The Land Rover Freelander was introduced into the market in 1998 as a compact SUV with an entry-level price tag. The Freelander is currently classified as the company’s heritage vehicle. That means it is going to continue stocking spare parts for the recently discontinued model but not as a contemporary car. It is relevant because the original Freelander was revealed in 1997 and was not replaced until 2006. That makes it a decade before the first generation LR Freelander went out of production.
Freelander (1998- 2000)
The Freelander’s body and suspension depart from the standard practice of the brand. As opposed to the ladder chassis design which has been used continuously since the Series 1, the Freelander was designed with a monocoque body approach like the ones on modern vehicles. Unlike these vehicles, the body has a solid subframe, including the welded box-section rails. It provided a high level of rigidity and kept the body square. The engine options on the first iteration of the Freelander were a 1.8 litre K Series petrol engine badged as 1.8i. It had an output of 88 kW.
After the first generation was developed in-house without the assistance of BMW, Freelander came into its own. The new facelifted Freelander had new engines as well. These included the 2.0-litre L4 BMW TD4 diesel and the 2.5 Rover KV6. The five-speed manual gearbox remained in this iteration though there was an option for a Tiptronic range with the higher-level capacity engines. The 2.5-litre V6 option was capable of 130 kW while the diesel engine could churn out 83 kW. It made up for the difference in power with much higher torque at 260 Nm.
There had been very minimal external changes to the Freelander by 2003, and it became one of the best-sold all-wheel-drive vehicles in the market. The introduction of the BMW and Rover engines assisted the first facelift in 2002, resulting in a boost in sales. The 2003 precursor to the end of the first iteration only brought visual changes to the grille and the headlamps. The grille was made more prominent while the lighting was accentuated slightly.
Freelander 2 (2006-2015)
In 2006, Land Rover came back as a redesign, which was the L359 or the Freelander 2. The second-generation Freelander is based according to the EUCD platform from Ford. The engine range was entirely new for the Freelander with an option for two engines. The first was a thirsty 3.2-litre petrol unit badged as i6. There was a 2.0-litre diesel manual option known as the TD4, which became the mainstay of the range. The petrol engine has the capability of 170 kW and is linked to a six-speed automatic transmission. The diesel option churns out 110 kW. The chassis design is almost a decade old, so the Freelander 2 does not feel as precise as the others. The forte of the Freelander 2 comes in cruising comfort. The suspension can iron lumps and bumps regardless of the speed, and it is smooth on the motorway. Compared to the other models, the Freelander 2 seemed dated with its upright shape. There are similar cues it attained from Land Rover, like the floating roof, the squared-off bonnet, and the daytime running lights and grilles make it seem fresh. Soft-touch materials and metal trim inside the cabin make it feel like a high-quality purchase.
Freelander 2 TD4_e (2008)
Land Rover presented the new Freelander at the Paris Auto Show as an efficient fuel option to the model options of the era. The fuel savings came from using the combination of a diesel engine with a stop/start system. The carbon emissions of the Freelander 2 TD4_e have reduced by eight per cent compared to the manual diesel Freelander 2. The fuel consumption improved from a level of 7.493 to 6.84 litres per 100 kilometres. Rover engineers measured the fuel savings to be an estimated 20 per cent.
The Land Rover start/stop system improves fuel efficiency within the urban environment. The car immediately shuts down in the right conditions resulting in minimal tailpipe emissions and saving the fuel, which would otherwise have been wasted during idling when stationary. When the driver is ready to go, then the engine re-starts.
Freelander 2 ED4 (2011)
The ED4 was Land Rover's first two-wheel-drive model in the market. The four-wheel-drive model came with a combined fuel economy of 6.195 litres per 100 km. By setting the drive to the rear wheels, the ED4 returns 5.985 and emissions of 158 g/km. The steering is quite light, as the twisty roads are not its favourite. There is an issue concerning the 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine option in a car that weighs almost 2 tons. It may feel underpowered. The six-speed Getrag M66EH50 manual gearbox is smooth, though, and the acceleration is moderately responsive.