Published on June 25th, 2011 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Land Rover FREELANDER 2 TD4 Gets A Facelift
There is no denying the fact that Land Rover is the first name that comes to mind when talking about all wheel terrain vehicles. Obviously, being the first civilian all-terrain vehicle had a lot to do with this. Now sixty years old, the company, along with its first pioneering model of the same name – Land Rover – has gained a reputation which transcends the typical image one has of diesel-burning four wheel drives. Technology and the willingness to capitalise on it have allowed the company to go beyond making crude machines that comes short in refinement and passenger comfort.
Now, Land Rover and other models made by the company is somewhat of a magical act. While it comes packed with numerous gadgets that seem more at home in an upmarket family sedan, it off-road capabilities are still what sets Land Rover vehicles apart from the rest.
When the Freelander was first introduced in 1997, it quickly became a hot-seller in Europe. The company not only met the demands of existing fans with this all-new model, but more importantly gained new grounds as the car was cleverly positioned to be an entry level four-wheel drive vehicle that is suited to the needs of a bigger customer base. This compact SUV may be inadequate compared to the all-conquering nature of its bigger brothers namely the Discovery and Land Rover, but gave a performance miles ahead of the easy-going Toyota RAV4s and Honda CRVs. This latest version sits closer to the Audi Q5, Volvo XC60 and the VW Tiguan. All good well accomplished SUV’s but non come with the heritage and pedigree of the Land Rover Freelander. Take them all offroad and we are quite sure this Freelander will take the chequered flag with ease.
True enough, it is easy to appreciate what the Freelander 2 TD4 has to offer. The modern design provides a true representation of its character that is not out of place in the jungle or on city roads. The exterior has a frame that features hard chiselled lines – particularly for the grille, wheel arch flares and bonnet line – and the broad stance indicates of stability. But the perception one gets once inside the cabin hints of the total opposite. The new high quality leather on all seats and door panels feels luxurious while the dashboard gives off an air off high-end luxury. The only indication of the Freelander’s tough nature is the large, easy to read control buttons.
Powered by a 2.2 litre turbo diesel motor, the engine pushes out 160hp at 4000rpm and a mighty 400Nm of torque at a low 2000rpm. The Freelander 2 TD4 displays its first signs of superiority even without moving as the motor idles in near total silence and vibration free, characters that are still not entirely aligned with diesel engines. Its acceleration is quite brisk; according to manufacturer’s claim the TD4 will do 0-100kmh in 11.2 seconds, not bad for a 4×4 that weighs more than 1700kg and running on 18-inch alloys. The six speed gearbox is smooth as well and uses all of the torque very wisely with decisive gear ratio changes, and effectively avoids gear hunting.
The Freelander really is a gem on the highway as the speedometer climbs to 170km/h effortlessly and its suspension does a superb job in soaking up road imperfections with the large and wide new alloy wheels shod with a wider footprint. There is slight wind noise at this illegal speed, but nothing too obtrusive courtesy of the TD4’s aerodynamic profile. The Freelander is very much a competent cruiser as the automatic climate control keeps the cabin cool, further complemented by the comfortable driving position and wide field-of-view. All-wheel traction is crucial when tackling rough terrain and also windy roads. On our journey up to the Highlands this feature manifested truly well on the many corners we met. The trick is to remain committed but sensible on the approach – brake early to avoid understeer and flooring it at the exit, as the dampers get further into its travel. There is a gradual and slight loss of steering feel as you go deeper into lock but otherwise you have ample realisation of what’s happening on the front tyres.
Overall, the new Freelander 2 TD4 is at the top of its game as a premium 4×4. Despite a sticker price of RM271,388, you will find it does everything than any other SUV can do but do it way better. It is big without being bulky and performs brilliantly on paved roads or otherwise.
Specifications Land Rover Freelander 2 TD4 HSE
Engine: 4-cylinder inline
Power: 160hp @ 4000rpm
Torque: 400Nm @ 2000rpm
Transmission: 6-speed Auto
Top Speed: 181km/h
0-100km/h: 11.2 secs