have a Freelander from £24k, you can't have any of the others for less than £31k. As I said, MINI do a £42k version but that does mean it should be pitted against a Top spec Jaguar XF...