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Clivey

Original Poster:

2,574 posts

84 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
Evening all.

I'll make this as straightforward as possible: I'm considering my first 4x4 and here are my requirements, as it were:

- Needs to be a "proper" off roader - We do want to go off road, green laning etc.
- It's also to be a weekday car for my partner, which will be used for an urban commute - so no Defenders etc.
- We will be using it for long journeys, consequently we'd like it to be reasonably confortable and refined with air con, good seats etc.
- Therefore, I'd like as many MPG as possible (I'm thinking 30 urban, 40 extra)
- We're planning on getting our first dog (Labrador) within the next year and so we'd like something suitable for that
- I am fussy about the condition - I don't like to see worn seats, scratched interiors etc. and I don't want a car that feels "tired"
- We have a budget of around £6,000

As a result, I've narrowed the search down to a Freelander 1 TD4 (the facelift model). Something like This

Firstly, what's the general consensus on Freelander reliability these days (specifically the facelift TD4)?
Secondly, what should I be looking for model & spec wise? Are the 3 or 5 doors preferable for off roading or doesn't it matter? Are there any specific faults with either?
Finally, what other alternatives are there (I know there are a lot of small 4x4s, but not many that can go as far off road as the Land Rover)?

P.S.: I've had a quick look on various Land Rover forums but can't decide which is best to join to ask questions. Any ideas?

normalbloke

2,410 posts

99 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
Don't do it.

ClaphamGT3

4,088 posts

123 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
We've got a 2001 pre-facelift model as the family run-around. Totally reliable, scrubs up well when it has to although it has a tough life. Ours is the V6 petrol so not economical but a nice spec as an ESX (in facelift parlance, an HSE). The only thing is that they're not brilliant off road as you can't lock the diffs.

Overall, I can't think of a mini 4x4 I'd rather have - happy hunting!

camel_landy

2,095 posts

63 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
Cracking cars... Brilliant off-road.

The only caveat is that if you are using it off-road, get yourself the TD4 Auto as that will help compensate for the lack of low-range.

As for reliability... The TD4 is the BMW engine, chain driven & bomb proof! I recently saw an example with over 400,000 miles on it and still going strong. The problem areas are around the IRD & Viscus coupling (Google it, there's plenty of info out there).

M

Edited by camel_landy on Friday 5th October 21:49

Clivey

Original Poster:

2,574 posts

84 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
Thanks all for the replies so far! smile

normalbloke said:
Don't do it.
Any reasons why?

ClaphamGT3 said:
We've got a 2001 pre-facelift model as the family run-around. Totally reliable, scrubs up well when it has to although it has a tough life. Ours is the V6 petrol so not economical but a nice spec as an ESX (in facelift parlance, an HSE). The only thing is that they're not brilliant off road as you can't lock the diffs.

Overall, I can't think of a mini 4x4 I'd rather have - happy hunting!
I was initially concerned about the lack of low range & locking diffs, but after watching some videos on YouTube, I must say I'm quite impressed with just how far the baby of the range can go off road. It'd still be nice to have them though but I suppose that given my other requirements (specifically MPG) I can't have everything!

camel_landy said:
Cracking cars... Brilliant off-road.

The only caveat is that if you are using it off-road, get yourself the TD4 Auto as that will help compensate for the lack of low-range.

As for reliability... The TD4 is the BMW engine, chain driven & bomb proof! I recently saw an example with over 400,000 miles on it and still going strong. The problem areas are around the IRD & Viscus coupling (Google it, there's plenty of info out there).

M

Edited by camel_landy on Friday 5th October 21:49
Hmmm...I wouldn't mind the auto if it didn't bugger the fuel economy. We currently have a Citroen C4 diesel that does ~44 MPG in town and whilst I realise that any 4x4 will see a big drop in that, it'd be less painful to get 30 out of a manual than 25 out of the auto (going on the official urban figures for the two gearboxes).

Will a manual cause big problems with clutches etc. off road, or is it a case of the auto being preferable from that point of view, but not essential?
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clunkbox

157 posts

20 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
Used to have a td4 commercial at work.

