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By Andy Enright
Added 17th January, 2014
Choosing a Land Rover Freelander 2 really shouldn't be a tough decision. If you want a small 4x4 that can cut the mustard off-road, look no further. The Freelander 2 we saw between 2010 and 2012 added more strings to the bow of this practical design though. The addition of a controversial front-wheel drive model broadened the range and allowed some customers who didn't think they could afford a new Land Rover to join the party. Then there was the extra power and luxury of the top SD variant that enabled this car to take the fight towards plusher compact SUVs like Audi's Q5 and BMW's X3.
Both 2WD and top SD Freelanders make great used buys as you can be fairly sure the cars haven't been put through the wringer off road. Go for a mainstream TD4 4WD version and you'll find that there's a good deal of used stock on the market, so if you really want to get the best prices, you'll need to negotiate hard and don't be afraid to walk away.
Range Rover's Evoque has demolished all sales records for SUVs in this class. Jonathan Crouch reports on how the latest MK2 model aims to stay in the top spot.
There aren't too many vehicles that dominate their class in quite such an imperious manner as the Land Rover Discovery. Now the opposition has even more to fret about, courtesy of a fifth generation model that the brand has continually improved. Jonathan Crouch reports
With the fully fledged Range Rover now a plutocratic purchase, it's this Sport model that for us, now most faithfully continues a model line stretching all the way back to the 1970 original. That very first Range Rover was a car you didn't have to be afraid to use as intended, on or off road. And nor is this second generation model.
Get the fundamental thing right with any great design - in this case the weight - and everything else then tends to fall into place. The aluminium platform that made this car so much lighter solves at a stroke the two issues that blighted the first generation Range Rover Sport: stodgy handling and high running costs. And yes, it does leave room for proper 4WD hardware to be fitted without compromising paved road prowess. Which is something that German rivals could learn from.
True, it's a pity that the entry-level TDV6 model does without some of the key on and off road features. And it's also necessary for potential customers to pay a little more than they would for some less sophisticated rivals, especially if they want to buy in at the SDV6 level that shows this car at its best.
Still, the right version of this car offers exactly the right kind of luxury SUV experience for those fortunate enough to be able to enjoy it. A Range Rover Sport that's a proper Range Rover. That's sporty. And that's a class leader. Job done.
The world takes on a different appearance from behind the wheel of a Land Rover Discovery. At the helm, you know you're in a car that can take on just about anything, be that a seven-up trip to the Alps or a relaxing ride home on a wet and slippery winter's night. But it's only when you put it through its paces in properly extreme terrain that the genius in its design becomes fully apparent. How can a car capable of such extremes on the rough stuff be so utterly easy to use on the school run? Only Land Rover knows.
Of course, German branded SUV rivals are sportier, but then the Solihull brand has the Range Rover Sport to take them on - for those who can afford it. Those who can't and want to buy British need a Discovery that can stay in the same dynamic ballpark as an M-Class, a Q7 or an X5 at the same time as continuing to obliterate cars of this kind off road. A Discovery that isn't vastly more expensive to run. And one that can feature all the high-tech gadgetry the Germans offer. This last 2014 to 2016-era version of the Discovery 4 was very much that car.
There's a clever, classless feel about it that nothing else from this period can quite replicate. Other rival SUVs claim to be tough but at the wheel, you're always a little hesitant to see them prove that. A Discovery's different, with a sheer depth of capability that's constantly tempting you into finding reasons to test it - to enjoy what it can do. Potholed tracks no longer need to tackled at a snail's pace, the softest roadside verges become viable turning opportunities and any muddy bank cries out to be driven down and up again, just for the heck of it. In contrast, some other sportier large SUVs can feel, well, rather silly. But then, this is a different way to go in this segment. A uniquely capable car of its kind and a British success story that we should be proud of.
The Range Rover line-up always needed a credible mid-sized contender. With this Velar model, it now has one. Jonathan Crouch looks at what's on offer.
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