“The soft-roader for genuine 4WD tracks.” All the reviews I read prior to purchase said “a genuine Land Rover off-road”. I have a 2011 base-model 2.2 diesel, auto ’box (six-speed). It’s very, very comfortable on the highway at legal speeds, and would be equally comfy at illegal speeds. This is most notable if you’re doing over 500km in a day – one isn’t exhausted. Off-road (as in nasty fire trails) it’s remarkable – unfussed. (Note: I spent 13 years driving Toyota 4WDs, including bushfire fighting.)
Another owner commented, “off-road it’s almost too good, does everything for you”. With diff-locks it would be even more capable. Off-road, as in long WA gravel, it’s comfy 30km/h faster than most things. (It’s easy to creep up to 110km/h on gravel and feel confident, and not disturb the wife).
The off-road limitation is clearance – particularly on sand. Every time (three times only) I’ve had it stuck it’s been because of ‘belly flop’. If one wheel got traction it just walked out. The wading depth of 50cm (indicated by the black sill) has been found to be a slight underestimation. (Incidentally, the Evoque uses the same chassis and motors, just a more fashionable skin, and actually has a few more millimetres of clearance. But if you’ve got kids for the back seat, the rear-seat visibility in the Freelander 2 is much better. Stadium seating in both cars helps the rear passenger.)
I’ve had no trouble – a rear electric window went weird and fixed itself, ditto the door lock on the same door. Nothing else and 120,000km done.
While I like the Discovery Sport (Freelander 3), I’ve concluded that to replace this one, I’d actually like a last-of-the-line Freelander 2 with 140kW motor and nine-speed auto. The lower first would take you some impressive places. Highest ninth should get good economy. The angles on the Freelander 2 are better than the Disco Sport. (But, if I was rich I’d get a Jaguar I-Pace!)
It’s also good for towing: rated at two tonnes and hardly notices the weight. Note: an ARB 50mm box towbar is better (and cheaper) than the 40mm ‘genuine LR part’, if only for interchangeability.
Recommended subject to use history and service records. One that has done some long trips might be in better/cheaper fettle than one confined to the school run (better for the diesel, particularly on the intake side).
Tyres are a bit ‘rare-bear’ for 18-inch rims; 17-inch rims have an abundance of choice (probably better for Oz, actually). We’ve found Pirelli Scorpion Zeros (the off-road ones, not the ‘Verde’) are the best for comfort/handling/off-road traction. They don’t wear as well – it’s grip versus wear – and need rotation more often or the rear tyres get noisy. For some reason, these tyres are also brilliant on slippery slopes, as well as braking distance.
We don’t like it, we love it!