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Land Rover Freelander



  • I've been a Rover Fanatic for years. I have owned Many Disco's and a quite a few Range Rovers over the past couple decades.. In 02 I decided to downgrade to the smaller Freelander. WHAT A MISTAKE!! I purchased an HSE fully loaded. What a hunk of junk!! I'm not clear on how this can be the most popular SUV in Europe. I had problems with the car from the git go. Brakes(Pads and Rotors worn out at 15k), Transmission(Hard, Hard Shifting), and Electrical problems with warning lights. Needless to say I got rid of this Vehicle and took quite a $$ loss. Landrover treated me as if I was some sort of moron or second class citizen when I spoke to them about these problems. Landrover Customer Support did not care at all. I still own a Range Rover. I saw the 04 Freelander and thought I'd give it a spin at my local dealer. Let me tell you--this vehicle is worse than the 02 I owned. It had hard shifting from the moment I punched the gas pedal at the dealership, in addition the brake system is identical to the 02 I owned. I test drove it anyway.. The car is cramped for space and under powered and still guzzles petrol. You'd think Landrover would learn from it prior Freelander issues but they haven't. I think I'm off to buy a Mazda Tribute a much better value for my $$ and probably a lot more dependable. At least Mazda provides a loaner if your car has problems.. BEWARE Landrover DOES NOT. It is up to the dealer....It obvious from other postings that Freelanders have some significant issues. I owned one and can attest to this--Buyers beware this vehicle has problems....
  • I get the picture on the Freelander. Now thet the BMW X3 is available with a manual transmission and a fuel efficient engine (not to mention a better options list), it looks like the Freelander is going to compete more on price within the premium compact SUV segment...and price is a dubious advantage in a "premium" segment.

    I still like the way the Freelander looks and drives (ex the drivetrain), though, so I bet the redesign will be worth checking out.
  • I agree the new look is neat but if you peel back the layers of this onion it still makes you cry..It's so sad they gave the car plastic surgery and a neat new look, yet they left everything else, underneath the body, that doesn't work. Landrover should spend more time fixing the electrical, transmission and braking problems. Any first year design student can make a pretty car, which in the Freelander case, they have done. Though it appears Landrover is using
    non qualified people to design transmissions, brake systems and electrical stuff which in turn creates cars that have numerous problems. I agree the new BMW X3 is a nice vehicle--overpriced though, it drives wonderfully.. The other neat SUV out there is the Tourag by VW(Porsche)also overpriced...Test drove the V8 Tourag and Loved it--just couldn't stomach the price...
  • sacstate1sacstate1 Posts: 189
    "The other neat SUV out there is the Tourag by VW(Porsche)also overpriced...Test drove the V8 Tourag and Loved it--just couldn't stomach the price... "

    You are a glutton for punishment! See the VW Toenail board for its problems.
  • I've had many of the same problems described here including the hill descent light and traction lights coming on intermitantly. I've had the lights replaced twice, but am now worried about brake problems based upon some of these posts....
    Specifically, is LR not covering this under warranty? I know brakes usually aren't covered, but obviously something is wrong when brakes fail between 10-20k miles.
  • At the end of the day, Land Rover does not stand behind its cars. This, above all, is a MAJOR reason not to choose a Land Rover---especially a Freelander.

    The following describes the car I drove off the lot after buying it new:

    * THE ENGINE SMOKED at stop signs and red lights. It turned out that the engine thermostat was defective.
    * After about two weeks, the wheel made rotating noises every time we went over small bumps. It turned out the break pad was defective.
    * The car is a Freelander SE, and we paid for heated seats. The window sticker said the car had heated seats. The car did not match the sticker however, and we had to bring it back back to the dealer to get the feature installed.

    Duing the ensuing year, the following problems have surfaced:
    * The sunroof stopped working because of a defective motor.
    * The side window stopped working because of a defective electrical part.
    * Engine dashboard warning lights came on because of electrical problems, a defective air intake valve, and other issues that involved words I did not understand. This happened within days after the car was in for its regular maintenance!

