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Land Rover Freelander 2 TD4 HSE: From Hertfordshire to Morocco

PUBLISHED: 12:39 11 August 2010 | UPDATED: 15:11 20 February 2013

Off the beaten track in Morocco

Off the beaten track in Morocco

Adrian Foster puts the groundbreaking Land Rover Freelander 2 TD4 HSE through its paces off the beaten track in Morocco

Adrian Foster puts the groundbreaking Land Rover Freelander 2 TD4 HSE through its paces off the beaten track in Morocco

THE latest Freelander has grown into a comfortable, premium car for a family of five with even greater off-road ability than previously - not that it is ever likely to be used by the majority of its owners. Nevertheless, we put the all-new replacement for the UK's best-selling 4x4 to the test over some of the roughest boulder-strewn cart tracks we could find in Morocco to see whether Land Rover's 'tough as old boots' reputation was still deserved.

The Freelander 2 looks very similar to its bigger brother, the Discovery, and inside there is a more up-market feel thanks to bigger, more comfortable seats, top-of-the-range sound systems and a push button Start as standard. There are also several trim levels on offer: the basic S, the popular SE and the top of the range HSE we tested.

Excellent forward vision

The new Freelander's high driving position and flat bonnet allow excellent forward vision and make it easy to place the car on the road, although the rear screen is a bit small. On the plus side, there is a wide range of seat and steering wheel adjustment and front seat occupants get plenty of head- and legroom, although knee space is no more than adequate in the rear.

The boot is on the small side compared with its best rivals and suffers from wheel arch intrusion, plus its high floor means you might struggle to lift heavy items in. However, the rear seats split and fold 60/40 and they lay usefully flat. Every Freelander comes with alloy wheels, air-conditioning and a CD player, while GS trim adds climate and cruise control, rear parking sensors and Land Rover's Terrain Response system.

Rock-strewn wadis

Having spent two days punishing a Freelander 2 across boulder-strewn cart tracks and 15 miles of desert sand in Morocco, we can testify that it sets new standards in terms of comfort, trim and equipment yet still retains the renowned build quality of a traditional Land Rover. Churning through sand dunes and bouncing across rock-strewn wadis is unlikely to be high on the average school run agenda, however, but in an urban context substitute torrential rain storms for sand and snow and ice for rocky river beds.

Back in the real world, the Freelander 2 is a very practical car that is ideally suited to transporting families. The door bins can swallow a one-litre drinks bottle and there are more cup holders in the centre console. There is a reversible cover on the boot floor, which is water resistant on one side and carpet on the other - ideal when there is muddy footwear or dogs to carry. The boot will take a family load of luggage, and thanks to fold-forward rear seats, even a bicycle can be fitted in the back.

What we thought

New from the ground up, the Freelander 2 delivers outstanding on-road performance as well as the class-leading off-road ability of a true Land Rover. A dynamic design, smart interior, with an abundance of advanced technologies complete the package. The Freelander 2 has raised the bar for the others to leap over.
Visit www.landrover.co.uk

FACTS AT A GLANCE:

CAR Land Rover Freelander 2 TD4 HSE
PRICE AS TESTED 30,960 on the road
INSURANCE GROUP 13E [est.]
CO2 EMISSIONS Maximum 224 g/km
PERFORMANCE Max Speed 112 mph; 0-62 mph 10.5 secs.
FUEL CONSUMPTION 33.2 mpg (Combined)
STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES Roll stability control; Driver and passenger front and side airbags; ABS with Emergency Brake Assist; Electronic Traction Control; Dynamic Stability Control; Hill Descent Control etc.
WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE? Length: 4500; Width: 2180; Height: 1740 (mm)

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