BMW X1 2012 review
A minor tizzy and tweak is all the BMW X1 gets for another three years in Australia. There is an...
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Mud drips from the roof of our Freelander. A passerby points it out to his wife: ‘They’ve been somewhere fun.’ Indeed we have. When taking Land Rover’s new Freelander off road there is little to limit your journey (except for a stubborn horse that wouldn’t get out of our way).
TheFreelander may be a compact SUV, but it will do its best to keep up with the big boys. Dressed enough for the city streets, it truly comes alive in the bush. Through various terrain testing over the week we came to one conclusion: when you climb in a Freelander and turn off-road - adventure will follow.
Land Rover’s Freelander 2 SD4 SE, priced from $56,810 comes with 18-in alloy wheels, Intelligent Power System Management for more economic battery charging, full size spare wheel, parking aids, Bluetooth, audio input socket, rain sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control, heated exterior mirrors, bright finish twin bar grille, adjustable wheel mounted audio and cruise, electronic folding side mirrors when the vehicle is parked, six-way adjustable driver seat, push button start/stop, trip computer, and perimetric security system.
With 140kW/420Nm the 2.2-litre SD4 diesel engine has plenty of oomph off-road and on. The six-speed automatic transmission is seamless, but if you think you can do better, engage CommandShift and have a go at beating Freelander’s take off of 0-100km/h in 9.5 seconds.
When you’re not tackling trails, the official fuel figure is an impressive 7.0L/100km, though our scoot off road and through the mountains found 9.5L/100km, not bad considering the terrain.
Smaller than its Land Rover brothers, this compact SUV can still push through water at depths up to 500mm, tow up to twotonnes, and clear obstacles with axel clearance up to 210mm in front and 265mm in back.
And with the assistance of Terrain Response’s four modes, and front and rear independent suspension, you’ll find a surprisingly stable ride. After dusting off on your way home, the Freelander’s smaller dimensions make it very capable in busy city driving, and hunting for the elusive parking spot, all while having enough room to accommodate five adults and gear.
The exterior of the Freelander has the classic Land Rover look. True to its strong lineage, it’s stylish, but not flashy. Internally however, this 4x4 has a soft side.
The interior design is clean and gives the cabin an open feeling. Keeping with this, the back seats are 50mm higher than in front. The stadium seating lets those in back enjoy a clearer view, and the middle seat converts to an armrest with cup holders. With a choice of interior colors, wheel design, and a score of available accessories you can tailor the Freelander to match your taste.
Heated front seats, a six-way adjustable driver seat, and an adjustable steering wheel and armrest will make anyone feel at home behind the wheel. Wheel mounted cruise, audio, and Bluetooth add to the driver’s control, though the spacing of the buttons are a bit awkward.
You can plug in an iPhone or MP3 player, but without an accessory cord you can’t use the vehicle’s controls to skip tracks, and it’s a shame in this high a model that the Bluetooth connectivity only works for calls.
The back seats fold to a 60:40 split, transforming the 755L of storage into 1, 670L of room for larger items, and the 12V power socket in back can keep an esky full of food ready for a picnic.
The dash display is more uniform in design than user friendly, but once you puzzle out the numerous functions you’ll feel like a tech expert. Our test vehicle included the touchscreen satellite navigation system. At extra cost it’s a steep addition, but handy if you’re going to be driving beyond the familiar horizon.
The Freelander gets a five-star ANCAP safety rating, with seven airbags, a monocoque body, front and rear crumple zones, a large battery of braking, stability and traction aids -- HDC, ABS, EBD, CBC, EBA, ETC, RSC, DSC and so on -- plus two child seat anchor points.
To be honest there wasn’t much about this SUV we didn’t like. Descending a steep gravel road did little to disturb the twenty roos grazing at the road’s edge, as the Freelander’s hill descent control kept us from sliding.
The HDC is handy on difficult terrain and it can be engaged at speeds up to 50km/h, using the cruise + and – to set the speed, though on anything short of moderate difficulty the HDC is almost too grabby. Still, we’d rather have the HDC overprotective than too carefree on tough descents.
Terrain Response allows you to easily pick the right setting for current conditions. We played around with the grass/gravel/snow, and the mud and ruts settings and weren’t disappointed (there’s also a sand setting if you want to brave the beach in winter, or if you’re smarter this time of year and want to trek across the desert instead). The vehicle’s traction quickly adjusts to the road -- or lack thereof -- and you can drive on in confidence.
The Freelander 2 is at home on the motorway as well as off, roll stability control compensates for any smidgen of body roll, and the compact size makes parking easy. While you wouldn’t use this in any stealth operation due to the external noise from the engine, internally it’s a quiet ride.
Follow your friends on a 4x4 adventure and once you reach your destination, turn off the Freelander’s engine, step from your heated seats, pull a cool beverage from the esky in back, and try to pretend it was a rough drive in a compact SUV, so your mates aren’t disappointed.
An impressive compact SUV, the comfortable and versatile Land Rover can handle just about anything.
|HSE (4X4)||2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$23,600 – 32,010||2012 Land Rover Freelander 2 2012 HSE (4X4) Pricing and Specs|
|HSE Limited Edition (4x4)||2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$24,000 – 32,560||2012 Land Rover Freelander 2 2012 HSE Limited Edition (4x4) Pricing and Specs|
|SD4 HSE (4X4)||2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$23,100 – 31,350||2012 Land Rover Freelander 2 2012 SD4 HSE (4X4) Pricing and Specs|
|SD4 HSE Luxury (4x4)||2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$25,100 – 33,330||2012 Land Rover Freelander 2 2012 SD4 HSE Luxury (4x4) Pricing and Specs|
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