Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Trusty Steed's Little Bro's Beaut; on or off Road, the Land Rover's Td4 Gives Novices and the Hard-Core a Spring in Their Step, as Vani Naidoo Learns

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Trusty Steed's Little Bro's Beaut; on or off Road, the Land Rover's Td4 Gives Novices and the Hard-Core a Spring in Their Step, as Vani Naidoo Learns

Article excerpt

WE once travelled from Belgium to Cape Town in South Africa in a trusty, 20-year-old Land Rover.

That's about 9500km without so much as a shudder, bar a puncture in Cairo which was easily fixed for $10.

There is something about a Land Rover that conjures up a feeling of adventure, of taking the road less trodden and the unimaginable beauties which lie in wait.

It is little wonder then that I had a spring in my step when I stopped in to collect the latest Freelander 2 diesel, a kind of little brother to the trusty steed but with all the big-name extras that make a vehicle of this sort the envy of four-wheel drive enthusiasts.

The sleek but powerful exterior immediately shows that this vehicle means business with the clamshell bonnet, stepped roof and light clusters providing familiarity.

Inside the Freelander 2 is lush: comfort rules the day with plush leather seats, aesthetically pleasing easy-to-navigate controls and considerable leg room.

Large glass areas emphasise the spacious feel and complement the elevated command driving position - a Land Rover hallmark - and stadium seating, where rear passengers sit slightly higher than front occupants for a clearer view of the world outside. The keyless entry is a nice touch although I confess to having a few frantic moments searching for a way to start her up. My silliness aside, it was easy to settle in and enjoy the ride.

It is plain to see why the Freelander 2's on-road capability is such a powerful selling factor.

The 118kW is sufficient to keep the engine in action but it is the ample torque of 400Nm that adds the advantage.

She offers the smoothest of rides, tackling corners with zest and answering the call for extra power with only the slightest of nudges.

True, the inner city streets are hardly the pot-holed nightmares of the main street in Nairobi but they do require manoeuvring of a different kind and the Freelander 2 is equal to the task.

And it is quiet. …

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