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Old 26th June 2012, 16:01   #1
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Default Land Rover Freelander 2: day trip & driving impressions

This past weekend, a family friend wanted to take his new Freelander 2 (LR2 in the US) out for a spin. We drove from Mumbai to Lonavla, and came back the same day. While at Lonavla, we went on some dirt / mud trails - basically roads that lead to farmlands, where typically tractors go. The following are my driving impressions on the car. Note, that I drove the base version - the 150 BHP version.

1. FIRST IMPRESSION:
The first impression that I had of the car as I approached it to get in was actually 'meah'. It didnt look special. It didnt have the jazz of the Audis. It didnt have the elegance of the Benz. Didnt have the oomph of a Beamer. I wondered to myself if my friends have made a mistake by buying this car, which is priced squarely inside the M-B-A triangle.

Once I got in, what immediately hit me was how much light gets inside this car. Huge windows, dual sunroof and very clear rear visibility. The AC was powerful enough to keep the entire car cool, so no worries there.

The fit and finish is good - but not benz good. The quality of the plastics is solid, but not luxurious by any means. The grilles that cover the speakers were not perfectly even - but good enough. Seats are comfortable, yet not plush - just the way I like the seats.

Overall, when I sat in the car, it felt like they had overpaid.

2. CITY DRIVING: Bandra to Vashi
We left Bandra, and immediately landed up in the Sion-Chunabhatti mess. The car moved effortlessly from one lane to another, and was actually quite comfortable in intense traffic. The side view mirrors and huge rear glass provide spot-on visibility of all surroundings, and make the car easy to drive. Transmission, pick-up etc is smooth - no turbo lag that I found at all. The steering is light - which is awesome in city driving. I had the feeling though that this light steering will not be as much fun on the highway.

Summary: the car was very comfortable in the city. Like a sedan would be. In fact - maybe better.

3. DRIVING IN THE RAIN: As if crossing Chembur in sunlight wasnt a challenge already

Once we hit Chembur, it suddenly started raining. a LOT. The automatic wipers of the car and automatic headlights kicked into action. The rear windshield wiper was a godsend. The high visibility because of the windows etc was a boon.

Summary: Driving in the rain even in traffic was actually very easy in thing.

4. THE HIGHWAY BEGINS:
I'll cover the highway driving impressions in the next section, in the 'return' part of the journey

MUDROADING: Farming for a good slide

Near Lonavala, there are a couple of small roads that go off from the old Pune-Mumbai expressway. Some of these roads stop being paved after a while. Perfect.

I took the Freelander to these places, and deliberately took it in places where I'm sure my sedans cant go. And the Freelander just went. There was a point when it slid around a bit, and I got a bit worried. But that was before I turned the 'Mud mode' (or whatever its called) on. A dial near the transmission can switch the car between Normal, Grass / Snow, Mud & Hill Descent modes.

With the mud-mode locked in, I was very confident in this car now. It went where I wanted it to go, and stayed true. The steering was a little too light - I wish it provided me more feedback about the terrain. However, it did everything I asked it to do. I didnt do any rock-trail offroading though. Didnt want to risk dents on their brand new car.

Summary: This is a genuine offroader. It doesnt feel as solid as the LR Discovery, and may be less capable than an X5 (not sure about this), but this *far* outperforms the X3, Q3 and Q5. Lets not even talk about the X1, because this is a happy thread.


5. HIGHWAY IN THE RAIN: Raindrops are falling on the sunroof

This is where I was truly impressed with the car. The steering was precise. The handling was precise. The car was stable all over. Windshield wipers were powerful enough. Rear windshield washers worked well. Everything basically worked. But not in a luxurious way -- in a way that just... works. The car didnt have as much power as I would have liked, but plenty of low-end torque. This is not a car which will throw you back in your seat when you floor it. But its powerful enough.

