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  • Punchy performance from new Si4 turbo petrol; improved centre console; Meridian sound systems; benchmark off-road capability; practicality; interior space
  • Styling changes subtle at best; interior still not up to Audi quality; fuel consumption higher than expected for Si4

OUR RATING
7 / 10



2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review
2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review
2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review

It may have been largely forgotten in the hype of its more glamorous sister, the Range Rover Evoque, but the success of the updated Land Rover Freelander 2 remains crucial to the iconic British brand in the lead-up to the launch of a new-generation model in 2015.

Land Rover’s smallest model, the Freelander was originally launched in 1997 and achieved instant success as the world’s first premium compact SUV. The model notched up sales of over 540,000 units before being replaced by the second-generation version in 2006.

Updated in 2009 following continued showroom success, Land Rover Freelander 2 sales remained consistent to 2011 with around 47,000 cars rolling off the Halewood production line each year, and 2012 is set to become even bigger, with sales set to exceed 50,000 units.

The 2013 Freelander 2 update brings several styling tweaks, an interior makeover and a new 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine in a refresh Land Rover hopes will provide enough of a boost to ward off challenges from both premium and non-premium competition such as the Audi Q3 and updated Q5Volkswagen TiguanVolvo XC60 and even the Evoque itself.

2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review
2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review
2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review
2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review

You’ll need a keen eye to spot the styling revisions to the exterior of the Freelander, as they are subtle at best.

Most noticeable are the front and rear lamps that now incorporate LED technology, and there’s a new signature graphic for the front running lights. Less obvious is the bright finish to the grille and fog lamp surrounds, together with minor detailing enhancements to the grille surround and front guard vents.

The interior is where most of the effort has been focused with the 2013 update, with several features borrowed from Evoque.

There’s a new-look centre console that boasts an electric parking brake, while the original Terrain Response dial has been replaced with easy-to-use flush-mounted buttons, freeing up more space for storage – something lacking in the outgoing Freelander.

The instrument cluster has also been revamped with a new five-inch screen displaying vehicle data like temperature and fuel levels, gear positions and Terrain Response mode, sitting between the twin display dials. Steering wheel toggle switches operate several easy-to-read drop-down menus and set-up instructions. It’s all very intuitive.

There’s push-button start across the entire Land Rover Freelander 2 line-up replacing the old-school key docking system employed by the previous iteration.

A reversing camera is now standard across all but the entry-level Freelander 2 TD4 manual and features a marvellous bit of technology that allows drivers to accurately guide the vehicle’s tow ball into the perfect docking position.

2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review
2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review
2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review
2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review

Also new to Freelander for 2013 is a 380-watt Meridian sound system with 11 speakers and subwoofer for lower and mid-spec variants, while the range-topping SD4 HSE Luxury boasts a more powerful 825-watt 17-speaker Meridian unit.

There’s also a revised satellite navigation system with seven-inch touchscreen available as an option on all but the top-spec HSE models where it’s standard. It’s a cleverly integrated unit that also features step-by-step prompts for the ‘Say What You See’ voice activation system.

Bluetooth phone and music streaming is also standard across the entire 2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 line-up.

Additional features include auto-dimming rear-view mirror, seven airbags (including driver’s knee), power-folding side mirrors and approach lamps, rear parking sensors, 18-inch alloy wheels (19-inch on HSE models), full-size spare wheel and climate control.

While interior space remains unchanged from the outgoing Freelander, the rear seats have been lifted for a stadium seating experience.

The 177kW/340Nm Si4 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged powerplant joins the Land Rover Freelander 2 line-up as the only petrol engine in an otherwise an all-diesel family. It’s almost identical to the one used in the Evoque.

Land Rover’s decision to downsize its petrol engine from an inline-six offers a few key advantages. Not only is the new engine 40kg lighter than the Si6 unit it replaces, CO2 emissions are also down by a claimed 14 per cent to 224g/km.

2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review
2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review
2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review
2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review

At $55,600 (before on-road costs) the new 2.0-litre Si4 SE slots into the Freelander line-up as a mid-level variant just above the $54,100 TD4 SE.

That’s less than the 155kW Audi Q3 2.0 TSFI ($56,000), as well as the 180kW BMW X1 28i ($58,200).

The location for our test drive of the 2013 Land Rover Freelander was a brutally cold forest region in Quebec Canada, where temperatures dipped as low as minus 17 degrees Celsius – that’s bloody cold.

Just getting to the forest provided a suitable challenge for the latest Freelander. Freezing temperatures, snow and rain had turned the roads into one-half ice rink and one-half icy slush pit.

High-speed freeway travel required us to engage the Grass-Gravel-Snow setting on the Terrain Response system and we ploughed through 120km without so much as a single wheel spin from the Continental winter tyres.

Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, the Freelander’s new four-cylinder drivetrain cruises at 110km/h effortlessly and with very low noise levels heard inside the cabin.

Turbocharging ensures there’s plenty of torque on tap from 2000rpm, providing plenty of punch for safe high-speed overtaking – even in these conditions.

2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review
2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review
2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review
2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review

Progress from rest is equally brisk with the new Freelander able to sprint from 0-100km/h in 8.8 seconds. Top speed is 200km/h.

High-speed stability is good too, even on the snow-encrusted freeways. The hydraulic power steering is weighty without being too so, and it’s quick to respond from the dead centre.

That combination of excellent noise insulation, refinement and strong linear power delivery throughout the entire rev range makes it all too easy to forget you’re driving a four-cylinder Freelander. It’s far more like a six in this regard.

