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.