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Second coming

Land Rover’s new SUV, the Freelander 2, comes from a distinguished lineage of mean machines. But how good is it actually?

autos Updated: Dec 09, 2009 20:25 IST
Ashish Masih

Talk about a tough gig. When you belong to the same family that has given the world its first luxury SUV, then expectations are obviously going to be sky high. The fact that your main rival is an Audi that is selling well, doesn’t help matters either.

That’s probably how the Freelander 2, Land Rover’s compact SUV, which goes on sale this month, feels about itself. It sure has its work cut out in the Indian market.

With its bold headlamps, big grille, sharp detailing and an upright no-nonsense stance, the Freelander 2 looks attractive.

There’s just one engine on offer — a 158 bhp 2.2-litre diesel — which is as quiet at idle as any in the class. Power feels a bit flat at low revs but there’s plenty of punch once the turbocharger kicks in, and there is loads of pulling power as well. Power is transmitted via a six-speed auto. The car is also quick off the mark, getting from 0-100 kph in 11.20 sec.

The Freelander 2 is brilliant at ironing out bumps on the road. It delivers a ride quality that manages to absorb patchworked roads with great ease. Although the body leans as you turn into a corner, the car normally feels composed. The steering is accurate, but could do with a bit more weight and feel at higher speeds. You also get Land Rover’s Terrain Response system, which lets you optimise the car for different surface conditions via a simple rotary knob. This system adjusts not only the four-wheel-drive system but also the throttle and gearbox. You also get other useful features such as hill descent where the brakes automatically come into effect when coming down a steep gradient.

Step inside the Freelander’s cabin and the high-set driving position and flat bonnet translate to excellent vision. Rear vision is great, too, due to the immense amount of glass at the rear. The black-on-black centre console buttons can be difficult to tell apart at a glance.

Front seat occupants get plenty of head- and legroom. Rear seat occupants sit high as well but knee space is not adequate in the rear. The boot is small compared to rivals and suffers from wheelarch intrusion, and the high floor means you might struggle to lift heavy items in. The rear seats do split and fold 60/ 40 though, and lie flat, which means a lot of useful space.

Land rover freelander 2

Top speed: 181 kph
Price: Rs 57.44 lakh (on-road, Mumbai)
Length: 4,500 mm
Width: 2,180 mm
Height: 1,740 mm
Wheelbase: 2,660 mm
Kerb weight: 1,775 kg
Engine: 2,179 cc, 4 cyls in-line, common-rail direct injection, turbodiesel
Installation: Front, transverse all-wheel drive
Bore/Stroke: 85.0/ 96.0
Power: 158 bhp at 4,000 rpm
Torque: 40.78 kgm at 2,000 rpm
Power to weight: 89.01 bhp per tonne
Compression ratio: 16.5:1
Gearbox: 6-speed automatic
Fuel tank: 68 litres
Brakes F/R: 300 mm ventilated discs/ 302 mm solid discs
Tyre size F/R: 235/ 65 R17