Freelander II - Really, Softroader??





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  1. #1
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    Default Freelander II - Really, Softroader??

    I drive a Land Rover in Toyota country.

    I bought me a 2013 SD4 SE almost a year ago, to be able to do field work when necessary. I work as a geophysicist and just came from an epic round trip: Windhoek - Ariamsvlei - Seeheim - Aus - Solitaire - Gamsberg Pass - Windhoek (2100km journey in three days). Half the journey was on gravel (Grunau to Seeheim and Aus to Windhoek via Solitaire on the C19 and C26 ).

    We were under time pressure and every day had to reach our next destination before sunset as it is just down right stupid to drive the gravel roads at night. My colleagues were driving the old favourite 3.0D4D ahead of me. Because I had to catch up to the lead car (I stopped to take photos at places), when the gravel road was good I reached speeds of 140km/h, however, I could comfortably cruze between 100 - 130km/h. I even found myself doing 150km/h overtaking a Q7 3.0TDi that was set on staying ahead of me. It sounds ridiculous, but I was not on a pleasure ride, but had to complete our tasks within and I guess he was not prepared to drive in my dust cloud...which is nasty to drive in.

    I must say, that on this journey, I drove the car with no Terrain response setting. My first long gravel drive, was on the Grass/Gravel/Snow setting, which I read to make the car always use 4x4 mode, whereas normally it will do 2x4 (mostly FWD). It was only once that the traction control flashed a couple of times. Is it better to drive in Gravel mode on the gravel roads?

    I was seriously impressed how the Freelander did this journey. As always, the guys in the Hulix felt invincible, of course, however, the Freelander raised their eyebrows on occasions where they were convinced it "will struggle". Also, the handling on the gravel roads were immense with zero rattles, especially at places where the road was very corrugated. The Hilux is 3 years old and it feels as if the dash will fall off on these road, however, not with the Freelander.

    I really wondered if the Freelander should have the term "Softroader", because it coped pretty well without the low-range, that seems to be a "must-have" when doing offroad driving. Through the Kalahari Dunes, the Sand setting did a remarkable job and I used Mud/Ruts once, when climbing a small hill at "rock-crawling speeds", however, the next day I went up the same hill in Gravel mode. In the normal setting it would have struggled, I guess, but then the Hilux also was not able to do the same hill climb in 2x4 mode.

    I really do not think that the Freelander II is a softroader as many may think. I think it is a very serious off-road machine!
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    Last edited by Stollas; 2015/05/31 at 08:56 AM.

  2. #2
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    Had a nabour with one a few years ago. He often got drunk over weekends and drove around on his farm with his freelander like it was a pipe car. I am surprised he never flipped it or got stuck. Was mostly sand tracks though.
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  3. #3
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    Does a FL2 have low range?
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stollas View Post
    I drive a Land Rover in Toyota country.

    I bought me a 2013 SD4 SE almost a year ago, to be able to do field work when necessary. I work as a geophysicist and just came from an epic round trip: Windhoek - Ariamsvlei - Seeheim - Aus - Solitaire - Gamsberg Pass - Windhoek (2100km journey in three days). Half the journey was on gravel (Grunau to Seeheim and Aus to Windhoek via Solitaire on the C19 and C26 ).

    We were under time pressure and every day had to reach our next destination before sunset as it is just down right stupid to drive the gravel roads at night. My colleagues were driving the old favourite 3.0D4D ahead of me. Because I had to catch up to the lead car (I stopped to take photos at places), when the gravel road was good I reached speeds of 140km/h, however, I could comfortably cruze between 100 - 130km/h. I even found myself doing 150km/h overtaking a Q7 3.0TDi that was set on staying ahead of me. It sounds ridiculous, but I was not on a pleasure ride, but had to complete our tasks within and I guess he was not prepared to drive in my dust cloud...which is nasty to drive in.

    I must say, that on this journey, I drove the car with no Terrain response setting. My first long gravel drive, was on the Grass/Gravel/Snow setting, which I read to make the car always use 4x4 mode, whereas normally it will do 2x4 (mostly FWD). It was only once that the traction control flashed a couple of times. Is it better to drive in Gravel mode on the gravel roads?

    I was seriously impressed how the Freelander did this journey. As always, the guys in the Hulix felt invincible, of course, however, the Freelander raised their eyebrows on occasions where they were convinced it "will struggle". Also, the handling on the gravel roads were immense with zero rattles, especially at places where the road was very corrugated. The Hilux is 3 years old and it feels as if the dash will fall off on these road, however, not with the Freelander.

    I really wondered if the Freelander should have the term "Softroader", because it coped pretty well without the low-range, that seems to be a "must-have" when doing offroad driving. Through the Kalahari Dunes, the Sand setting did a remarkable job and I used Mud/Ruts once, when climbing a small hill at "rock-crawling speeds", however, the next day I went up the same hill in Gravel mode. In the normal setting it would have struggled, I guess, but then the Hilux also was not able to do the same hill climb in 2x4 mode.

    I really do not think that the Freelander II is a softroader as many may think. I think it is a very serious off-road machine!
    Despite the lack of low range, it is this exactly this type of application where the FL2 excels. Often even being superior to many "proper" 4x4's.