We got 30-35 mpg, which was mostly A roads, not driving participial economically, and with chunky tyres. It was OK on the road, you could drive it more enthusiastically than the Ranger we replaced it with anyway. I'm sure it would be pretty decent with road tyres on it. Driving position is nice, but cab was noisy at 70+, we had chunky tyres and a roof rack so YYMV.

Off road it's a mixed bag. Lack of low box is a bit of a problem, first is quite high and it's not massively powerful at low rev's so crawling over obstacles isn't really an option. Lack of locking diffs can be an issue too. You have to drive it like a FWD car off road, approach things with as much momentum as you dare! Our exhaust fell off every time we went off road till we fixed it with cable ties, but the underside seems well protected, which is good because you'll constantly be catching it on stuff! Ground clearance ok, but because it is just a fraction lower than other 4x4's you'll find every rut is just a little bit too deep, having been gouged out by defenders and hiluxes!

Because of the lack of low box and so-so ground clearance I wouldn't recommend it as an serious off roader. It is a capable vehicle, but requires a lack of mechanical sympathy get it some places! Tracks that were touch and go in the freelander are doddle in the Ranger. From the sound of an auto box might help though.

If you want a family vehicle to dabble in a little off roading, it isn't a bad choice. If you want a go-anywhere vehicle and don't fancy battering hell out of it do so, look elsewhere.

We got rid of ours at just under 150k, due to a misfire and knackered IRD / Viscus coupling (may have been due to running mismatched tyres front to rear) - despite these problems it still drove fine, but it sounded a bit ill! Other than that it was reliable despite being used hard, being a vodafone fleet vehicle before we got our grubby hands on it.

Edit: An example this is a track it struggled on. It's quite a bit steeper than it looks, and because of the lack of power you had to keep up a bit of speed otherwise you would run out of momentum and grind to a halt. Because of the speed you have to keep up, you will be bouncing about and moving rocks underneath you. And due to the lack of ground clearance, and the speed you need to be doing you *will* bump the underside. But it did get up and it was more exciting that going up the same track in a proper 4x4!
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Edited by clunkbox on Friday 5th October 23:12


Edited by clunkbox on Monday 2nd September 18:17

D7PNY

95 posts

43 months

[news] 
Saturday 6th October 2012 quote quote all
Grand vitara an option?

I've an 07 petrol which gets poor reviews for being under powered. This is true but is the only fault I can find with it.

I use mine for my commute, towing my track car (through fields etc on occasion) and it's been great.

Does 30mpg whatever I do to it and still manages above 25 whilst towing.

Has 4 hi/lock, and 4 lo selectable options to if offroad ability required.

Diesel better on power but considerably more expensive like for like and didn't recieve as good reliability reviews. Wierdly they seem to suffer more transmission issues (according to what I found) and of course DPF.

Mine has been great and through my abuse has only needed a small seal at the back of the gearbox (about a tenner) and heat shield on cat came loose so now held on with a huge jubilee clip smile

Cheers,

Dave

Clivey

Original Poster:

2,574 posts

84 months

[news] 
Saturday 6th October 2012 quote quote all
clunkbox said:
Used to have a td4 commercial at work.

We got 30-35 mpg, which was mostly A roads, not driving participial economically, and with chunky tyres. It was OK on the road, you could drive it more enthusiastically than the Ranger we replaced it with anyway. I'm sure it would be pretty decent with road tyres on it. Driving position is nice, but cab was noisy at 70+, we had chunky tyres and a roof rack so YYMV.

Off road it's a mixed bag. Lack of low box is a bit of a problem, first is quite high and it's not massively powerful at low rev's so crawling over obstacles isn't really an option. Lack of locking diffs can be an issue too. You have to drive it like a FWD car off road, approach things with as much momentum as you dare! Our exhaust fell off every time we went off road till we fixed it with cable ties, but the underside seems well protected, which is good because you'll constantly be catching it on stuff! Ground clearance ok, but because it is just a fraction lower than other 4x4's you'll find every rut is just a little bit too deep, having been gouged out by defenders and hiluxes!

