Thursday, October 3, 2013

Used Car Review - Land Rover Freelander (2001-2007)

British SUVs rarely get the spotlight here, and Myk Belmonte gives the chance for this SUV to shine.

2001-2007 Land Rover Freelander

After the Discovery, Land Rover was now aiming at the smallest segment of the SUV market, the compact size. After a market research done in the late 1980s, it concluded that Rover can enter the compact SUV market. With potential partner Honda making their own CR-V, the manufacturer decided to go on its own and the result is the Freelander.

With BMW taking care of development costs, the first generation model was introduced in 1997. Numerous variations can be had including the basic five door, three door, softback (convertible), and commercial body styles. Lack of Rover K18 and KV6 engines led to the discontinuation in 2007, but that was the time for its second generation model to be launched.

PGA Cars sold the Freelander from 2001 until Wellington Soong's group (who sold Jaguars) took the selling responsibilities in 2004. You can purchase one brand new until 2007 with the second generation iteration taking its place.

Value and Costs
If you wish to have a British SUV for less than a million bucks, then the Freelander suits the requirement. One can find a good unit between P800,000-P900,000 but go for something well cared rather than something sloppy but cheap.

Land Rover specialist shops, as well as dedicated online forums, can help you maintain your Rover in excellent shape. Reliability isn't a strong suit, but finding something worry free can be possible. Electrical items and the power windows are the LR's Achilles Heel, so do keep an eye on them.

Exterior and Interior
With the Philippine market having the practical four door, let us talk about this configuration. The window in the cargo area is taller than the ones in the passenger areas. Overall, the Freelander is handsome and rugged without hogging space. Lastly, the rear door opens sideways, which is a disadvantage in parking lots.

Five can fit inside without complaining and room for their gear and cargo at the back is limited. The driver gets a good commanding view and to help him further, the controls are angled upwards. While the audio controls are very small; climate, 4x4 and hill descent buttons are big.

Only one engine arrived, and it is the Rover KV6 2,497cc V6 gasoline that carries 175hp at 6,250rpm and 240Nm at 4,000rpm. There is nothing great with the power plant, since it is neither fast nor fuel friendly. The KV6 wants things slow and quiet, which is a good thing but they could have upped the power. If the diesel was brought in, then things would be different.

Driving Impressions
Definitely the Land Rover would find home on its habitat, off-road trails. This is where the vehicle performs its best especially that permanent four wheel drive comes standard. Going for the pavement, the Freelander exhibits some body rolls and it is clumsy when driven at the twisties. The standard hill descent control operates on first and reverse gears while the adaptive programming adjusts shift points depending on the road situation.

Land Rover did it well on applying their pedigree on a compact SUV, which appealed to prospective buyers who wants something small while having off-road capabilities. Some reliability quirks and bad on-road behavior tarnished this otherwise all around vehicle.

The Good:
  • Stylish
  • Off-road capable
  • Cheap to buy
The Bad:
  • Reliability problems
  • Why no diesel is offered?
  • Not cheap to maintain
The Pick: 2.5 V6

Engine: 2,497cc Rover KV6 V6 gasoline
Power: 175hp @ 6,250rpm
Torque: 240Nm @ 4,000rpm
Fuel Consumption: 5-7km/L (city), 7-9km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Suspension: Front and rear independent McPherson strut

Price (New): P3,000,000 (estimated)
Price (Now): P800,000-P900,000
Rivals: BMW X3
On Sale: 2001-2007

Land Rover Bonifacio Global City - (02) 856-2277

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