Six Great Things Your Probably Didn't Know About Your Land Rover Freelander
- The Land Rover Freelander was conceptualized back the 1980s and took over two decades to fully realize into the compact SUV that it was when it came out in 1997. The reason? Land Rover has been known for its big trucks and big SUVs and wasn't yet confident that it could pull off a compact. When it was finally launched in 1997, it became Europe's best-selling four-wheel drive model up until 2002!
- Can you imagine an American SUV designed by a Japanese giant? Well, keep imagining. It almost happened, though. When the Land Rover Freelander was in development, Land Rover partnered up with Honda to create what would be the first cross-company SUV that presumably combined the best of both worlds. It was not to be, however, as Honda left the partnership to eventually come out with the CR-V.
- The American-Japanese mega alliance might have been a pipe dream, but the Land Rover Freelander was still a product of collaboration with another automobile manufacturing powerhouse. "Collaboration" is used somewhat loosely, however, because BMW acquired Land Rover in 1994 and injected its famous German quality and design sensibilities into the already amazing mix.
- Quite the actor, the Land Rover Freelander has appeared in several dozen films and TV shows. None of the titles would be recognizable to you, however, as most of them were foreign films and shows in France, Germany, and even Sweden. This is a rare case of an American vehicle being predominantly cast in a foreign-language production.
- The Land Rover Freelander first debuted in 1998 at the Camel Trophy-an off-roading extravaganza that featured a lot of Land Rovers. The Freelander represented a compromise of sorts as it wasn't built as bulky and powerful as its contemporaries. It proved to be a perfect test bed, however, and shortly after, the Freelander was released with a unique and innovative Hill Descent Control system.
- Most vehicles are discontinued because of poor sales or terrible performance, but the Land Rover Freelander ended its run in 2006 for an entirely unique reason-the company ran out of the MG Rover K18 and KV6 engines that it used for its Freelanders!
Top Two Common Gripes with the Land Rover Freelander
The Land Rover Freelander had a very colorful development history. It was almost a collaboration with Japanese giants Honda, that eventually got picked up by German giants BMW, and was the very first compact anything out of the Land Rover marquee. When it came out in 1997, all the way up to 2002, the Freelander was Europe's most successful four-wheel drive model. A lot will peg this success down to the versatility of the compact SUV, as well as its reliability despite the fact that it was much smaller than its other Land Rover contemporaries. Like any vehicle ever made, the Freelander isn't perfect. Here are the two most commonly reported problems with the Freelander-it pays to be informed.
Un-cool engine cooling system
This is a problem that is most commonly observed in the 2002 release of the Land Rover Freelander. It starts with the observation of frequent overheating as well as the illumination of the check engine light. These symptoms would normally prompt a check of the levels of coolant in the coolant tank. Exacerbating the problem is the discovery that the problem is not a common external leak as one would expect, but rather a leak into the engine. It's a very serious problem that is affecting quite a few years and models.
At this point, not only are no recall orders issued, but there are also few replacement engines available-the Freelanders was discontinued precisely because there were no engines available. The best thing to do is to consult your dealer or have the engine replaced with a different model altogether.
Automatic transmission failure
Again, this problem features most prominently with the 2002 release of the Land Rover Freelander. In general the problem is specifically tied to the gearing between second and third. Worst cases have the gearing mechanism seize and fail-like one would experience when driving manual and a gear sticks. Due to the automatic nature of the transmission, it doesn't even allow for common troubleshooting that can be forced onto a vehicle equipped with manual transmission.
Surprisingly enough, no recall orders were also issued for this specific problem-in some cases, consumers have reported that the dealers and manufacturer do not even acknowledge it as an existing problem-much less come forward to replace the transmission. The effective solution-albeit costly-is to seek out an aftermarket replacement.
