The TD4 diesel engine in the Freelander is as quiet at idle as any in the class, low-rev response is quick and the drivetrain is impeccably smooth. The six-speed gearbox is tight and notch-free, the pedal action progressive. The urban ride is reasonable. The light steering is very direct (just over 2.5 turns lock to lock), which makes the Land Rover a doddle to thread around town.
Up the pace and the engine and drivetrain continue to impress. The low-power version of the 2.2-litre diesel builds smoothly to a maximum of 148bhp at 4000rpm. Maximum torque is 310lb ft and, because of the good low-rev response, the TD4 has a wide powerband for a diesel. The eco-tuned eD4 doesn't lose performance, recording the same power and torque figures as the TD4.
The high-power version offers up 187bhp, with identical torque to the other 2.2. It's pacier, but the powertrain isn’t exactly quiet, though; BMW’s equivalent X3, the SD4’s rival on price and performance, would be a bit more refined through the rev range. Once you’re up to speed, though, the Freelander’s engine fades into the background; it’s a decent motorway cruiser.
Manual variants are fitted with start-stop and revisions in 2011 resulted in the the start-up time improving by 30 percent to 700ms. The system will now work in temperatures as low as freezing.