Land Rover are celebrating the production of the 200,000th Freelander 2 at Halewood, just three years after production started.
The original Freelander was, for a car that was pretty much cobbled together from the Rover parts bin, a remarkable success. Sadly, it wasn’t a remarkable car, particularly with the K Series engine many Freelanders had succumbing to head gasket failures.
It could have been so different. Rover wanted Honda to come on board as development partner, but they declined the offer and went off and built the CR-V instead. So Rover went it alone and put out the Freelander in 1997 which, despite its frailty, became the best selling compact SUV on the market at one point.
But the poor reputation of the Freelander meant that Land Rover now had to come up with a replacement that was not just streets ahead of the original, but immensely more capable than any of the competition. The Freelander 2 has proved to be both (as we recently found out when we reviewed the latest Freelander 2 HSE), certainly if you consider off-road ability to be a key ingredient.
Obviously many buyers agree with us as Land Rover is celebrating the 200,000th Freelander 2 rolling off the production line in Halewood, just three years after launch. This particular Freelander 2 comes equipped with Land Rover’s Stop Start system which is now standard on all manual Freelanders and is destined for a buyer in the UK, the Freelander’s biggest market.
Expect a tidy and facelift for the Freelander 2 any time soon to see it through to Land Rover’s all new range come 2012/2013.