    We complained to Land Rover that so many issues --brakes, electrical, engine problems--were not normal for a car only a year-and-a-half old. After contacting Paul Miller in Parsippany, New Jersey, Land Rover's response was that the break-downs were part of the normal wear and tear that is covered under the warranty. In other words, WITHIN WHAT LAND ROVER CONSIDERS ACCEPTABLE FOR ITS CARS.

    Less than two weeks after Land Rover's response, the car broke down entirely and had to be towed into the shop. That is where we are now with this Land Rover. We HIGHLY suggest----DONT LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU.
  • We bought the car for about couple of months and it has logged only about 2700km on it. So, it is pretty new. I only drive at about 110km on a HWY, so it is not too fast at all. However, during my recent business trip to US, it broke down right before the border. The display was flashing F4 and there was a burnt smell. Fortunately, there wasn't too many car and I was in a complete stop. It appears that there is a major oil leak and oil was all over the engine and on the road under the car. After a while, I was able to start the car and move it to the side of the road. I waited for almost 2 hours in a freezing cold (about -20C) for the tow truck. It was a really bad experience. It is a new car and it is not suppose to be like this. I also own a Suzuki sidekick, Acura and a Toyota Sienna. None of them had given me any problems. The Sidekick is 10 years old and has 300000+km on it. It still runs fine even after an over-night low of -25C. I could start the engine the next morning even though I did not plug in the block heater.

    Right now, I am still waiting for the dealer to have it fixed and it has been 3 days.

    In a couple of years, I will probably buy another car (SUV) and it will DEFINITELY not a Land Rover vehicle because I have lost my trust or confidence on its quality or lack of it.

    So, my lesson to you is if you are thinking about buying a Freelander, think twice. For me, no more and I won't even put my family in the car because I cannot trust it not to break down in the middle of the road again.
  • first of all, thanks LR freelander owners of your honest impressions. i still like the freelander, especially the SE3. i've seen in los angeles that the 03's are being advertised at $7,000.00 off MSRP right now for all in-stock LR freelenders.

    anyone believe that this time next year would be a good time to deal for an '04 SE3? right now my local LR dealer will take $500 off sticker...only cos it has the wrong wheels (16" as opposed to 17").
  • retlefretlef Posts: 17
    Landover finally bought my vehicle back after 60 plus cumulative days in the shop. I had electrical problems, brake problems, transmission replacement, full wiring harness replacement, ECM replacement, wiring harness in the dashboard replacement, rear seat belt replacement, window motor replacement, and a water leak in the rear hatch that you could raise gold fish in. I had to file a claim with the BBB to finally make Landrover hear me. I of course had only written, emailed and spoken to Landrover twenty or thirty times prior to contacting the BBB. I even had a unique Landrover case number, which did me no good. When I returned the vehicle the 4 & F continued to blink on the odometer, the engine warning light continued to come on along with the hill decent failure light. The transmission still shifted hard on a vehicle that had very low miles on it. Through out the entire ordeal I carried a digital video camera to prove that the vehicle had problems. Landrover has repatriated the vehicle and it sits on one of their Landrover lots ready to be sold again, to some poor consumer. I saw this with my own eyes!!! All consumers should be aware of this when looking at used Landrovers at dealerships!! Last but not least Landrover treated me as if I was a second class citizen idiot. A word to the wise,when dealing with Freelander problems with Landrover.

    1.Always carry a digital camera

    2.Always take you vehicle in when a warning light comes on or the 4 & F blink

    3.Always report the hard shifting between 2nd and 3rd

    4.Always check the rear hatch where your jack is for water(lots of it) or rust around the lock mechanism

    5.Always report the brake wear and rotor replacement on the front disk brakes

    6.Always save all service paperwork

    7.Always report all problems to Landrover North America in writing and via email(keep all correspondence)

    8.Always be tenacious when dealing with Landrover and demand your rights

    9.Always contact
  • Geez, I wonder if I am reading the Yugo board. Is the LR that bad of a vehicle? Seems so.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Is the LR that bad of a vehicle?

    No, but if you're plagued with problems by any given vehicle then it's hard to conclude otherwise. Usually a little sympathy allays frustration.

    tidester, host
  • 'Usually a little sympathy allays frustration.'

    I don't visit Edmunds to patronize.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    I don't visit Edmunds to patronize.