Because of the lack of low box and so-so ground clearance I wouldn't recommend it as an serious off roader. It is a capable vehicle, but requires a lack of mechanical sympathy get it some places! Tracks that were touch and go in the freelander are doddle in the Ranger. From the sound of an auto box might help though.

If you want a family vehicle to dabble in a little off roading, it isn't a bad choice. If you want a go-anywhere vehicle and don't fancy battering hell out of it do so, look elsewhere.

We got rid of ours at just under 150k, due to a misfire and knackered IRD / Viscus coupling (may have been due to running mismatched tyres front to rear) - despite these problems it still drove fine, but it sounded a bit ill! Other than that it was reliable despite being used hard, being a vodafone fleet vehicle before we got our grubby hands on it.

Edit: An example this is a track it struggled on. It's quite a bit steeper than it looks, and because of the lack of power you had to keep up a bit of speed otherwise you would run out of momentum and grind to a halt. Because of the speed you have to keep up, you will be bouncing about and moving rocks underneath you. And due to the lack of ground clearance, and the speed you need to be doing you *will* bump the underside. But it did get up and it was more exciting that going up the same track in a proper 4x4!


Edited by clunkbox on Friday 5th October 23:12
Thanks for that. Very informative.

When i first started looking, I bought the August issue of Land Rover International - It was a Freelander special and featured a lightly modified car that had (amongst other things) all terrains, a 2-inch lift, 30mm spacers (to widen the track and allow it to fit down routes carved by Defenders) and a Mantec sump guard. I've since seen that someone else has a similarly-modified one and judging by his photos, doesn't seem to have much trouble going where other 4x4s go. This, and the previously mentioned YouTube videos actually ensure that it's ultimate off-road ability isn't my biggest worry. As It'd be my first 4x4, I'd start any off-road escapades as gently as possible so as to avoid doing damage / getting into trouble.

My main concern though is reliability etc. I'm currently looking at 2004-05 HSE and Sport models with around 60k miles. The one thing I've decided that I definitely want is either leather or leather/alcantara heated seats.

Are there any other "must have" items on the spec list or options that would hinder it off road? E.g. is the suspension of the 3-door Sport model inferior in any way when it comes to off-roading?

D7PNY said:
Grand vitara an option?

I've an 07 petrol which gets poor reviews for being under powered. This is true but is the only fault I can find with it.

I use mine for my commute, towing my track car (through fields etc on occasion) and it's been great.

Does 30mpg whatever I do to it and still manages above 25 whilst towing.

Has 4 hi/lock, and 4 lo selectable options to if offroad ability required.

Diesel better on power but considerably more expensive like for like and didn't recieve as good reliability reviews. Wierdly they seem to suffer more transmission issues (according to what I found) and of course DPF.

Mine has been great and through my abuse has only needed a small seal at the back of the gearbox (about a tenner) and heat shield on cat came loose so now held on with a huge jubilee clip smile

Cheers,

Dave
I quite like the new-shape ones and it appears to tick all the right boxes...but it doesn't pass muster with my partner unfortunately. I think she likes the chunky styling of the Freelander...thanks for the suggestion though - you're thinking along the right lines.

A.J.M

4,242 posts

66 months

[news] 
Saturday 6th October 2012 quote quote all
Having moved on from a 04 td4 SE 6 weeks ago, here is my report over 3 1/2 years and 37k driving.

The leather/alcantra is a decent seat, not overly cold in winter like full leather.

The bmw engine likes good oil and filters, the EGR can be blanked and gives good returns for smoothness and fuel economy, hoses split with age but silicone replacements are cheap and easy to fit.

Remember to get the crankcase filter changed, nearly always gets missed on services and a clogged one will kill the turbo in time.

Best tyres go on the back, try and not mix brands etc as they don't like it.
The VCU can give trouble, you can get a recon unit from bell engineering for a few £££, loads of happy people have used the company and have a good reputation in LR circles.

Drop links can go over time, so listen for a clunk from the front, cheap and easy to change.