    Its not a serious off-road machine by any stretch of the imagination, but it is most certainly much more competent than many think.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffy View Post

    Its not a serious off-road machine by any stretch of the imagination, but it is most certainly much more competent than many think.
    I wish I could have said it the way you did. I guess I'll just have to put a "+1".
    Regards,

    William

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    Dirt roads are hardly 'off road' , certainly not the Namibian main roads - they are superb- and vehicles designed for such use are the reason the term 'soft roaders' was coined...

    the Freelander 2 and many others are superb in such conditions - and for Namibian main dirt roads, any modern platkar will be exceedingly capable. certainly far more capable than their drivers.

    I don't know what your driving credentials are, but 99% of the population would not be at all comfortable doing sustained 150km/h on a dirt road without an electronic Nanny.... nor would they be at all capable of controlling any vehicle at all on a dirt road if it's capabilities are exceeded.

    have a look here - the hero of the moment here was a regular racing driver.... like I say, I don't know how good you think you are....

    http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...d.php?t=208049


    I would suggest you speak to your employer regarding reasonable travelling times for your next trip....
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    Last edited by Apocalypse; 2015/05/31 at 11:20 AM.

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    I had a Freelander 2 for about a year, a 2013 SD4 HSE with 17" S rims and AT tyres. They are incredibly comfortable and stable on gravel, very capable in sand and will give a very good showing on trails. Helderberg and Melkbos posed no challenge.

    What it lacks is Low Range, proper clearance, articulation and proper protection. Get too wild and you will soon be leaving expensive bits of tupperware behind. My first trip to Atlantis Dunes had the front bumper hanging by a thread after just 5 minutes... The torque converter and transmission also took serious strain when I ran it with the FAC and XJJ riding shotgun.

    So yes, it's still a soft roader, but there's a reason it's called the king of soft roaders.

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    @Apocalypse: You are certainly correct, I was an absolute idiot to go at those speeds and I was close to cursing myself for doing it (I was not sure if I was upset at myself or the guy in the Q7 going faster and faster to prevent me from overtaking his S-line Audi).

    I guess I need to qualify myself. I mostly tried to maintained my speed around the 100km/h. However, concentrating on the road, you find yourself creeping up to 120km/h and then you have to ease off the throttle. Whereas I agree that the roads are good, we also had the privilege of driving on freshly scraped roads! And you are correct, I once used my "platkar" as a rally car to Gobabeb research station (1993 Mercedes Benz 190E 2.3 Sportline). I will never do that again. I took my whole Merc apart to clean it afterwards.

    I am not one to test the laws of physics, but I was surprised how well the Freelander and the "electronic nanny" was working. You could feel that the car was bring its part and for this I think it is an amazing machine. Before, I used to also use the Hilux 3.0, but it is much more "lively" on these roads.

    In the end, it was a good opportunity to "bench" the Freelander against the "benchmark - Toyota Hilux 3.0D4D 4x4 DC".
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    The Toy drivers wont like this thread to compare a 'soft roader' with a Hilux 3.0D4D Double Cab.
    Even lauching a boat in muddy terrain with a FL2 is easier than with a 4x4 Hilux. Due to the launch control.
    The FL2 handles any terrain very good. Some time ago in one of the 4x4 magazines they compared it with a Jeep with low range.
    I wont mind a FL2 in my drive-way.
    To loose tupperware in the dunes is easy. Even a cruiser can do it, with enough force.
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    Just as I've said before.. Except it is not a serious off road machine for sure, though it is a capable offroad vehicle, but it has its limits..

    My question is this though, why post in the softroader thread then? Lol. Just post in the LR thread.. After all, it is a Land Rover..
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    Quote Originally Posted by willben View Post
    Does a FL2 have low range?
    Willnen is the auto Amarok a soft roader

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    I drive a FL2 as well. In my book the FL2 is hardly a "softroader' when you measure it against competition softroaders (you know, like an Amarok or so ) where the FL2 is just so much more capable in the 4x4 section.

    I will however not compare it to the real 4x4's. I see it somewhere in between a softroader and a true 4x4.

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    Quote Originally Posted by emileheyns View Post
    Willnen is the auto Amarok a soft roader
    Yup.
    It's almost as good as a FL2.
    Last edited by willben; 2015/05/31 at 08:46 PM.
    Regards,

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    Quote Originally Posted by Higgins77 View Post
    I drive a FL2 as well. In my book the FL2 is hardly a "softroader' when you measure it against competition softroaders (you know, like an Amarok or so ) where the FL2 is just so much more capable in the 4x4 section.

    I will however not compare it to the real 4x4's. I see it somewhere in between a softroader and a true 4x4.
    Well said actually..
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    Yeah I can't bring myself to call my Freelander a soft roader either. I've just finished 1500km trip through the Transkei pulling a boat and I cant believe how well the car did. Pulls like a train on the tar with the boat behind it, and when we got to the dirt road it hardly felt it. It did even better on the proper 4x4 stuff (with the boat behind it) than any of the bakkies we have ever had. The whole trip was so comfortable as well, and the only thing I had to do to the car when we got back was wash it.
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    drive my softroader also hard on tar and reasonably hard on gravel anh hard in the dunes as well .Nothing has fallen off , except my wife , nothing broke , except my wife .......... why do i need a proper 4x4 ?

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    We have both (albeit a FL1 TD4, one of the best Land Rovers ever), and there are places in Africa where I won't take my Freelander (Like mud, deep sand, serious rock climbs... say no more.), but there is nowhere I won't take my Land Rover 110.
    Last edited by Tony Weaver; 2015/07/07 at 11:12 PM.

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    Best car I owned until the warranty expired...

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    Quote Originally Posted by AROBERTS View Post
    Best car I owned until the warranty expired...
    What happened?

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    +1 ?

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