I like my Freelander

As forecast, it has not snowed since I swapped my Jaguar XF for a Freelander! It worked.

I find it an improvement. So much of what passed for controlling the Jaguar had to be executed by pressing on a flabby touch screen. If there was sunshine it was difficult or impossible to read it. If you put sidelights on in fog, rain or on a dull day the car automatically dimmed the touch screen as if it were night, making it difficult to read. The screen soon was covered in fingerprints however clean your hands were.

The Freeelander has dials and push buttons to control the CD and the radio. It has knobs and buttons to control the heating and cooling and the seat warmers. It has push buttons and dials to use the telephone. It is all so much easier and more visible.

The manual override for the automatic box is a bit better than the Jaguar’s. It still changes down when you don’t want it to, but it does go into higher gears more often and stays there for a bit longer if you ask nicely.

It’s true it has a touch screen for the sat nav. Like the Jaguar the sat nav knows best, often switching displays when you have not requested it. Like the Jaguar it gives you ludicrously optimistic arrival times. All these sat navs seem to think you can average around 30 mph in built up areas, allowing no time for the endless traffic lights , pedestrian crossings, level crossings, road works, chicanes, badly parked vehicles, buses and cycles that make a 10mph average pretty good.

No 4 x 4 is beautiful, but the Freelander is handsome when you compare it to many other 4 x 4s. My fuel economy is 25% better than the Jaguar, as it is a diesel with a more sensible gear box. The Land Rover is classless, well suited to the gritty reality of 2010. It’s a working car, with many practical features. So far it has not got stuck in the mud and has not skated on the frozen car parks and side streets. I could go a meet a dustman at the Ritz or a Duke in a muddy field – or is still the other way round in Labour’s Britain? The Freelander would look fine for either.

I miss my S Type, but I’m not going back to the XF. It’s such a relief not having to fight it every day.

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19 Comments

  1. Kevin Peat
    Posted February 14, 2010 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    I remember my old Motorola radio. All it had was a tuning dial and a volume dial. Bliss.

    My latest radio has so many features on it that I wonder whether I control it, or it controls me. It's always changing channel of its own accord for the 'best' signal. It's a pity it can't find the best music !

    The screen on my digital camera is impossible to view in broad daylight because of the reflection. One wonders if they field test these products properly.

  2. alan jutson
    Posted February 14, 2010 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    John

    So it would appear you like driving at a higher level, with lower cost.

    Whilst perhaps not giving you the comfort level of ride of your old Jaguar, the Freelander suspension should cope better with the speed humps, inso far as the tracking will not have to be reset every 12 months or so.
    The higher profile tyres will also cope better with the growing number of potholes.

  3. Matt
    Posted February 14, 2010 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Yes I would list the screen as a design flaw. It’s can’t be read when bright light falls onto it.

    This is less of a problem when the screen is just passive, but becomes a problem when you have to interact with it.

  4. Brigham
    Posted February 14, 2010 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I bought a Hyundai Terracan about 5 years ago. It was cheap, and the driving position does not give me backache, as do many cars. I've never had any trouble from it, and I can get two sets of golf clubs and trolleys in it with ease. It is the best car I ever owned. I don't care that I will bring the global warming perhaps a second nearer, as the resources of this planet are finite anyway.

  5. Hawkeye
    Posted February 14, 2010 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Life's awkward enough without back chat from your possessions.

  6. oldtimer
    Posted February 14, 2010 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    The Freelander is a fine vehicle. I nearly traded in my five year old Honda Tourer for one last autumn. Just two things dissuaded me – (1) a lack of cubby holes and discrete storage and (2) a smaller, less legible instrument display than on my Honda. A third consideration was a shorter load space when the rear seats were down; the Honda excels here. Other than that the Freelander is very attractive. Its terrain control is outstanding.

  7. Bob
    Posted February 14, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Sometimes they go over the top with the gadgets.
    What we really need is all around window defrosters (controlled with a button not a computer).

  8. Nicola Clubb
    Posted February 14, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    In answer to the Sat Nav problem, learn how to read maps and also learn the best routes and through that piece of technolical junk out of the window.

  9. Javelin
    Posted February 14, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    It's always great buying a good piece of tech. A real pleasure in life having something that delivers so reliably. You keep them for ages and use them all the time. The cost is always efficient.

    These are the few items I don't regret buying:-

    1) A Siberian goose down duvet – the lightest possible 10.5 tog. I spend 7 hours a day under it. It cost £300. It floats and envelopes like nothing else. Bought them for girlfriends as everything else feels like sleeping under old newspaper. Had two in 25 years. It comes out of dry cleaning like new. Stunning.

