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Land Rover Freelander 2 2007 review

Land Rover's Freelander 2 is nothing like the original.

That's a good thing because it was something of a problem child.

We hear those people who bought one are actually quite fond of them but, unfortunately, we don't share those sentiments.

The first Freelander lacked any real off-road ability and was, for the most part, under-powered while the interior decor incorporated plenty of nasty hard plastic.

It's no wonder then that when it came to the replacement, Land Rover's designers decided to scrap the whole thing and start with a clean slate.

Freelander 2 is new from the ground up with no carry over parts from the original, apart from design cues like the clam shell bonnet.

Even the badge adorning the front radiator grille has been changed.

If anything, Freelander 2 looks more like a mini Range Rover than its predecessor with its neat, square but rather conservative styling.

That fits well with Land Rover's plans for the car because it has tried to take it up-market to compete in what it describes as the 'emerging' premium compact off-road segment.

Until now BMW's X3 has had the running almost to itself, but as well as the new Freelander there are several more competitors to come in the near future.

Prices for the new model start at $49,990 and it's a rather impressive debut.

That figure gets you a 3.2-litre six-cylinder Volvo engine, six-speed automatic, leather upholstery, climate air conditioning and a long list of standard gear.

There is a fuel-saving 2.2-litre Peugeot diesel but it has a $2000 premium.

Both versions are fitted with the Japanese Aisin auto, which includes a manual change mode.

Although a six-speed manual is offered with the diesel overseas, we will not be getting it here.

Land Rover is not saying how much it has spent on Freelander's development, but it produced 150 prototypes in a 30-month period that it tested over four continents.

We were invited to test both petrol and diesel versions of the five-seat wagon in the back lots of  Gold Coast this week.

It was slightly larger in all dimensions than the previous model and this is particularly noticeable inside where driver and passenger are no longer rubbing shoulders.

There is slightly more rear leg room and the boot capacity has increased, although some load space has obviously been sacrificed for a full-size spare which sits under the floor.

On the road the new Freelander offers a refined ride, with a little body roll at low speeds but can be driven hard with confidence over dirt or bitumen roads.

Predominantly front-wheel drive, the all-wheel drive system automatically sends power to the rear wheels as needed.

We were particularly impressed with the strong performance offered by the in-line six, with 171kW of power and 317Nm of torque.

It has a nice rasp under hard acceleration and sprints from 0-100km/h in 8.9 seconds, with fuel consumption rated at 11.2 litres/100km.

However, the diesel remains the more practical alternative with 118kW of power and 400Nm of torque as it delivers 8.5 litres/100km.

It is expected to account for up to 65 per cent of sales.

Off-road the new Freelander has plenty of electronic aids to compensate for the lack of low range gearing. Ground clearance is 210mm and the vehicle has a wading depth of 500mm, with dial in 'terrain response' to suit a variety of driving conditions - just like the Discovery and Ranger Rover.

The Freelander comes with seven airbags including a knee bolster, it was also awarded a maximum five stars in Australian crash safety tests.


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Range and Specs

HSE (4X4) 2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $9,500 – 12,990 2007 Land Rover Freelander 2 2007 HSE (4X4) Pricing and Specs
SE (4X4) 3.2L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $6,900 – 10,990 2007 Land Rover Freelander 2 2007 SE (4X4) Pricing and Specs
SE TD4 (4X4) 2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $8,800 – 13,310 2007 Land Rover Freelander 2 2007 SE TD4 (4X4) Pricing and Specs
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