Land Rover Freelander HSE Lux
Following a seven day test drive of Land Rover’s luxury all-roader, the Freelander HSE Lux, here are my initial impressions on my days of living with the car.
It was all shiny and clean delivered to the drive; the car looked great. The front of the Land Rover Freelander HSE Lux really looks top class and resembles the Range Rover Sport in many ways. Looking around the car it also came with a set of 19″ diamond turned wheels, which give the car an impressive side profile. The overall size of the Freelander is a great compromise of not to big and bulky, yet you can still fit in everything that you would want to take on any adventure. Looking inside the car there was lots of nice materials, and plenty of buttons to play with. It did take me 10 or 15 minutes to orientate myself with what everything did.
Having the Freelander less than 24 hours and I was putting it to the test already. I took the car up to the Peak District in the pouring rain to see if this Land Rover deserved to be wearing that well know off road ready badge. First off, finding space for four people, a load of camera gear, and not forgetting the all important snacks for the day was no problem at all. There was loads of the space inside and you felt well shielded from the terrible weather outside.
Like any other man with a new Land Rover I drove around the countryside looking for something slightly challenging to either drive up or over. Within no time I had the terrain response turned up and I was off-roading on a track most would consider impassable. Throughout the entire day driving around the countryside, there was nothing that caused the Freelander any trouble. This amazing off road capability is achieved by the cars impressive 4 wheel drive system, and the brains behind the movement the terrain response system.
Following my previous day’s adventures, I thought I would tidy up the Freelander a little; there were a few muddy footprints over the premium carpet of this £39,000 car. So being me I thought it would only be fair to clean it up. It turned out that all it took was 5 minutes with the vacuum and the off-roader was back in respectable condition ready for its next challenge. Its clear that Land Rover have put quite some thought into the design and materials used on the inside of the car.
The outside, as if by magic, was surprisingly clean, none of the mud or clay had stuck to the car, it simply seemed to have washed off with the rain. So that meant I had my Sunday afternoon back to myself.
In the evening, I took the car on a journey to collect some tyres for one of my personal cars. To try and help explain how good the boot space is in the Freelander, I collected 3 tyres for 18″ wheels which easily fitted into the boot. I could have got a forth in there as well if needed. It’s a very practical car.
Overnight there was a heavy frost. Looking at the car first thing in the morning it was thick with ice. So it was a good opportunity to test the one-button defrost. Getting in the car, you start the engine with the keyless start button, then all you have to do is press the “maximum defrost” button and the car sorts out the heated front and rear windscreens, heated mirrors, and also puts the blowers on full power to heat it up inside. This only takes a few minutes, with no effort from the driver and then you are away.
Then when you are on your way, and you see the minus figures of the outside temperature displayed on the dashboard, you can turn on the heated steering wheel and heated seats to keep you cosy. The heated steering wheel is a blessing and warms up quicker than I have experienced on any other car.
Driving through town in peak traffic is never something I look forward to, in any car! But sometimes it is a necessary task. Driving the Freelander through in stop-start traffic is actually not too bad, especially in the HSE Lux. The stop and start motion, with the 6 speed automatic gearbox, is no effort at all, and you can take the time to enjoy the luxuries of the car. The leather seats can be perfectly adjusted to suit your driving position, and one of my favourite features has to be the Meridian 825 watt entertainment system. The sound system, that can also connect to your phone, is shockingly loud and sounds so well balanced, you can easily forget about the worries of traffic listening to your favourite music through this crystal clear sound system.
My time with the car was ticking on and I had driven, and enjoyed, over 250 miles in it so far and still with over a quarter of a tank of petrol left. We took the car into the busy city of Birmingham to capture some night time shots. Multi-story car parks, and navigating through some tight roads and round the obstacles that an urban environment throws up was a relatively easy task, I felt like I knew where the bumpers and wheels were at all times. The Freelander’s reversing camera makes life a lot easier, particularly when driving in the city or parking in tight supermarket car parks. Definitely a useful feature for the big Land Rover.
Picking up a friend to go play football in the evening, they were very impressed with the modern day luxuries of the car. The comfortable heated seats, heated steering wheel, reversing camera and push button start. It was clear that Land Rover have modernised the Freelander a lot, both inside and out. It was also mentioned how impressive the level of torque is in this car. The Freelander 2’s 2.2 SD4 produces 420Nm of torque, which is only a smigin behind the levels of torque from the previous generations 4.4 v8 Range Rover, which produces 440Nm. So the engine is surprisingly powerful, yet very efficient.
Later that evening I also took the car out to do the weekly food shop, the boot space is more than any large family would ever need for a weekly shop. There is loads of room and the retractable parcel shelf mean that you can easily stack things up high as well if needed.
To summarise, there is nothing the Freelander 2 cant do, it’s a fantastic off road ready medium sized SUV. But with the added value of the HSE Lux model means the cabin is filled with a quality look and feel, and is a very comfortable place to be. The driving experience is very relaxing, and great for the UK climate. The practicality is brilliant too, Land Rover haven’t compromised on the driving experience or look of the car. This is likely to be one of the best mid sized SUVs you can buy.