Win with TomTom!

Be a part of our 2014 Tyre fitment survey and stand a chance to a win a TomTom Runner GPS watch. Enter now!

Win with Mitsubishi Mirage!

To coincide with the launch of its Mirage hatchback, Mitsubishi is giving away two Mirages with insurance for a year!

Freelander 2 facelift driven

2010-11-17 10:51

FAMILIAR FACE: Featuring Land Rover’s new twin-slat grille and rolling 19-inch wheels, the facelifted Freelander 2 looks ever so slightly like a miniaturised Range Rover.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Land Rover
Model Freelander 2
Engine 2.0 turbodiesel
Power 110 and 140kW
Torque 420Nm
Transmission Six-speed manual or auto
Zero To Hundred 11.7, 9.5 sec
Top Speed 181, 190km/h
Fuel Tank 68 litres
Fuel Consumption 6.6, 7 litresl/100km
Weight 1785, 1805kg
ABS Yes
Airbags 7
Tyres 255/35 19
Front Suspension McPherson struts
Rear Suspension Struts, multi-links
Price See article

Author: Lance Branquinho

 
If ever there was a product of redemption in the SUV market, it has to be Land Rover's Freelander 2.

Plainly, the first-generation Freelander was not a particularly accomplished vehicle. It was under-powered (in petrol form), often miserably temperamental and it hardly endeared itself to local customers.

Then, almost unbelievably, the second incarnation of Land Rover’s first soft-roader became the class standard when introduced back in 2007.

Four years into its product cycle, Freelander 2 has now been facelifted. The timing is quite fortuitous for Land Rover as its improved Freelander 2 boasts, beyond its styling upgrades, greater efficiency - the pefect foil to the government’s controversial CO2 taxation.

MINI RANGEY?

As part of its styling upgrade the car gains the new Land Rover family grille and halogen headlights underscored by a redesigned (wider) bumper.

If you're an absolute Land Rover anorak, you’ll notice the badge design’s changed its colour contrast, too, now featuring silver (instead of gold) script set against the traditional green background.

Along the flanks all models (even the entry-level ‘S’) have colour-coded sill trim and two new designs of alloy rims in either 18 or a rather over-elaborate 19" diameter.

Illumination upgrades are the only changes at the rear: a larger horizontal high-level brake light and redesigned tail lights.

Though the detailing upgrades are slight, they do register.

Gauged as a package, the facelifted Freelander 2 has an undeniable mini-Range Rover look – especially at the front.


PLATINUM GRADE: The gold on green badge may have been replaced by a silver contrast yet the Freelander 2 remains for many the gold standard in terms of non low-range enabled off-roading.

FASTER, MORE EFFICIENT

Mechanical changes to the Freelander 2 are limited to a tweaking of the 2.2 in-line four turbodiesel engine. Thanks to meticulous engine control module harmonisation and a water-cooled variable geometry turbocharger, Land Rover engineers have managed to coax additional power and torque from the engine.

The 2.2 drivetrain is available in two six-speed derivatives (manual and auto), each transferring 420Nm between the Freelander 2’s four wheels courtesy of its Haldex-controlled, all-wheel drive. In terms of peak power, the TD4 runs either 110 or 140kW - with the less-powerful model making do with a manual transmission to enable the debut of Land Rover’s stop/start technology to the local market.

Land Rover claims its new TD4 and SD4 models are quicker and more frugal than the single derivative engine they replace.

The more powerful 140kW SD4 auto registers a 0-100km/h sprint time of 9.5sec, improving on the outgoing 120kW TD4’s 11.2. Consumption averages to 7 litresl/100km, down from 7.5, and CO2 emission are 14% down.

For those seeking the most cost-efficient Freelander 2 experience, the 110kW TD4 manual model (stop/start technology) is claimed to return only 6.6 litres/100km.

There are a few details worth noting about the stop/start system. It will only operate when a key range of parameters is fulfilled.

Under load (when towing), in extreme temperatures and with the aircon employed on a sweltering Highveld summer day it will not function, negating the benefit.

Land Rover's stop/start system has a significantly larger and tougher starter motor to cope with the additional cycles brought to bear by the stop/start system's functionality.


COMFY CABIN: Cabin trim co-ordination remains class-leading, yet the centre-console handgdown section can do with a better display and stowage space could be freed up via an electronic parking brake. New front seats are superb.

A SENSIBLE SUV?

When Land Rover SA introduced the Freelander 2 in 2007, expectations were quite low - chiefly due to the disaster of the first generation. Land Rover's engineers quickly redeemed themselves in the opinion of media professionals and industry experts, though.

Many (myself included) were hugely impressed by the leap in engineering integrity achieved with the second-generation Freelander. Customers, though, have remained wary so South Africa continues as an anomaly among Land Rover’s global market – where the Discovery outsells Freelander by some margin.

Land Rover believes the Freelander 2’s newfangled drivetrain refinements and Range Roveresque styling will shore up its presence in the non low-range SUV market. Since its debut the local market has added distinguished competitors such as VW's Tiguan and Volvo's XC60. How does the little Landy compare?

Well, it still does most things remarkably well. Although the cabin’s infotainment interface is a trifle dated - and the presence of an old-school girdle-operated parking brake is quite at odds with most other SUV's featuring flip-switch operation - the overall ergonomics ensure an outstanding driving position.

Those thin A-pillars yield a generous field of view, too.

The tough door casings and thick rubber mats ensure the cabin architecture is hard-wearing; it remains very much the SUV for those who actually pursue outdoor activities.


BLING WHEELS: Turbine design 19-inch wheels may look great, but the 235/55 profile tyres have little in the way of deflated floatation properties.

Inch-up wheels, thumbs-down ride quality

On an evaluation route that meandered through kwaZulu-Natal's Midlands, the media group’s Freelanders were all equipped with the 19" alloys and 235/55 Continental rubber with a quite aggressive tread. It didn't take a fair distance to gauge that the larger wheels unfortunately depreciate ride quality – no question.

Although these tyres provide for very little in the way of deflation properties (courtesy of their limited sidewall profile) the aggressive tread will stand one in good stead on muddied rural roads in winter.

The dirt roads were rather severe around Kamberg. Potentially sidewall-destroying low-level bridge concrete slab ridges and puncture-inducing rocks tested the durability of those rims. Even after 100km of testing dirt roads, despite a few audible ‘thumps’, the Freelander 2’s alloys were dirty yet intact.

Off-road, the terrain response system is still one of the best ways to achieve traction without low-range or conventional differential lock, while on-road the facelifted Freelander 2’s 140kW in SD4 trim was noticeable when overtaking.

The driving position remains ace (buoyed by better seat padding) and steering assistance is, unlike most of its competitors, hydraulic instead of electric - providing much crisper feedback at speed.

With its Range Rover mini-me styling and improved diesel engines the Freelander 2 should shore up Land Rover’s presence in the non low-range end of the SUV market, until the arrival of Evoque early next year…

PRICES

TD4 manual - R384 995
SD4 a/t - R489 995

NEXT ON WHEELS24X

Read Wheels24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside Wheels24

Wild on Wheels

From wild wheels to crazy crashes, check out the best in motoring news and quirky stories in our Wild on Wheels section!

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.