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Land Rover Freelander 2 HSE Review & Road Test

Wed, 19 May 2010 00:00:00 -0700

The Land Rover Freelander 2 TD4 HSE

It was always something of a paradox, the original Land Rover Freelander. On paper it seemed to be all the car you could need. An iconic badge strapped to a real 4×4 of a sensible size that could cope with the urban jungle and had almost as much off-road ability as its brethren.

And if you look at the sales figures you could easily pretend that the Freelander was a runaway success for Land Rover. Certainly it was LR’s biggest selling car and buyers fell for the baby, iconic off-roader for all seasons. But it didn’t take long for grumbles to appear about reliability.

The biggest problem for the Freelander was the old K Series engine, which had a habit of melting its head gasket and cooking the engine. But there were other problems with gearboxes and clutches and the whole experience was bad news for many buyers.

So if Land Rover were going to rescue the hugely important slice of the market the Freelander had managed to garner in its first decade – despite a heap of problems – the Freelander 2 had to be not just good, but better than the rest.

It was a promising start. A choice of two engines – a 2.2 litre 4-pot diesel and a 3.2 litre 6-pot petrol – offered decent options and there was a raft of trim choices. But now, four years on from when it launched – and on the cusp of a facelift to see the it through the last few years of its life – what does the Freelander 2 offer?

The Freelander 2 now comes in a choice of four trim levels – S, GS, XS and HSE – and with just one engine choice – the PSA sourced 2.2 litre turbo diesel. True, the 3.2 6-pot petrol seems never to have been officially binned but has instead quietly disappeared from the option list. And there are other limited edition models such as the Freelander 2 Sport and Freelander 2 Black (& White).

But essentially you have a choice of four models, from under £22,000 for the Freelander 2 S to over £33,000 for the HSE. We were supposed to get a Freelander 2 TD4_e with stop-start to see how frugal the Freelander 2 could become, but Land Rover asked us to swap it out for an auto HSE at the last minute as they had a pile of overseas journalists coming on a jaunt to play with the stop-start cars. So that’s what we got – a Land Rover Freelander 2 TD4 HSE. Top of the tree with extra toys and a command shift 6-speed auto.

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By Cars UK