New Freelander gets lots fancier
Land Rover’s facelifted mid-ranger is dragged upmarket
Since Land Rover's rammed even more luxury stuff into the new Range Rover - and found enormous sales success with the Evoque - it looks like it's time to drag the rest of the fleet up to a similar benchmark. Yep, what you're looking at it is the facelifted Freelander 2 - LR's middling off-roader beloved of the underfunded yummy mummy set.
Minor styling tweaks and the inevitable Xenon LED appendages join a fancy new centre console with a seven-inch colour touch-screen audio interface, phone, and optional navi kit. Another five-inch colour screen sits between the instrument dials in the instrument binnacle, and the docking station for the key gets replaced by a keyless go system so you can keep the keys in your pocket. Or put in the cupholder for it to inexplicably disappear under the passenger seat.
A series of switches also replaces the off-road terrain knob thingy behind the gearstick, which frees up extra storage space. Spec the electric handbrake and there's even more room for empty travel sweets tins. There's also a rear-view camera and "Say What You See" voice activation to control some of the audio, sat-nav, climate and phone functions (that everyone will assume doesn't work and never, ever use).
Two new trim levels join current S, GS, XS, and HSE lineup - Dynamic and HSE Lux. The former's largely inspired by the Evoque (it also has a Dynamic trim level) and includes painted gloss black 19-inch rims, a bodykit and gloss black trim outside.
HSE Lux is top of the tree and gets Windsor leather chairs, thick carpet mats, piano-black lacquered finish inside, 19-inch diamond-cut alloys and a massive great big 825-watt 17-speaker Meridian audio system.
Engines are all existing stock, with the same lineup as before: a 2.2 litre turbodiesel with 148 bhp or 187 bhp. There's also a 2WD option on the less powerful lump.
All in all an undeniably wise strategy, which will undoubtedly put many more Freelanders onto impeccably asphalted roads around the world. Are you excited about listening to FM on an 825-watt 17-speaker Meridian audio system, TopGear.commers?