The stability of the car has to be commended. I felt completely safe driving htis thing in the rain on the M-P Expressway, and not once did anything get in the way. Heavy splashes of water from trucks in other lanes were immediately wiped away by the good wipers. Even pools of water were easily navigated by this car, and with solid grip all the way even at high speeds. This, really, is the USP of the car. Stability & Utility. Everything does what its supposed to do - but nothing more. Oh - also, there was barely any body roll at all. However, I wish the steering was a little more firm at higher speeds.

Summary: Best rain-highway ride I have had in a long long time

6. FINAL IMPRESSIONS: Should you get it?
This car has no features whatsoever. In 2012, they are selling a 6 CD changer. Which is ridiculous. There is a piece of **** MapMyIndia nav built in to the system, which crashed ('Invalid USB device plugged in. Enter key' was the error message in a Windows dialog box. WINDOWS!? REALLY!?). The GPS is a writeoff. No electronic seats. Buttons look like they were designed in 1987. Theres nothing 'new' about this car from the inside.


This, fellow BHPians, is an unbelievable car.

I can enumerate a hundred flaws with the car. Features. Fit and Finish. Colors. But when you drive it. Oh, when you drive it. All those flaws disappear when you drive it on the highway, in mud and in the city. Its like falling in love with a woman who you know has a lot of flaws. Like maybe she carries around a Windows CE phone still. But what're you going to do - when you're in love, you're in love.

Summary: The Land Rover Freelander2 is a utilitarian vehicle that is good for the city, highway and even offroading, if thats what you like to do. Beware of global reliability reputation of LR though.

If you're looking for a car in the 35-50L segment, its a crime not to test drive this car. Maybe you wont see what I'm saying, and maybe you'll not buy it because it has *no* gizmos (apart from utilitarian / safety gizmos like head lamp washers etc). But maybe... just maybe, you'll fall in love with it and buy it even though it doesnt have bluetooth audio.
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Old 26th June 2012, 16:40   #2
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Default Re: Land Rover Freelander 2: day trip & driving impressions

Very true review there mate. This is one masterpiece of a machine which is so wrongly priced. But for someone who really wants a true offroader in this segment, the Freelander has to be it, none of the Germans can come remotely close. More pics please!
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Old 26th June 2012, 17:05   #3
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Default Re: Land Rover Freelander 2: day trip & driving impressions

Did the test drive last week when looking for a new car. Loved it....its exactly like you said. Everything just works. When punching the accelerator from standing the vehicle just goes...

Wanted to buy it, but on road, the price in Bangalore is 48lakhs....though they advertise 34lakhs.

Bought a passat!
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Old 26th June 2012, 22:10   #4
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If one lived outside of India, one could easily own an LR Freelander at the equivalent of 29 to 30k GBP, which is reasonably affordable for the TD4 HSE spec!

Why on earth would one want to pay 44 odd lacs for the base spec here in India unless of course one is suffering from elephantiasis of the bank roll!

Same goes for things like the Audi Q3 and Q5 , the Mini Cooper, Countryman etc over here in India. Prohibitively priced!
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Old 27th June 2012, 15:17   #5
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Default Re: Land Rover Freelander 2: day trip & driving impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by manasm View Post
Did the test drive last week when looking for a new car. Loved it....its exactly like you said. Everything just works. When punching the accelerator from standing the vehicle just goes...

Wanted to buy it, but on road, the price in Bangalore is 48lakhs....though they advertise 34lakhs.

Bought a passat!
Manasm,

IS the on road price for SE or the HSE model ? Is it really that much

Also, new face lifted version of Freelander 2 is soon coming to India. Just cosmetic changes in guess...
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Old 27th June 2012, 15:56   #6
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Default Re: Land Rover Freelander 2: day trip & driving impressions

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Originally Posted by Turbo car View Post
Manasm,

IS the on road price for SE or the HSE model ? Is it really that much

Also, new face lifted version of Freelander 2 is soon coming to India. Just cosmetic changes in guess...
The on road is for the top end...apparently there is a luxury tax on cars in this bracket. Can send you the break up of pricing I got from the dealer if you want.
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Old 27th June 2012, 16:03   #7
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Default Re: Land Rover Freelander 2: day trip & driving impressions

Manasm..Please do. I always wanted to go for either a Pajero/Land cruiser Prado/Free lander 2 but frankly felt that all these were priced at least 5-10 L above its real worth.

