Land Rover Freelander 2 Review
Land Rover Freelander 2 - Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Car tested: 2012 Land Rover Freelander 2 HSE

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 45,43,184/-

Land Rover’s first vehicle to be locally assembled in India is the Freelander 2, which is the entry level vehicle from the the British marque. The Freelander 2 is priced very aggressively owing to the fact that it is brought in through the CKD route. The Freelander is a scaled down version of the Range Rover but doesn’t look all that small. Now powered by an a new 2.2-litre diesel engine, the Land Rover Freelander 2 is a competent rival to the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, or is it? We find out.

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Exteriors – There is no mistaking the Freelander 2 for any other vehicle but a Land Rover. The exteriors have been slightly altered in the Freelander 2 and it now features a new front bumper, new front fog lamps, new front grille, new tail gate, new lights and new alloy wheels. The front grille is honeycomb style and has silver matte finishing. Right above the front grille is the LAND ROVER name firmly embossed. The headlights are adaptive Xenon which offer very good lightning at night. The HSE variant gets 17-inch, 5-split spoke alloy wheels. The Land Rover Freelander 2 has a very serious off-road stance and the exteriors of this vehicle depicts its true off-roading capabilities. The wheel arch is big and has vents right above the front wheels. The attention to detail is worth appreciating with the squarish bonnet and cuts in the tail light section.

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The side profile might look rather plain in contrast to the detailed front and rear but that is how Land Rover’s have always looked. This retro look has an appeal of its own. A lot of black has been used, specially the B-pillar and the door handles. We Indians love chrome and that would have really looked classy. Our test car was in Fuji white colour, which is one of the best colours to get a Land Rover in. The paint quality of the Land Rover Freelander 2 is extremely good and of high quality. The roof is a fixed glass panoramic roof. Overall the baby Land Rover also manages to get people’s attention with its mix of modern and retro styling.

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Interiors – Step inside the Freelander 2 and you are greeted with airy interiors. The dashboard is quite similar to the flagship Range Rover, minus some features of course. The interiors feel well put together and have an aura of luxury around them. Quality of materials is extremely high and everything feels durable. The design of the dashboard is again very retro but pleasing none the less. The Premium Windsor Leather Seats are very comfortable and supportive and provide good back support to both the driver and passengers on long journeys.

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The metallic horn buttons are one of the best we have seen and are extremely easy to use. The Freelander is a 5-seater and thus the boot is huge. The parcel shelf helps you to utilize space as the need arises and you can easily fit in a bicycle for your weekend getaways to the nearby jungle! The Freelander 2 sports revised instrument dials along with 3-way memory function for the driver. It also features arm rests for the passengers along with an extremely capable HVAC system.

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The Freelander 2 also possesses Navigation system with touch screen display. The maps are from MapMyIndia and are standard on both the variants. The vehicle uses a 6-disc in dash CD player which thump out sound from a Alpine Branded Dolby Prologic II with 7.1 Surround Sound, Radio, Subwoofer and 13 Speakers! Needless to say, sound quality is phenomenal for a stock setup. Bluetooth telephone connectivity is also offered as standard.

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Ride, Handling and Braking – The land Rover Freelander 2 has one of the best suspension systems, which gives it a very pliant ride. The stiff chassis ensures that the Freelander will absorb all the bumps on the roads and transfer none to the passengers. The ride quality is extremely good and composed. Even on the worst of roads, the SUV won’t wobble one bit and stay firmly planted. NVH levels are not only good from the engine standpoint but also from the body, which does not transmit the thuds inside the cabin.

At the front, the Land Rover Freelander 2 uses McPherson struts, while at the rear its the multi-link struts. The steering wheel is quite light and seldom do you feel you are driving such a heavy vehicle. However the light steering has its drawbacks and at speed, the feedback is not adequate enough. The Feelander was not built with the sole purpose of going around a race track in quick time so we can’t blame the vehicle for its average handling abilities. Body roll is present but not very evident and once you get used to the feedback from the steering, the Freelander is can be fun to drive.

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Its a wonder,  how a vehicle that weighs so much and has such a high ground clearance manages to offer decent handling and good stability at speeds. There are a bunch of systems responsible for this. The Land Rover Freelander 2 has Roll Stability Control (RSC), Electronic Traction Control (ETC), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and Hill Descent Control (HDC) to ensure a very involving experience for the driver.

The brakes of the Freelander are extremely strong. Stand on the brake pedal at any speed and the Freelander comes to a stop without a hiccup. At the front are 300 mm ventilated discs, while at the rear there are 302 mm solid discs. Along with the ABS, EBA and EBD, the Freelander can boast of one of the best brakes in its segment. The Freelander’s off-roading capability is quite strong too and the competitors can only dream of challenging the Land Rover when the going gets tough. A Haldex transfer case is used and the vehicle offers Terrain Response control which has four settings. You can chose between General, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Sand and Mud. The Terrain Response system controls the throttle, gearbox and the 4-wheel drive system. This system first debuted on the Discovery 3 and is now available in all Land Rover vehicles.

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Performance – The Land Rover Freelander 2 is powered by a new 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine, which produces 190 PS of peak power at 3500 RPM and 420 Nm of peak torque at 1750 RPM. This transversely mounted turbo-diesel engine features a new variable geometry turbocharger and a catalysed diesel particulate filter. This motor is very eager and performs extremely well. Start the engine by pushing the key inside like a button and the engine comes to life. Idle is very silent and the motor is extremely refined. The engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox, which uses command shift technology to ensure efficient and smooth shifts.

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The Land Rover Freelander 2 is very quick, infact one of the quickest diesel SUVs around. The SUV will reach 100 km/h in less than 9 seconds and can reach a top speed of 190 km/h. Even with so much power, there is no compromise on the driveability, thanks to the mammoth torque of 420 Nm at a rather low RPM. Turbo lag is minimal but the motor does get a little uncomfortable at high revvs. However, the Freelander 2 does have an excellent engine which is a very comfortable cruiser at three digit speeds. It will return a mileage of 8-9 km/l in city driving, which is decent for a vehicle of this size and power.

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Conclusion – The Land Rover Freelander 2 is a vast improvement over its predecessor and the new 2.2-litre diesel engine is not only quick and responsive but quite frugal too. The Freelander 2 is an off-roader in the true sense and has real go-anywhere ability. It also offers a luxurious and comfortable experience to the occupants and at a reduced price is difficult to ignore. The baby Land Rover ticks all the right notes that a SUV buyer will look at and makes an extremely compelling case for itself in the luxury SUV segment.

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Whats Cool

* Engine Performance
* Off-road Capability
* Superb Brakes
* Terrain Response System

Whats Not So Cool

* Small dealer network
* High maintenance costs

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Land Rover Freelander 2 Specifications : –

* Engine: 2179 cc, transverse, in-line four
* Power: 190 PS @ 3500 RPM
* Torque: 420 Nm @ 1750 RPM
* Transmission: 6-speed automatic
* Top Speed: 190 kmph
* 0-100kmph: 8.9 seconds
* Fuel Consumption: 8-9 kmpl (City), 9-10 kmpl (highway)
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Tires: 235/65/17
* Safety: ABS, EBD, Front Airbags, Curtain Airbags, Immobilizer

Land Rover Freelander 2 Dimensions : –

* Overall length x width x height: 4500 mm X 2180 mm X 1740 mm
* Ground clearance: 210 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 70 litres
* Kerb Weight: 1800 kgs