They handle pretty well, i used to take mine on PH runs hehe and never got left behind as long as you knew it was a 4x4.

Very good in winter snow and grass if you have decent M+S rated tyres.

Make sure you get a proper LR specialist to look after them, mine suffered badly at the hands of a cowboy one and it cost me dearly to put right.
Manual's can give issues with the clutch, usually the master cylinder packs up, but if the slave goes then it's a gearbox out job to change. 7 hours labour.

The boot is on the small side but my labrador was happy in it, the drop down window is a good idea to help with keeping the dog cool.

Buy a good one and they are a fine car, buy a bad one and you will hate it.

mikeh501

374 posts

61 months

[news] 
Saturday 6th October 2012 quote quote all
How about a discovery 1 or 2? Far far far better than a gay lander off road. Better as a family bus, better as a long distance tourer.

A.J.M

4,242 posts

66 months

[news] 
Saturday 6th October 2012 quote quote all
mikeh501 said:
How about a discovery 1 or 2? Far far far better than a gay lander off road. Better as a family bus, better as a long distance tourer.
You must have misses the fuel economy requirement of the OP then?

My freeby did 37 round town and could hit 45 on the motorway.
The disco does 23 round town and 32 on the motorway.

Also, gay lander? Really? This is PH, landyzone is where you go for that name calling pish. wink

mikeh501

374 posts

61 months

[news] 
Saturday 6th October 2012 quote quote all
Missed that. Must have been autocorrect on the iPad wink

Clivey

Original Poster:

2,574 posts

84 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
A.J.M said:
Having moved on from a 04 td4 SE 6 weeks ago, here is my report over 3 1/2 years and 37k driving.

The leather/alcantra is a decent seat, not overly cold in winter like full leather.

The bmw engine likes good oil and filters, the EGR can be blanked and gives good returns for smoothness and fuel economy, hoses split with age but silicone replacements are cheap and easy to fit.

Remember to get the crankcase filter changed, nearly always gets missed on services and a clogged one will kill the turbo in time.

Best tyres go on the back, try and not mix brands etc as they don't like it.
The VCU can give trouble, you can get a recon unit from bell engineering for a few £££, loads of happy people have used the company and have a good reputation in LR circles.

Drop links can go over time, so listen for a clunk from the front, cheap and easy to change.

They handle pretty well, i used to take mine on PH runs hehe and never got left behind as long as you knew it was a 4x4.

Very good in winter snow and grass if you have decent M+S rated tyres.

Make sure you get a proper LR specialist to look after them, mine suffered badly at the hands of a cowboy one and it cost me dearly to put right.
Manual's can give issues with the clutch, usually the master cylinder packs up, but if the slave goes then it's a gearbox out job to change. 7 hours labour.

The boot is on the small side but my labrador was happy in it, the drop down window is a good idea to help with keeping the dog cool.

Buy a good one and they are a fine car, buy a bad one and you will hate it.
The above sounds good and I don't mind maintaining my cars properly. When I bought my BMW, it had apparently "just been serviced" - they must've put the wrong grade of oil in it because it drank it almost as fast as the petrol in the tank and left me seriously concerned. I replaced it with the correct grade Castrol Edge and it's not used a drop since!

It sounds like choosing the right car in the first place is the biggest challenge. Are there any well-regarded dealers that I should check out (I don't mind travelling)?

Mike, I would love a nice Disco 2 but unfortunately I can't quite stomach having 2 cars that only do 20-odd to the gallon at the moment. My partner does an urban commute during the week so a Disco would be at the petrol station forecourt more than it'd be on our drive...shame really.

ClaphamGT3

4,088 posts

123 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
I would say go for a light colour. The aircon on the Freelander I and facelift is pretty marginal; ours is black and even though the aircon is fully functional it can struggle to cool the car on a hot day.

Clivey

Original Poster:

2,574 posts

84 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
ClaphamGT3 said:
I would say go for a light colour. The aircon on the Freelander I and facelift is pretty marginal; ours is black and even though the aircon is fully functional it can struggle to cool the car on a hot day.
Ideally, I'd like a red one. I've had 4 blue cars in a row and it's time for a change! I like unusual colours though - sometimes you see a colour that you hadn't previously considered but that looks great on that particular car.

