2007 Land Rover Freelander 2 review

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2007 Land Rover Freelander 2 Review

Test car: 2.2 SE TD4 Automatic

CarAdvice Rating:

Recommended Retail Price: $51,990

by Karl Peskett

“All hail the mighty cow.” They’re the best invention ever. Not only do they give us milk, cheese and yoghurt, but we also get meat from them. And there's nothing like chowing down on a good slice of bovine flesh.

Oh yes, I almost forgot; they also give us leather. And the hide for your hide in the new Land Rover Freelander 2 is just wonderful. Soft, cool and comfortable - it's how seats should be.

We took a 2007 SE TD4 model for an 1877km lap around Western Australia’s south-west. Leaving Perth, our destinations were Busselton, Augusta, Walpole, Denmark and Pemberton. Being a rather lengthy trip, some supplies were required. A baby seat, pram, toys, nappies - were all included - and that was just for me.

The Land Rover swallowed up all our luggage, proving that mid-sized doesn't have to mean small. The twin sunroof arrangement meant plenty of light came into the black over ivory interior, and the glasshouse was tall enough for superb visibility. My 18-month-old son was able to see out easily, preventing the boredom (and screaming) of four-hour driving stints setting in.

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Outside, the Freelander 2 is light-years ahead of its dumpy predecessor. The "baby-Disco" look has been achieved while still giving the Freelander its own flavour.

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Setting off, the ride around town is certainly firm, and can be a little hard-edged, but once the speeds rise, so does the comfort level. The trade-off comes with its off-road bent. Using the 4WD-for-dummies knob, the Freelander accurately selects traction-control, gear and rev levels to suit the terrain.

That’s not to say that the rest of the drive is bad. Far from it. The superb (but slightly loud) 2.2-litre diesel is a perfect match to the six-speed automatic which intuitively selects the perfect gear for the conditions. Even when braking, it downshifts like it mind-reads, ready for your command.

This is a wakeup call to all country drivers. Check your mirrors before overtaking.

Things could have easily become a lot worse without swift thinking and smooth driving. While en route from Pemberton to Perth on the Southwestern Highway, two vehicles were travelling in close proximity. The first, a truck; The second, a Daewoo Kalos.

The road straightened out, and continued straight for several kilometres. We approached, doing the speed limit, giving plenty of time for the Daewoo to pull out and get past. But as we got closer, the Daewoo maintained its distance behind the truck. Surely it was just going to sit there.

We accelerated, ready to overtake both vehicles, with comfortable margin. As we pulled out, we got to within two metres of the Daewoo. Suddenly and without warning, they indicated and went to overtake, missing us by centimetres. I didn't even have time to blast the horn. I braked and swung back in, tyres protesting on the limits of adhesion, DSC light blinking on the dash. It hadn't kicked in yet, but was about to. Mr and Mrs Daewoo continued on their merry way, completely oblivious to the swaying, wallowing, squealing four-wheel-drive behind them.

One wrong move and the Land Rover would have rolled. At higher speed, and the Kalos could have been clipped, causing it to spin off the road, killing its occupants. With two tonnes or more of Freelander 2 (at best) roaring up behind you, check your mirrors. Once you're sure that it’s clear in all directions, overtake at will.

But for now, all I can say is, “All hail the mighty cow.” They’re the best invention ever.