I even scouted for few LC Prado with Manual transmission, but the toss has been between a 10yr old Prado or 3 yr old Pajero SFX. A new Pajero is something i prefer but frankly spending 25.5 L ( in Kerala the taxes has been upped recently ) is too much; especially when i heard about the plans from Mitsubishi to shelve this model in favor of Sport. A sparingly used Free lander came to the my reckoning but that ended up confusing me more.
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Old 27th June 2012, 20:54   #8
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Default Re: Land Rover Freelander 2: day trip & driving impressions

Glad you stuck with this british bulldog. I also zeroed it on this but finally got away with XC60 since I'd not be engaging in offroading. This is best buy indeed if you were to offroad in pure luxury with a solid dependability to count on. Congrats!
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Old 3rd September 2012, 11:47   #9
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Default Re: Land Rover Freelander 2: day trip & driving impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by mudittandon View Post
If you're looking for a car in the 35-50L segment, its a crime not to test drive this car. Maybe you wont see what I'm saying, and maybe you'll not buy it because it has *no* gizmos (apart from utilitarian / safety gizmos like head lamp washers etc). But maybe... just maybe, you'll fall in love with it and buy it even though it doesnt have bluetooth audio.
Precisely my views Mudit and a very well composed review.

I had taken a 3 hr TD of the FL-2 SE at Bangalore and have completely fallen in love with it.

It is nimble in the city, cruises admirably on the highway and is simply brilliant off road.
If I had the wherewithal for a car in this segment, it is the FL-2 that I would have signed up for, without an iota of doubt.
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Old 3rd September 2012, 17:02   #10
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Default Re: Land Rover Freelander 2: day trip & driving impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
If one lived outside of India, one could easily own an LR Freelander at the equivalent of 29 to 30k GBP, which is reasonably affordable for the TD4 HSE spec!
I tried to customize the LR FL-2 on their UK site with the same specifications as the HSE in India and the indicative price comes to 38000GBP ex showroom or 33lac INR.

This is around INR 10 lac more than what it should be which doesn't sound good but then, all imports are overpriced.

The Fortuner,which is made in Thailand, sells for half the price there than what it sells for in India.
The new BMW 3 Series is priced at 33000GBP which translates to 29 lac INR but is retailed at INR 40.00lac OTR Bangalore.

So until import duties drop, high prices are something which I believe are unavoidable.

As a vehicle however, the LR FL-2 is excellent on all counts.
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Old 3rd September 2012, 17:41   #11
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Default Re: Land Rover Freelander 2: day trip & driving impressions

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Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post
The Fortuner,which is made in Thailand, sells for half the price there than what it sells for in India.
...
So until import duties drop, high prices are something which I believe are unavoidable.
We have special trade agreement with Thailand I think.
Hence Honda brings most of the parts of their cars from Thailand.

Thailand can not be the reason for Fortuner's overpricing. Toyota see the opportunity to milk us as they saw a big order books from day 1 - that's it.

Rather than import duty - it's the lack of home grown/locally made SUV's that is allowing the companies to command premium.
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Old 4th September 2012, 22:03   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anandpadhye



Thailand can not be the reason for Fortuner's overpricing. Toyota see the opportunity to milk us as they saw a big order books from day 1 - that's it.

Rather than import duty - it's the lack of home grown/locally made SUV's that is allowing the companies to command premium.
I agree with what you say. And at the risk of hassling a few on the forum I will say that I find the Fortuner really overpriced for what it offers.
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Old 15th June 2013, 21:52   #13
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Default Re: Land Rover Freelander 2: day trip & driving impressions

The engine is very laggy and noisy. I think the Gearbox is to be blamed more for it. The price at which the vehicle stands makes it look odd as it has average performance and absolutely no road presence at all.
You will end up getting bullied by small cars as it does not look like a SUV.

The Brakes were also average. The plastic quality was not all that great.
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