Does anyone else think the air con's not up to much?

camel_landy

2,095 posts

63 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
Air-con has been fine for me in the ones I've driven.

Everyone here will have their own views (some based on experience, some based on prejudice...), what you need to do now is get behind the wheel of one and form your own opinion... Not someone else's. wink

M

Edited by camel_landy on Sunday 7th October 12:48

A.J.M

4,242 posts

66 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
My air con was hit and miss really, had it regassed twice but it still seemed to need redone every year, my mate's one though was winter cold even on the hottest day's.

I would try and buy from a 4x4 specialist, or ask LR specialist garages if they know of any coming up for sale.

Oh, and for the record, mine went round a 4x4 course better than many deafeners and rrc's due to the better weight and traction control.

They are not a disco or deafener, they are not designed to do the things they do. So many people falsely look down on them, but for snow driving and getting about on muddy fields and grassy slopes, they are just as good, the lack of ground clearance is an issue but you can usually work your way around it.

Oh and they dont suffer the rust issues that deafender, rrc's disco 1 and 2's suffer from so you dont need to worry about welding it up for every mot or covering the underside in waxoil. wink

downthepub

717 posts

86 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
I don't know what size you are, but a good friend of mine had one of these (a freebie cast off from his mother believe it or not), and he had tremendous problems with the seats and driving posture. Basically buzzing around town was fine, anything further was painful for his back. I never had a problem with it. We are both about 6', I'm about average proportions whereas he's got quite a long back and the lack of height adjust for him was a problem. Perhaps take one out for a drive to ensure you fit.


Clivey

Original Poster:

2,574 posts

84 months

[news] 
Monday 8th October 2012 quote quote all
camel_landy said:
Air-con has been fine for me in the ones I've driven.

Everyone here will have their own views (some based on experience, some based on prejudice...), what you need to do now is get behind the wheel of one and form your own opinion... Not someone else's. wink

M
Actually I drove one on Wednesday that was for sale locally. - A HSE Station Wagon with a black leather interior. I can't say I noted the effectiveness of the air con but I was quite impressed with the drive. The steering and gearbox were more direct than I imagined and the only real criticism is that the dashboard looks a bit dated with all the Rover switchgear. - it's just that my C4's like a space ship inside so everything else is a bit "normal". However, unlike the C4, the Freelander has a usable glovebox and cup holders!

After driving one, a Freelander seems like the ideal car for what we're after but on this particular example the interior was badly scuffed and scratched and there were some other tell-tale signs of a careless owner. I still can't decide the exact model I want or even whether I want a Hardback or Station Wagon (at this point I'm leaning towards the Hardback). I think our ideal Freelander would be a HSE Hardback...but they seem to be quite rare. - I like the look of the Sport models but I think they're the wrong model for off-roading due to the lower suspension and bigger wheels (correct me if I'm wrong). As I understand it, that leaves only the SE and HSE if I want leather?

downthepub said:
I don't know what size you are, but a good friend of mine had one of these (a freebie cast off from his mother believe it or not), and he had tremendous problems with the seats and driving posture. Basically buzzing around town was fine, anything further was painful for his back. I never had a problem with it. We are both about 6', I'm about average proportions whereas he's got quite a long back and the lack of height adjust for him was a problem. Perhaps take one out for a drive to ensure you fit.
I'm about 6'2" or 6'3"...I was surprised the driver's seat doesn't have a height adjuster but I still managed to get comfortable quite easily. The problem is that you can't normally take one on a long journey before you buy it!

Thanks everyone for the help - this is good stuff...keep it coming! smile

ClaphamGT3

4,088 posts

123 months

[news] 
Monday 8th October 2012 quote quote all
I think you're possibly being too fussy on condition. You need to remember that these get bought to be family cars/dog carriers/towing vehicles. Everyone that I know with one gives it a fairly hard life and, don't forget, the youngest of these will be 5 years old now.
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