    Nor does anyone else. Certainly, you're not here to deride folks who have had difficulties with their vehicles.

    Let's move on.

    tidester, host
  • Congratulations on your buyback. I have watched your posts over the last few months and can honestly say I felt your pain. I too had owned one of those Freelanders. Thanks you for the honest insightful how to. Good luck with whatever your next vehicle is..
  • Since I had the day off, I went to the local LR dealer to see about a test drive on an SE3. The dealer (who also sells other European brands) told me that I should make an appointment for a test drive and not just come in; since they are in an off-site location.

    I felt a bit like I was inconveniencing them by coming in. I have written-off that dealer and will look for another in my area. Heck, I just may go off the board and purchase a Honda Element.
  • I've compared everything to the '04 Freelander and still come back to it because of the soild feel and comfort. However, in reading all the comments I'm concerned about the engine build. Are these issues for real? The LR dealer advise they do not use parts from Lucas "anymore". Still have issues with the transmisson and brakes. Thoughts?
  • retlefretlef Posts: 17
    Thoughts--about the 04. Well if read my previous posts I had an 02 which Landrover just bought back. They offered me an 04. I couldn't do it. I wanted my $$ back so that I could buy a dependable vehicle. The 02 is identical to the 04 other than a face lift. Pop the hood and take a gander at the engine compartment. You will see Lucas stamps stickers all over the engine compartment(hint look a the back of the speedometer). The Freelander is a hodge of parts from Lucas,BMW and now probably Ford. The vehicles are plagued by problems world wide, electrical, transmission, brakes etc(just browse the web)... Need I say more--just read my previous posts. When my Freelander was running it was a great car to drive, though it spent most of it's time at the shop! I feel it is important to warn any consumer about the purchase of this vehicle.
  • tincup47tincup47 Posts: 1,508
    Lucas has not been in the automotive component business for years, the salesman is right. Freelander also has next to no Ford componentry other than some relays. Engines are by Rover Car company (not part of Land Rover since 2000), Transmissions are by JATCO (which is a Japanese company), Engine management system is by Seimens (which includes all engine and transmission control software and is a German company that supplies many other manufacturers), and chassis, interior, and body parts are unique to the Freelander. I certainly can understand your hostility towards the vehicle since you seemed to have gotten one with a lot of problems, but it doesn't help to misrepresent the facts. Also, just because the basic chassis and running gear has the same specs, it does not mean that there have not been many improvements made to the vehicle that are not readily apparent by looking at the vehicles.
  • riri23riri23 Posts: 15
    I know many owners that have had no problems at all with their vehicles. I have read here and at other sites of people with small and major issues but most of the issues are with '02 models. '02 was the first year of the Freelander in the U.S. and although the Freelander has been out for many years in Europe the specs are not the same. My thoughts is that the '02 had most of the bugs of the new model.
    Just my two cents.
  • I have an '03, ~18k miles on it and the ohly problem I had was a faulty rear diff (high pitched whine). It was replaced and now the car is "perfect". I am not denying (nor could I) any other experiences, but wanted to give another perspective.

