Advantages Excellent TD4 engine, rugged good looks
Disadvantages Poor 1.8i petrol engine
Firstly I would like to explain my situation, I currently work for a Landrover dealership in the Midlands, I work in the after sales side, therefore I am constantly in and out of Freelanders of all ages, models and engine options. The Freelander concept is basically a good one, the cars are designed as a road car which has excellent four wheel drive capabilities. these 4x4 features still make it the best in class. The build quality and engine reliability is what lets this car down. Everyday I see car after car come in with the same problems, rear door seals, head gaskets and engines on the 1.8i, anti roll bar links etc etc, I am sure all the Freelander owners out there know what I am talking about. But despite all of these problems the cars are getting significantly better. The new 2002 my cars are released now and they are significantly improved on the previous efforts, predominately in my opinion, due to the involvement of Ford. The build quality id much better and the BWM TD4 engine is the best diesel I have ever driven, apart form perhaps the TD5 in the discovery. If any one out there has any questions they would like me to answer or queries about Freelanders or landroverin general email me or respond to this opinion.To add to my opinion I would like to include a few things specific to Freelanders that should be looked out for when purchasing used one of the earlier models.
Firstly the security panel in the boot. This is prone to filling with water, due to faulty rear door seals. therefore it is also important to avoid placing CD autochangers here. I have seen numerous flooded changers and LR will not necessarily contribute due to the fact that they recommend auto-changers be placed under the passenger seat. This smacks of LR knowing about the problem but doing little about it. Secondly it is important to check the history of the car, try to find out where it has been serviced and ring the dealer and ask them to talk you through any major work they have done to the car such as diffs, engines, head gaskets etc, In my experience, although I’m not sure why, Freelanders tend to be either bad 'uns or good 'uns. in the trade this is called Friday afternoon syndrome, i.e. that particular car was badly put together because it was done on a Friday afternoon when all the guys on production wanted to go home. Only buy a car if it has full dealer service history , as you then have 12 months parts warranty if the same thing goes wrong again, which it probably will!Thirdly if you can at all help it don't buy a 1.8i The engine is very underpowered for the size of car. This leads to them being thrashed which in turn causes all sorts of mechanical problems. The most common being headgaskets, where I work we usually replace around 3-5 headgaskets a week and usually 1 engine, which is a fairly large number if you multiply it by the 126, the number of UK dealers.
Thirdly ensure it has had the recent safety recall done. I know all you Freelander owners thought it was just for the handbrake or wiring loom, but each Freelander had a number of other items checked and replaced such as the inlet manifold gasket, another contributor to headgasket problem, which the customer was not informed about.
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