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Land Rover Freelander
Land Rover’s facelifted Freelander follows the brand’s inexorable move up-market. The cabin is now a very pleasant place to be, but don’t expect any improvement in running costs

Land Rover Freelander 2 2.2 SD4 HSE LUX 190hp Auto 

What is it?

IT’S a facelifted Land Rover Freelander, with a focus on upping the luxury and equipment in the cabin and tweaking the styling, rather than cleaning up the engine range.

New xenon headlamps and LED taillights mark out the new facelifted Land Rover Freelander and the cabin has been tidied up with fewer buttons and a slightly more up-market feel. The engines and platform are identical, following an update in 2011, so don’t expect too many differences in the way it drives. Or the company car tax you’ll pay.

We’re trying the range-topping HSE Lux model powered by the 187bhp SD4 diesel engine, which comes in at almost £40,000.

Land Rover Freelander 2
This is where you’ll really notice the difference. Leather seats in the range-topping test car are as good to sit in as to look at. Equipment levels are high, and everything is accessible and easy to use

What’s hot?

  • The new look is subtle but the classy new graphic in the headlights really helps to modernise the facelifted Land Rover Freelander. It’s still understated, though, cutting a very different image from turning up in an Evoque.
  • The cabin is a much nicer place to spend time, too. The centre console is no longer a mess of buttons, which makes it a lot easier to use. Our top-spec model came with luxurious Windsor leather seats, which are incredibly comfortable.
  • The suspension is unchanged from pre-facelift models but that doesn’t matter when it’s so good already. It rides softly over bumpy roads, making it perfect for long journeys.
  • The Land Rover Freelander is a capable tow car, with the ability to tow a braked trailer weighing 2000kg.
  • And of course it’s hard to beat offroad.

Land Rover Freelander 2
It’s comfortable and relaxing to drive, rather than exciting

What’s not?

  • The 2.2-litre diesel engine sounds a bit rough and noisy when you start it up, and it even sounds rattly when accelerating hard – out of keeping with its more premium uplift feel.
  • The SD4 187bhp engine doesn’t come with stop/start either, one of the factors that make this facelifted Land Rover one of the least efficient cars in its class, with figures of 40.4mpg and 185g/km.
  • That means a company car tax bill that’s around £500 higher than for standard rate buyers of a Q5 2.0 TDI S Tronic.
  • Handling isn’t a strong point, with the kind of slow, ponderous responses you’d expect from a Land Rover. It does promote a relaxed, slow place of driving, and that’s not necessarily such a bad thing.
  • The automatic gearbox is a bit hesitant to get the car moving in traffic so you could find your head bobbing back and forth, too.
Land Rover Freelander 2
The Freelander has to be on your list if your business takes you off-road

Business Car Manager road test verdict

The facelifted Land Rover Freelander does look the part and it’s still comfortable and relaxing to drive. But, Land Rover had the chance to make the Freelander even more appealing and they haven’t quite taken it.

The engine sounds far more rattly and noisy than the equivalent diesel engines in the Audi Q5 and BMW X3. And the automatic gearbox seems a bit slow to react, unlike Audi’s dual-clutch S tronic gearbox.

But, the biggest downside for company car buyers is the fact that Land Rover hasn’t cleaned up the engines. Your company car tax bill is going to be around £500 more in a company car comparison with the more efficient – and very impressive – Audi Q5 and BMW X3 models. Pence per mile costs will be higher, too, and both the Audi and BMW have cheaper list prices.

If you want a facelifted Land Rover Freelander perhaps look lower down the range than this HSE Lux range-topper. Some of the lower GS and XS trim level models are cheaper than their rivals and still come well equipped. None – except for the two-wheel drive ED4 model – will solve the high running costs, though.

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Land Rover Freelander 2 2.2 SD4 HSE LUX 190hp Auto – the low down

P11D Value£39,425
Monthly business rental (ex VAT)From £594 (3 yrs/30,000 miles)
Tax band 2012/2013 to 2014/1531%, 32% 33%
BIK tax£12,222, £12,616, £13,010
Engine2.2-litre four-cyl turbodiesel
Power/torque187bhp/ 420Nm
0-62mph/top speed9.5 seconds/118mph
Towing capacity2,000kgs

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