    This car is a pleasure to drive!
  • Lucas is still a big part of Landrover. Retlef is correct just open the hood and take a look. The transmission you mentioned I believe is what they put on the Discoveries not the Freelander. I heard Freelanders use a BMW 3 or 5 series transmission. I also owned one of these beasts and can attest that they are maintinence nightmares. Though I agree I like they way they drive...
  • tincup47tincup47 Posts: 1,508
    You obviously are as ill informed as retlef. I work for Land Rover North America and am very familiar with the source of the vehicle components. I have also spent time under the hood of our vehicles, including yesterday prior to posting my response. Lucas was bought by TRW in 1998 and effectively no longer supplies automotive components. Discovery uses a ZF Auto transmission, not a JATCO unit. The Jatco unit used was intitally for the front drive Rover 75 with a seperate differential added to enable rear drive for the AWD on the Freelander. The Freelander V6 drivetrain was developed when BMW owned both Rover cars and Land Rover and BMW used the Rover 75 drivetrain. BMW's have longitudinal straight six engines and are primarily RWD. The Freelander has a transverse V6 and has a transaxle for the front wheels with the added IRD unit to provide rear drive. Once again, it helps to have your facts straight.
  • retlefretlef Posts: 17
    Hey it's great you are a mechanic you have a lot of job security with the Freelander series. Just a little clarity. The Freelander V6 comes with a five-speed automatic gearbox, featuring Steptronic ‘manual’ change developed by Land Rover. The five-speed automatic Steptronic gearbox is equipped with multiple drive modes for maximum control. This gearbox is viewed by the company as a major improvement. The bottom line is mine was replaced with less than 12k on it. The "replacement transmission" had similar problems!! Of course mine was one out of hundreds that was plagued by problems, multiple problems from wiring to brakes to transmission to electrical!!! Fortunately Landrover was forced to buy it back. It's great you review posts here, maybe you can help the other folks with problematic Freelanders. There seem to many of those folks posting comments...
  • tincup47tincup47 Posts: 1,508
    I am not a mechanic, I just know a lot about the vehicles. The "Steptronic" is not the type of gearbox, it is the manual shift mode that is one of the features of the software in the transmission control module. Land Rover did not design this feature alone, it was a feature developed by Jatco and BMW along with Land Rover. Actually Land Rover had to change the name from "Steptronic" to "Command Shift" when Ford aquired Land Rover from BMW in 2000 as "Steptronic" is a registered trademark of BMW and is used in several of their vehicles with automatic transmissions. As I said before, BMW used the engine and transmission from the Rover 75 sedan and modified it to allow for the AWD feature in the Freelander. Jatco supplies the same 5 speed automatic transmission to several companies, not just Land Rover.
     Sorry to hear about your negative experience with the vehicle, but there are many owners who are having a positive experience with the vehicle.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    "OK, so this thing is, like, cuter than the original Suzuki Samurai, the VW New Beetle and Honda Element all rolled into one. That's not meant as a slight, but an honest statement of our adoration."

    Follow-Up Test: 2004 Land Rover Freelander

    Steve, Host
  • Thanks for the link, Steve_! Those pics are great, and the review is mostly positive.

    I really don't view the Freelander as "cute" nor would I compare it to an Element; but I was glad they did the price comparison between the SE3 and Toyota's RAV4.

    This must be a sign...since 2 days ago I put a deposit down on a 2004 Java Black Freelander SE3 with the 18" wheels. I tried a new dealer, and the difference is night and day! Now I'm wondering if I should lease or buy.

  • normbxnormbx Posts: 4
    I searched here when deciding to get a FL back in late September last year.
    Despite all the negative reports we drove and liked the freelander so much we got it.
    After six months (the FL had 6K miles on it when purchased)
    So far, after a long New England Winter it has been great!

    In the snow, this SUV beats the CR-v hands down. Incredible. I owned a Jeep Wrangler and a CR-v and this beat them both in the snow totally.

    Vehicle is solid as can be and a pleasure to drive and ride in.

    Frankly I like it now, more than the discovery, which we used for a while, when getting the oil change. The freelander is just more fun.

    So, while I can't dismiss the problems that others are having with this SUV, I can say that we are loving ours. If you wanted a toyota, then you shoulda got a toyota.
  • sacstate1sacstate1 Posts: 189
    'If you wanted a toyota, then you shoulda got a toyota.'

    I did.
  • rex4johnrex4john Posts: 17
    Hopefully by the end of the week, I'll be taking ownership of a Java Black 2004 Freelander SE3. I'm really looking forward to it. I think I'm going to get the accessory soft-top and see if I can get bodyside moldings put on it, also.

    I may be in the shop a bit more than my Lexus, MAYBE...but I think it will be fun to have a truck with a bit more "soul" to it than the appliance I drive now.
  • waroverwarover Posts: 1
    I feel obligated to comment to save other consumers the grief I've experienced with my vehicle. Brake rotors warped at 12k - LR coporate reviewed but can't explain - LR will not share frequency/cause of failure. Dealership told me Freelander rotors were in short supply nationwide last summer. Why short supply on a 18 month old vehicle? Perhaps b/c this brake rotor warping problem is widespread. My dealer used non-standard parts resulting in catastrophic brake failure injuring 3 people. No more Rovers for me.
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