Despite launching the five-door passenger car versions at the end of 2006, Land Rover didn’t introduce the Commercial models until the 2008 British CV Show. Known as the Freelander 2 it is a complete reworking of the original model and this includes a brand new engine under the bonnet.
The old 2.0-litre four cylinder unit has been replaced with a state-of-the-art 2.2-litre common rail turbodiesel which is capable of producing 160hp at 4,000rpm and developing 295Nm of peak torque at 2,000rpm. That’s a substantial and welcome increase in the under-bonnet muscle.
Unlike the competition Freelander has permanent four-wheel drive and in the case of the ‘S’ version it’s the basic system. Move up to the ‘XS’ and it gets the advanced Terrain Response system. This has four rotary knob-controlled settings: General Driving, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud and Ruts, and Sand. There is a lot more to the system than space here allows, but its basically an electro-mechanical solution to make the system virtually idiot-proof. Huge disc brakes are fitted all-round and ABS is a standard fitment, as is power-assisted steering.
Having removed the rear seats — and the side airbags — Land Rover fits a flat load floor with lashing points and covered by a rubber mat. The end result is 1.7m3 of load space. A full-height bulkhead protects cab occupants and the rear door windows are blacked-out. Access is via the rear side doors or the top-hinged tailgate.
The cab is much roomier than that of its rather cramped predecessor. The ‘S’ spec comes with power windows, electric door mirrors and central locking. Go up to ‘XS’ and you get power folding mirrors, alloy wheels, full-size spare wheel, climate control and front parking sensors; why not rear sensors?
This is a significant step forwards and the top-spec 4x4 system is very trick.