    2) An Omega Watch – 15 years old. Always on time. I never take it off. Only changed the time twice since I had it.

    3) A few BMWS. My first was an 318is. A perfect car for a twenty something. Not too big or small. A pleasure to drive. Balanced, solid, efficient. I've had Porsches and Mercs but I always preferred to get into my 3 series.

    4) A Sony Gas Plasma. Gas plasmas have a depth and saturation to them you just dont get in a LCD. A real, real emotional pleasure to view a panorama. I swapped it for a Samsung and will always reget it.

    5) The iphone. Use it all the time. A user interface designed by a Brit on top of a Finnish operating system and sold by Yanks. Again something I'll never regret buying.

  10. no one
    Posted February 14, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    "dustman at the Ritz or a Duke in a muddy field – or is still the other way round in Labour’s Britain?"

    thanks for making me laugh, that really made me laugh

  11. APL
    Posted February 14, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    JR: "I like my Freelander .."

    A 4×4, well done sir, two fingers to the greenies!

  12. Simon
    Posted February 14, 2010 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    I had a Freelander2 for a year and found it very good. If you ever feel particularly nerdy about it or need to know something there is a good forum which is very helpful here. http://www.freel2.com

  13. Robert K, Oxford
    Posted February 15, 2010 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    May 2010
    As forecast, the old model has been consigned to the dustbin of history
    Most people find the new model an improvement. So much of what passed for controlling the last government had to be executed by pressing on a flabby prime minister, who was difficult to deal with and impossible to read most of the time. When the electorate yearned for illumination when the path was unclear, he would automatically dim things down making it impossible to know what was going on. A lot of us suspected whose fingerprints were on policy, and he wasn’t sitting in the Commons (where, incidentally, there were few clean hands).
    Now, the new chap knows how to push buttons to warm things up and cool them down. We feel we can communicate so much more easily – he seems so much more visible and easy to get on with. Who knows, perhaps he can save 25% on the public spending bill.
    The real test, though, is whether he’ll do what so few SUVs do – go to the tough, off-road places they were designed for but so rarely are driven.

    • Peter
      Posted February 24, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      John, I am sorry to read that you traded your Jaguar XF.
      At least you continued to support British manufacturing.
      However, in the interests of balance, I think it would be fair if you would allow me to point out that Jaguar XF sales are going from strength to strength, indeed over 19000 have been sold.
      http://www.xfforum.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=40

  14. Ian HP
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Good luck with the Land Rover… My sister and I have both recently traded ours (Discovery and Defender) in for more reliable marques. Both Land Rovers were bought from new and less than two years old… both had been back to the dealership on the back of a transporter 4 or 5 times with critical faults (brakes and engines) an numerous niggly failures. I hope you have a second car handy.

  15. Pete
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I traded from a string of German cars into an XF, to be honest its the best car I've ever owned with none of the issues you found so much of a problem. Of course you are entitled to your view as much as the next man (or woman) but please avoid being critical of one of our manufacturing success stories.

    Reply: I am entitled to my view and you to yours. That makes a market. As someone who has bought a dozen Jaguars over the years I was disappointed to reach the conclusion I reached. Jaguar failed to respond to my various comments and issues I raised with them privately. Whenever I filled in one of their many customer response forms they failed to reply. They told me the manual override would allow me to drive the car as I wished but it didn't. The car was too automatic for my taste. I still miss my manual S type badly. That was a great car. I have bought another car made in the UK.

  16. Jonathan
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    The XF is a fabulous car that has performed perfectly well for me in the snow. May I politely suggest that the complaints made by Mr Redwood are more a reflection of him and his driving.

    As Peter said, the XF has sold extremely well and with good reason. It is a Jaguar success and has won plenty of awards since its introduction. As for the touch screen, you are in the minority who don't like it.

    Reply: If it is as popular and good as you say there is no need to make an unjustified attack on me and my driving. I am delighted to learn that others like the high degree of automation in this vehicle. I wish all UK manufacturers well, but they also need to listen to long standing customers.

  17. Dom
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Well, a bad decision Sir. The XF is a fine car indeed although as with all 2wd cars it leaves something to be desired in the snow.

    My solution? Run an XF AND a Discovery 3. Simple. Both British built and I now have the choice of the most appropriate vehicle for the job and conditions in hand.

    Should have bought the Freelander AND kept the XF 🙂

  18. cheap ghd
    Posted May 7, 2010 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    A third consideration was a shorter load space when the rear seats were down; the Honda excels here. Other than that the Freelander is very attractive. Its terrain control is outstanding.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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