Without doubt, the Land Rover Freelander was one of the surprise packages of this year’s tests. It’s not that we didn’t expect the facelifted Freelander to tow well, but we were surprised at just how much better it was than many newer designs.
The Freelander’s stability at speed was what really stood out. On an afternoon with really strong winds, two of our most experienced judges took the Freelander out and came back amazed by the Land Rover’s ability to track straight and true when other cars were wandering nervously.
There was no sign of the Freelander showing its age in the lane-change test, either, where it rivalled the Jaguars for grip and composure.
One of the recent changes to the Freelander is the addition of an electronic parking brake. It held car and caravan still on the test hill and released smoothly. The torque-y 2.2-litre engine and four-wheel drive did the rest, pulling easily to the top of the slope.
The Freelander does show its age a little as a solo drive, leaning heavily if you corner enthusiastically. What’s more, by 4×4 standards luggage space is tight, so a couple of items from our typical holiday luggage load wouldn’t fit.
Our top-spec HSE model is very pricey, too, although you can have much the same car for less than £30k if you choose a lower level of spec.