Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book
KBB.com 2003 Land Rover Freelander Overview
How to be Upscale While Off-Roading
The Freelander is Land Rover's smallest SUV, but it packs all of the off-road tenacity and British charm of it big brothers, the Discovery and Range Rover. What the Freelander does not share with its siblings is their truck-like body-on-frame chassis. The Freelander is a uni-body vehicle, a construction design similar to most passenger cars. The Freelander's uni-body carries many advantages, including a more rigid frame, better crumple zone protection and the ability to support an independent rear suspension.
A 2.5-liter V6 engine that produces 174-horsepower powers the Freelander. The engine is mated to an electronic 5-speed automatic transmission, which in turn is mated to a permanent all-wheel drive system. The Freelander forgoes the traditional high/low transfer case in favor of a viscous-coupling center differential; a number of electronic devices including traction control, hill-holder descent mode and ABS combine to give the Freelander the same tough off-road ability as the other Land Rover vehicles. Though the weight of all this gear is significant, the V6 has enough low-end torque to offset any drag the extra equipment may cause. We found that the Freelander was more than adequate in the areas of acceleration, passing and off-roading. The Freelander's independent suspension and short wheelbase provide an amazingly smooth ride coupled with the agility to round corners like a performance car. The Freelander never felt tippy or top heavy to us, even when executing emergency-like maneuvers.
The Freelander is not the best in its class when it comes to interior room. Front headroom and legroom are adequate, but if two six footers are sitting up front, there won't be much space for the rear seat passenger's legs. The seats themselves are narrow, but offer good lower back and leg support. The rear seats do split in a 60/40 configuration for increased cargo capacity. The view from the driver's seat is relatively unobstructed, thanks to the vast glass greenhouse that surrounds the passenger compartment. And though Land Rover uses a great deal of black plastic on the dash and center console, we liked the look; it is both rugged and typical Land Rover in its execution.
Later in the 2003 model year, Land Rover will introduce a three-door Freelander with a removable rear top. This model should be priced less than the four door and offer the Jeep Wrangler a good run for its money.