The "Classic Motor Sport Tour" includes visits to Goodwood Revival, Donington Grand Prix Collection, Grand Prix Historique de la Vienne, Manoir de L'Automobile and Museum de L'Automobile at Le Mans and, for a farewell dinner, Atelier Renault on Champs Elysees. Also included are city tours of London and Paris, Classic Team Lotus Works tour and Brands Hatch race master (with an opportunity of a drive in a high performance Renault). This great tour includes return economy air fares, departure tax, transfers, 13 breakfasts, 3 dinners and 13 nights accommodation.

See the brochure for more details ..... here.

Bookings close 25th June, 2008.

Sheryl Poulter
at Preston Travel on
(03) 9470.4737 for enquiries and bookings.

..... more

Elvis Festival
2008 Elvis Festival

Road Test

Land Rover Freelander 2 HSE

by Stephen Walker

29th April, 2008

Land Rover Freelander 2 
Click on the image for a larger view

One of the most impressive vehicles on the market today is the Land Rover Freelander 2. Yet it is also one of the most underrated.

Australians enjoy 4x4s. There is no doubt about that, as you experience big numbers of big 4x4s everywhere you go in this big country.

The acceptance of these large 4-wheel drives may present a quandary for the much smaller Land Rover Freelander 2. Yet many folks may well enjoy the experience of a smaller off-roader.

On this occasion we the drive the diesel-engined Land Rover Freelander 2 HSE, the top of the line model, to ascertain just what delights are on offer with this small off-roader. The previous Land Rover Freelander, which was the original Freelander, was a very satisfying vehicle to drive. It suffered from low ground clearance and it had minimal foot space for the front seat passenger.

Today's Freelander, which is 4.5 metres long, addresses the issue of space for the front seat passenger. Although, the new model continues with the lowish ground clearance, which is a feature of all small off-roaders.

On the road, the Freelander offers an elevated driving height which is an attraction to drivers of this class of car. Performance is quite suitable, given that power is provided by a 2 litre 4 cylinder diesel engine. The ride is good, as is the comfort level. The mechanical components work well and provide a satisfying drive without qualification. And passengers won't complain, although the rear seat is best suited for two passengers with an occasional third for shorter journeys.

When you go off the road and onto the trail, the Freelander 2 reveals the strength of the highly respected Land Rover heritage. Nothing stops the Freelander ..... except those dreaded deep ruts which the Freelander cannot cope with because of the reduced ground clearance and smaller wheels/tyres compared to the larger, more common four-wheel-drive vehicles. However, driving on unsealed country roads was a real treat in the Land Rover Freelander 2, as a quite compliant ride quality was provided.

Land Rover Freelander 2 
Click on the image for a larger view

The fuel economy of the 2.2 litre, 4 cylinder, diesel is excellent on a long run. Four-wheel drives are notorious for consuming fuel, but with 8.5 litres per 100 kilometres as the 'combined' rating, the Freelander diesel does a good job of keeping fuel consumption at a reasonable level. The usage is rated at 11 litres/100 kms for the urban cycle and just 6.8 litres/100 kms for the extra-urban cycle. The fuel tank has a capacity of 68 litres of fuel.

Emissions from the Freelander diesel are rated at 224 grammes per kilometre.

The towing limit for a braked trailer is 1,750 kilogrammes. An unbraked trailer is restricted to 750 kilogrammes.

Freelander 2 is suitably decked-out for a top of the line model. The HSE features leather seats which are heated in the front, stacker for 6 CDs with the audio system which has steering wheel controls, air conditioning, six airbags, cargo blind, fold-away external mirrors, alloy wheels and cruise control.

A six speed automatic transmission is standard, as is a number of technical features which make the Freelander a stand-out model in the premium compact 4x4 segment of the new vehicle market such as full time intelligent four-wheel drive, anti-locking system (ABS), emergency brake assist (EBA), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), electronic traction control (ETC), corner brake control (CBC), dynamic stability control (DSC), roll stability control (RSC) and, importantly, hill descent control.

The new Land Rover Freelander 2 is priced from $49,990 (RRP), which is the price of the SE version with a V6 petrol engine. The test car, a Freelander 2 HSE (with the diesel engine) is currently priced from $58,490 (RRP). The test car was optioned-up, adding somewhat to the value of this delightful diesel engined 4x4. For example, options such as metallic paint is priced at $1,700 approximately, a sunroof is $3,300 approximately, technology pack is $7,890, a cold climate pack is $1,200 (approximately) and a 'premium' pack is priced at $2,990 (approximately). When the retail price tops the luxury car tax level, the tax payable on a new car is recalculated to ensure the Commonwealth government rips-off the car buyer to ensure it gets it share of the buyers money. What I meant would be better defined as, when the retail price tops the luxury car tax level, the tax payable on a new car is recalculated to ensure the Commonwealth government receives a socially responsible share of the vehicle costs.

Therefore, the price of the Freelander puts it into the price range of larger 4x4s. However, the strength of the Freelander is its sophistication with respect to technology and presentation. One drive of the Freelander HSE demonstrates it is not a common garden variety 4x4.

Land Rover Freelander 2 
Click on the image for a larger view

On that basis, the Freelander seems to be aimed at those downsizing from an unnecessarily larger 4x4, together with those upgrading from an SUV. But, to me, those well-suited to the Freelander are likely to be those who have successfully made their mark on the world and seek the freedom of a 4x4 wagon for occasional off-road use but require a city-friendly vehicle with class and, importantly, quality.

With no obvious deficiencies, the Land Rover Freelander 2 HSE diesel impresses me with its pleasant mix of compact dimensions, diesel efficiency, classy presentation and enjoyable driving dynamics. The new Freelander has just enough room inside and just enough performance for all except performance car buyers. Although the sophistication of the drivetrain is the Freelander's greatest attribute. But, with limited ground clearance, the little Land Rover will only please those who aren't doing serious off-roading. And that suits the make-up of the Freelander, because it isn't and never has been a serious off-roader, despite the obvious effectiveness of the drivetrain.

Click on an image for a larger view

Other Land Rover content: here.

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