Fitted with 19-inch alloys our Freelander Si4 HSE provided a firm-ish ride over less than perfect road surfaces, but without being uncomfortable. The standard 18-inch wheels offered a slightly suppler ride over the same surface.

For 2013 the Land Rover Freelander gets a structural under tray on the front sub-frame for extra body stiffness. Although tight corners were few and far between in the Canadian wilderness, the Freelander displayed minimal body roll through high-speed freeway curves.

The Land Rover Freelander has always been deceptively capable off-road, and the combination of mud- and slush-infested forest trails was easily managed by its full-time four-wheel-drive system. Even with two wheels in the air, traction was maintained to those wheels on the ground.

Several tracks had iced-up completely, but again, the electronic wizardry of Land Rover’s Terrain Response system ensured that there was little if any wheel spin during the icy ascent.

2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review
2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review
2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review

In off-road conditions, though, the 2.2-litre diesel Freelander proved easier to manage with more low-down torque than the turbo petrol model.

Combined fuel consumption for the new four-cylinder Land Rover Freelander was higher than expected, with the trip computer reading 14.1L/100km after an initial 130km route.

That’s significantly higher than Land Rover’s official claim of 9.6L/100km. In contrast, the 110kW/420Nm diesel Freelander achieved 8.8L/100km over the same route and in the same conditions.

The Land Rover Freelander earns a five-star ANCAP crash test rating and comes standard with seven airbags, dynamic stability control, anti-locking braking with electronic brake force distribution and cornering brake control, roll stability control and engine drag control.

The latest Land Rover Freelander 2 is a hugely capable compact SUV, offering more refinement, punchy on-road performance with the new Si4 petrol, and standout off-road capability in a family-friendly package.


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LAND ROVER FREELANDER 2 BREAKDOWN

2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review
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  • Henry Toussaint

     I like this better then Evoque only because it has better Off-Road Ability..

    • Joe

       ……I like it better because the square load area is more useful…..off-road it is exactly the same as the Evoque…..

      • Henry Toussaint

        the Freelander It has better Ground Clearance

        • Mat

          Hate to tell you mate… the Evoque actually has the better clearance even if only by 12mm. 

    • Igomi Watabi

      And isn’t vomit-inducing to look at.

    • Pro346

      No low range….just another soft roader,grand vitara is the only true compact suv with real off road credentials

      • Golfmother

        hahhaha get real .

        • Pro346

          im guessing you havent ever done any real off roading! a jimny would walk all over this thing! it has low range.

          • Golfmother

            And topple over on its side , unsafe at any speed , done plenty in my bro’s disco .

          • Pro346

            then you would know low range gearing is necessary…and good off road tyres are a huge help

          • Skybreak

            A Disco is very capable but is hardly a compact offroader. Pro346 is correct – the Vitara and Jimny are both very capable off-roaders due to their ladder-frame chassis and thanks to having a transfer case that allows low range.
            The FreeLander is quite capable, but if don’t under estimate what the Suzuki’s can do.

      • Igomi Watabi

        you people REALLY need to read some of the reviews of these cars. The Freelander is widely lauded for its remarkable off-road ability. Part 2, much to Golfmother’s dismay, is quite true, however. The Grand Vitara is also lauded by the off-road media as a great off-road car. Which is why Wheels magazine hates the Diesel Grand Vitara and 4×4 Australia hero-worships it.

  • SSV

    Anthony, you may wish to update the article regarding the previous petrol engine – it was an inline 6, not V6 as mentioned.

    • Anthony

       Thanks for that pick-up SSV.

      • SSV

        How did you know my SSV was a ‘pick-up’? (It was.)

      • http://www.facebook.com/kiran.sb.3 Kiran SB

        nice pun

    • Henry Toussaint

       I like the in-line 6 best, usually because it sounds better than the turbo four in my mind…

  • Golfmother

    I still think the upcoming Skoda Engorger will be better suited to offloading than this

  • Anthony

    That will certainly make for an interesting comparison.

  • Ben

    Yawn, only if the running cost of Landover was cheap as Japanese SUVs

  • Ozedude

    Yes, i think the diff is approach angle and here FL2 wins hands down.

Land Rover Freelander 2 Specs

SE LIMITED EDITION : 2.2L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ - 6 SP AUTOMATIC - 4D WAGON
Car Details
Make
LAND ROVER
Model
FREELANDER 2
Variant
SE LIMITED EDITION
Series
LF MY11
Year
2012
Body Type
4D WAGON
Seats
5
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
DIESEL TURBO F/INJ
Engine Size
2.2L
Cylinders
DIESEL TURBO 4
Max. Torque
420Nm @  1750rpm
Max. Power
110kW @  4000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
60.9W/kg
Bore & Stroke
85x96mm
Compression Ratio
16.0
Valve Gear
DUAL OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
6 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
4x4
Final Drive Ratio
3.329
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
DIESEL
Fuel Tank Capacity
68
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
7L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1805
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1740mm
Length
4500mm
Width
2005mm
Ground Clearance
220mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:2000  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11.4
Front Rim Size
7.5x17
Rear Rim Size
7.5x17
Front Tyres
235/65 R17
Rear Tyres
235/65 R17
Wheel Base
2660
Front Track
1601
Rear Track
1614
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Standard Features
Comfort
Automatic Air Con / Climate Control, Power front seat Driver
Control & Handling
17 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Traction Control System, Vehicle Stability Control
Driver
Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Parking Distance Control, Power Steering
Entertainment
Sound System with 6 Speakers
Exterior
Body Kit, Fog Lights - Front, Power Mirrors, Rear Spoiler
Interior
Leather Upholstery, Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Side Front Air Bags
Security
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
7-Q-14
Country of Origin
UNITED KINGDOM