Basic Land Rover Freelander Maintenance
Does off-road giveyou the adrenaline you always want with traveling? You can count on your Land Rover Freelander for that. Through the years, it proved to be an excellent all-terrain sports utility vehicle. In fact, although dropped from the lineup already, it left a legacy that cannot be undermined by other SUVs today. Extreme temperatures and high altitudes do not worry the Freelander. It has control over difficult slopes and rocky tracks. Stability and safety are preserved even with a tow. And the turbocharged engine, of the last ones to roll out of the market, can equal the speed and power of the newer machines. But just like any other vehicle traversing challenging terrains, your vehicle is a favorite target of damage-causing off-road elements. So you'd better do these basic maintenance tips to keep it protected:
After each adrenaline-rushing off-road trip, you are faced with a clean-up challenge, and your wheels alone are going to drain the adrenaline already. However, you cannot simply leave mud and grime to cover your wheels over the ease of the fact that they're still going to work despite being dirty. The problem is that dirt and grime that are stuck to your wheels can cause early corrosion; even the wheel covers can do little to prevent that from transpiring. In time, you will find yourself faced with yet another problem—costly replacement. But in a little as an hour spent on car washing, those wheels can again promise to accompany you in more of your off-road journeys.
Off-roading is unpredictable. The terrains can be really tough on your vehicle; the twigs and stones can craft dents and scratches very easily. But accidents also happen off-road. Animals can pop out from nowhere, and bump to your front. It will greatly help if it has rigid bull bars. If an accident happens, the collision would do less harm on the fascia. Be advised, though, that some locations have banned the use of metal bull bars, which can imply more harm to a pedestrian. Make sure that the one you choose complies with the relevant pedestrian-protection safety standards of your location, should you add one.
The hood is one of the largest exterior panels of a vehicle, making it one of the car parts that are most susceptible to damage inflicted by road elements. As with a vehicle facing the toughness of off-roading, expect your hood to catch more unwanted elements. If your Land Rover Freelander hood does not have any protection, you'll have to save it by making sure it gets waxed as often as necessary. A coating of wax helps diminish the appearance of scratches. And since waxing is easy to do, it should only take few minutes.
- Guard your fenders and quarter panels.
Grits and debris are kicked by the wheels right to the fenders and quarter panels, causing unsightly marks from here and there. A set of fender flares will do millions. It will not just add protection for the fenders and quarter panels, but it will also bring an extra rugged look.
Land Rover Freelander: Freedom to Roam On and Off the Road
This compact SUV, with its permanent all-wheel drive system, is designed for smooth, comfortable driving on both paved streets and dirt roads without the need to adjust from two-wheel drive (2WD) to four-wheel drive (4WD) and vice versa. When it comes to urban driving and off-roading, the Land Rover Freelander truly offers the best of both worlds. Although it was launched in 1997 and became Europe's top-selling 4WD for years, it only came to the United States in 2002. Since then, this popular and versatile SUV has undergone a number of changes.
2002: The Land Rover Freelander comes to America
The first new Land Rover to hit the United States since 1999, the 2002 Freelander instantly charmed with its go-anywhere drivability. All trims were equipped with anti-lock brake systems, traction control, and Hill Descent Control (allows for a more relaxing, controlled hill descent without having to touch the brake pedal). Each was also powered by a quiet 2.5L V6 engine capable of 175 horsepower and 177 ft.-lbs. of torque. With the Land Rover Freelander's permanent all-wheel drive system and five-speed BMW Steptronic automatic transmission, a driver can traverse different types of terrain by just pushing the gas pedal like nobody's business. The cherry on top of this off-road offering was the rear-mounted spare tire that came with each trim.
2003-2005: Constant improvements, inside and out
In the following years, the Land Rover Freelander was tweaked and accessorized to improve drive quality. Changes over the years include a larger fuel tank, a reworked climate control system, body-side moldings for protection against scrapes, a recalibrated automatic transmission that has smoother shifting, and an array of new equipment like fog lights and a power sunroof.
2008-present: Return of the Rover
After a three-year hiatus, the Freelander banks on America's love for sequels by returning as the Land Rover Freelander 2 (also known as the Land Rover LR2). Moving up as a luxury-class, car-based SUV, the Freelander 2 retains its versatility while vastly improving ride comfort and performance. It now has a 6-speed automatic transmission and a new 3.2L inline six-cylinder engine with a higher maximum output of 230 horsepower and 234 ft.-lbs. of torque. Off-roading is improved with an added 8.3 inches of ground clearance, an improved all-wheel drive system, and new features like Land Rover's special Terrain Response system, brake assist, and stability control with a rollover sensor. The side airbags that were missing from the earlier models were also added. Fuel economy is also improved with a higher range of 15-22 mpg.