Land Rover Freelander 2.2 SD4 HSE
Our Rating

4/5

Land Rover Freelander 2.2 SD4 HSE

Extraordinary ride quality, heavy fuel consumption.

Last year, Land Rover freshened up the Freelander in what it described as a "premium overhaul". If you're familiar with the Freelander as it was being sold in the first half of 2012, you'll immediately notice the differences inside the current model, which amount to new instruments, a new centre console and a series of switches - rather than the previous dial - for the Terrain Response system.Equipment levels have been revised, too. There's voice activiation now for the audio, phone, climate control and (if fitted, as it is in this model) satellite navigation systems, plus a reversing camera with a Hitch Assist function that lets you see where the towball is if you're reversing towards a trailer. During this test I happened not to need that, but past experience of (being very bad at) towing makes me think of this as a particularly useful development.Otherwise, the HSE tested here is more or less the same as it was, except that it's no longer the most sumptuously-appointed Freelander. That description now applies to the SE Lux, which for an extra £2600 comes with Windsor leather upholstery, Grand Black Lacquer finish, premium carpet mats and diamond-turned wheels.Land Rover made no mechanical changes to the Freelander during this process, presumably feeling that it didn't need to. There is still just one engine in the range, though it's available in two forms - TD4, with 148bhp, and, as here, SD4, with 187bhp. TD4s have manual or automatic gearboxes, both six-speed, but SD4s are automatic only, which is fine because this is a very good transmission with beautifully smooth changes.For me, 148bhp is as much as the Freelander needs, and I'd be happy to save £1000 by going for that engine rather than the SD4, though I'm sure there will be times when the extra grunt would prove useful.On the official EU test cycle, the SD4 uses fuel at the rate of 40.4mpg, but my own average was a long way south of that. According to the trip computer I never exceeded 31mpg, and although bad weather may have had something to do with that I would have hoped for better considering I rarely used anything like the full performance potential.Even while grumbling to myself about that, though, I couldn't help being impressed, as I have been in the past, by the Freelander's road manners. There's no disguising the fact that it's a tall car for its length, and one with a high centre of gravity. This leads unavoidably to a significant, though not excessive, amount of body movement, but apart from that the ride quality is excellent on all road surfaces.Land Rover has shown both with the Freelander and with most of its other products that it is exceptionally good at this sort of thing. Other manufacturers would do well to pay attention to that. Engine 2179cc, 4 cylinders Power 187bhp Transmission 6-speed automatic Fuel/CO2 40.4mpg / 185g/km Acceleration 0-62mph: 9.5 seconds Top speed 118mph Price £37,205 Details correct at publication date

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