The Land Rover Freelander | Part Seven (2004)

The New Freelander

Land Rover Freelander

Land Rover’s off-road expertise shows in so many ways. There is a rugged alloy undertray, which protects the underside of the vehicle, including the engine sump. The rack-and-pinion steering is mounted high on the bulkhead – out of the way of rocks and branches that could damage the rack or steering arms on lesser 4x4s. The steering arms come off the centre of the rack, rather than the ends. The arms are therefore longer and can articulate better, helping wheel articulation and off-road ability.

The suspension components are all well shielded from off-road obstacles – reducing the chance of damage on severe terrain. Most rival 4x4s are far more likely to bend suspension parts.

What’s more, the Freelander’s suspension is also intrinsically tougher in the first place. A quick glance at a Freelander damper, and that of most rivals, is all that’s needed to demonstrate this. Even certain body parts are resilient to damage. The front wings are made from thermoplastic, for example, allowing them to shrug off minor scrapes and remain unmarked.

Water won’t often stop a Freelander, either. The ECUs are sealed and all major electronic nerve centres and engine air intakes are sited as high as possible.

The Freelander can typically wade through 40cm high water – that’s deeper than most streams. "In emergencies, it can usually cope with even more," says Sneath. "But we wouldn’t recommend that every day. In deep water, some real off-roading skill is needed. Drive too fast for instance and the bow wave will sweep over the bonnet, and even the Freelander doesn’t like that. Ultimately, it is still a car not a boat!"

Published 17 September 2003 Melanie Carter
 

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