Before the Freelander 2 finally bows out in favour of the Discovery Sport, it seemed fitting to take a proper drive in the specced-up and end-of-line Metropolis special edition – its bevy of creature comforts should come in handy on a cold winter’s day.
● Engine: 2179cc SD4 turbodiesel
● Power/torque: 187bhp/310lb ft
● Transmission: Six-speed auto
● Speed: 118mph/0-60mph: 9.5sec
● Factory combined mpg: 40.4
● LRO RWT mpg: 32.7
● Price as tested: ￡36,180
380 MILES TO GET THE FULL LOWDOWN...
A touch of luxury
Metropolis replaced HSE Lux last June. It includes heated Windsor leather seats, a cracking 825W Meridian surround sound stereo, panoramic roof, heated steering wheel, Xenon lights... all you need!
After nine years, is it showing its age?
Until it got an electronic parking brake a couple of years ago, it arguably felt more dated then than it does now. But I think its relative simplicity is a virtue – nice to use a chunky gear selector for a change.
How does it handle fast driving?
With firm damping, fairly loose body control and a lack of steering feel, you really have to settle in to the Freelander 2’s rhythm before pushing it harder. It can be fun on smooth surfaces, but struggles with bumpy moorland roads. On motorways it’s stable and wants to cruise well above the national speed limit. The six-speed auto ‘box is a bit sluggish and indecisive, although better in Sport or Command Shift modes.
Should I wait for Discovery Sport?
If you need a sixth and seventh seat, the Freelander 2 is not an option. And the Discovery Sport should be a better towcar too. But that costs ￡4k-7k more than the equivalent F2, and on paper is slightly more compromised off-road. I’d expect a steady stream of buyers for run-out Freelanders, and strong residuals as a result – it still makes a lot of sense.
What’s it like on greenlanes?
The Freelander 2 is in its element on stony lanes like these, with a supple ride, effortless torque, and decent sidewalls on the 235/55R19 Continental CrossContact UHP tyres. Unless you’re planning to tackle thick mud and deep ruts, it’s a great choice for exploring the country. With no low-range fitted, Hill Descent Control is essential for the drops – it works brilliantly.
What's the point?
LRO’s Real World Test gives an independent, ‘real world’ fuel economy figure based on a varied and enjoyable 380-mile route, rather than sitting on a dyno.
It’s a big drive to do in one day, so we get up early and start by brimming the fuel tank at a garage on the A1 in Lincolnshire.
By doing the same at the end, it’s easy to get a precise ‘combined mpg’ figure – meaning a blend of motorways, fast A-roads, country roads, a couple of long greenlanes and a rush-hour city crawl. And, we find out more along the way!
Our test route
Bloody Oaks services, Stamford > A1 north Knaresborough > Arncliffe > Kettlewell > Middleham > Bainbridge > Stalling Busk (byway) > Hubberholme > Cam High Road (byway) > Wensleydale Creamery, Hawes > Settle > Silsden > Bradford > M62 east > Ferrybridge > A1 south > Bloody Oaks services, Stamford