Land Rover Freelander SD4 HSE Lux

The new Land Rover is comfy in all conditions

Price: £39,805 (prices start at £23,700)
Engine capacity: 2.2l diesel
Power output (bhp @ rpm): 187 @ 3,500
Top speed (mph): 118
0-62mph (seconds): 8.7
Fuel economy (mpg): 40.4
CO2 emissions (g/km): 185

The staff at Land Rover's headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire, always know when the first snow of the year has landed. Whether it's a flurry in the stockbroker belt or a heavy blizzard on the North Yorkshire moors, hits to the off-road maker's website treble as stranded drivers consider upgrading to something that will manage the school run without sliding into a ditch.

Most of the new visitors are just browsing (or soon realise that a Chelsea tractor isn't really ideal for town), but enough of them become buyers that the firm's Merseyside and Solihull plants are working three shifts and its Indian owners are enjoying surging profits.

For idle browsers this winter, the most affordable route to Land Rover ownership is the entry-level Freelander. It doesn't have the bling of the Range Rover or the glitz of the Evoque, but starting at just over £23,000 it's much more affordable and the firm has sold nearly 340,000 models since its launch in 1997.

To show off the latest example, Land Rover picked the back roads of rural Quebec in eastern Canada. When we arrived it was -15C (5F) outside and leaving town I soon discovered the conditions were far worse than anything the horsey set will encounter on their way to a gymkhana in the Home Counties. Thankfully, the Freelander has a gutsy 2.2l diesel unit which pulls it along smoothly and in comfort and I'm soon impressed with just how well it copes with the challenging conditions. Of course, the truth is that Canada deals with winter a lot better than us and I see more snow ploughs on one stretch of road than I'd spot on the A30 in a lifetime, but the Freelander does well all the same.

Off-road it's still the best small SUV around with a terrain-response system that adapts quickly to ice, snow and broken ground, where larger off-roaders would struggle. One cold-weather gripe was that its windscreen washer froze. Not a problem in Surrey but something the company should have anticipated in colder climes, such as Canada and Russia, where it will sell well.

To be honest, the changes to the new Freelander aren't huge (it was great to begin with), the biggest being a smart new set of intersecting LED rear lights borrowed from the new Range Rover. Inside it's a sumptuous affair, but the latest thing that Land Rover is shouting about is a new Meridian stereo. And when a manufacturer is banging on about the new stereo, you know there is little else to shout about. Sadly, the boffins at Gaydon have found time to stuff in the scourge of all new luxury cars; an infuriating electric handbrake.

Minor gripes aside, the biggest problem with the Freelander is its price. It starts at £1,000 more than the model it replaces, but the entry-level model is pretty sparse. And if you tick enough boxes at the dealership you'll easily hit £40k – you could have the poshest Evoque for that and still have £1,500 left in your pocket.

This shouldn't be a shock though; Land Rover knows how to turn a profit with new factories scheduled for China and Saudi Arabia and a dozen new models are planned for the next decade. Here's hoping that, like the Freelander, they are just as good at driving on and off-road.

Life and Style
life
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Life and Style
Chen Mao recovers in BK Hospital, Seoul
health
News
Joan Rivers has reportedly been hospitalised after she stopped breathing during surgery
people81-year-old 'stopped breathing' during vocal chord surgery
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
tv
Life and Style
fashion

Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, UI, JMX, FIX)

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, U...

    Structured Finance

    Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - An excellent new instruction w...

    SQL Server Developer

    £500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Server Developer SQL, PHP, C#, Real Time,...

    C#.NET Developer

    £600 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, Win Forms, WPF, WCF, MVVM...

    Day In a Page

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone