Freelander - practical luxury

  • Month in and Freelander is making ownership a pleasure
  • Top of the range model reveals its hugely practical side
  • But ensures its luxury nature is not forgotten too

The Land Rover Freelander is proving an extremely effective set of wheels.

At the tail end of the winter blast it proved that when the roads get covered in snow and ice the four-wheel drive system can make the difference between getting home and sliding off the road into a ditch.

With the weather improving the Freelander’s more practical nature is coming to the fore. Firstly the boot is not only large at 755 litres (that’s bigger than a Volvo XC60 and Audi Q5) but the box shape of the boot means large tall items can fit in without the need to drop the rear seats.

My two large garden refuse sacks defeat most car boots due to their height and width but both sit side-by-side without the need for rear seat lowering. It’s an impressive trick as some 4x4s manage one bag but it tends to be the large off-roaders that can accommodate both just in the boot space.

Through winter the luxury side of the Freelander’s nature came to the fore. The front seats are heated and quickly warm up, and to keep hands warm there is a heated steering wheel (something previously only found on the bigger, posher Ranger Rover).

The only downside is that the heated seats only have two settings so when the temp is chilly rather than freezing then the seats can be too hot so you have to alternate between on and off.

When it comes to driving the Freelander’s real forte is as a relaxed and comfortable cruiser. On long motorway and dual carriageway trips it is proving to be a really effective distance machine. Even after a long drive to Edinburgh I felt fresh and relaxed.

The auto box handles the acceleration require to join from slip roads into the faster moving traffic, and overtaking slower lorries and cars towing caravans is just a right foot flex away.

The leather clad seats (front and rear) prove both comfortable and supportive, plus the front seats have an armrest and plenty of adjustment for your own bespoke seating position.

There is also a memory function to save up to three positions – ideal if more than one person drives the Freelander regularly. All these functions come as standard on the HSE Lux as does the twin sunroofs which helps make the cabin space more roomy and airy, though only the front sunroof opens.It all helps deliver a premium feel to the top-of-the-range Freelander.

Another upside of steady cruising is fuel consumption improves to an indicated average of 34-35mpg, not far off the manufacturer’s claimed 40mpg average.

Trying to hustle the Freelander along more twisty roads is something that it can manage especially with the pulling power of the diesel engine. The 'Sport' mode on the automatic helps here and the throttle is quick to respond.

However, the car’s handling is not really designed for this type of behaviour and when it comes to a quick stop the car’s weight really tests the brakes.

The Freelander is no fatty but at 1850kgs is heavier than some rivals such as the VW Tiguan (1604kgs). The upside is that it makes a very handy towing vehicle (weight helps aid stability) especially for the likes of horse boxes and caravans thanks to a braked towing weight of up to 2000kgs.

The Freelander HSE Lux also comes with tow hitch assist, a rear view parking camera with visual guidelines to help steer and line up the car with the trailer. It helps make a one-person hitch up of a trailer much more straight forward and hassle free.

What do you make of your car? Tell others what your car is like to live with and get your review published on Parkers here.

Total mileage: 6,468 miles

Average mpg: 32.8mpg