Review: Land Rover Freelander 2 TD4 SE
Think sub-Rs 50 lakh SUV, think German badging. Now, there’s a Brit alternative, made in India too
This is not the next-gen Freelander. That car is still prowling the back roads under cover of camouflage. But it’s going to be a long time before it comes to a dealership near you.
For now, what we have here is a face-lifted version of the Freelander 2 that we drove in Canada last December. It’s the cheapest LR you can get and it’s assembled in India, at the JLR facility in Pune.
Like its earlier generation, the Freelander 2 is available with only one diesel engine with two sets of tune – 148bhp and 188bhp. We have the TD4 SE here, which puts out a modest 148bhp and 420Nm out of a 2.2-litre diesel block. Now, for an SUV this big, 148bhp might not sound like much, but that won’t bother you as long as you don’t get too enthusiastic. Still, if you do, you might miss the extra punch that you get in the 188bhp version.
If you rev the motor past its comfort zone – over 3,500rpm – it tends to get audible inside the cabin. Despite that, the vibrations are pretty much under control.
A six-speed automatic gearbox transfers the power to all four wheels. It feels a bit old-school compared to the seven- and eight-speed ones found in its German rivals. But the Freelander does have one thing that the Germans don’t – a Terrain Response System to deal with matters when the tarmac ends.
With that old-school gearbox, the fuel efficiency figures are not brag-worthy, but they’re not bad either. On the highway, the Freelander will go 13.1 kilometres for every litre of diesel and 9.9 in the city. The 0-100kph drill is done in 10.69 seconds on its way to a top whack of 180kph.
Most things on the Freelander are designed to make sure nothing stops the car once it ventures off the road. The steering, for instance, which is light and has very few rotations lock to lock. But on the road, it doesn’t weigh up as much as you’d like. It’s communicative and you can feel that around the bends.
The ride is on the stiffer side by SUV standards but there is evident body roll. The suspension shouts on sharp bumps and potholes, making a bad-road ride a noisy affair. For its size, the Freelander handles quite well at sane speeds, and will go in the direction you point it in without much fuss.
The updated Freelander has a new face with new headlamps, daytime running lights and redesigned front and rear bumpers. Inside, there are changes that make the cabin look simpler yet more contemporary. The dial that lets you choose the off-road setting in the Terrain Response System has been ditched in favour of a strip that has two buttons on either side that let you choose the terrain. The dash gets two dials for speed and revs, and a digital display for the fuel gauge, temperature and gear position. And two dials on the centre console to take you through the multimedia system.
With the update, the Freelander again looks modern and a pleasant change after the dated looks of its predecessor. It’s also easier on the pocket after JLR decided to assemble it in India, thus avoiding the extra tax burden. The cheapest baby LR will set you back Rs 46.99 lakh (on-road, Mumbai) for the TD4 SE variant. With that pricing, new features and solid off-roading capability, the Freelander gives you a good reason to take your eyes off the Germans.
4cyl, 2179cc, 148bhp, 420Nm, diesel, AWD, 6A, 0-100kph – 10.69sec, 30-50kph – 1.93sec, 50-70kph – 2.40sec, 80-0kph – 26.78m, 2.40s, 11.5kpl, 180kph, Rs 46.99 lakh (on-road, Mumbai)
One LR that doesn’t need very deep pockets to own. It’s backed by great off-roading skills too.