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2005 Cute Ute Buyer's Guide

2005 Land Rover Freelander Review

by Martha Hindes

2005 Land Rover Freelander
2005 Land Rover Freelander

Premium, according to Webster's, can be something of "very high value." It also can refer to something with an additional charge. When you keep the value equation and take some of the sting out of the cost, what do you get? Land Rover would like you to know it's a Freelander bargain.

Big news for this continental bred, luxurious compact sport utility, is a juggling of models and trim levels for '05. The net effect, according to Land Rover officials, is lower cost for the most popular SE model and a two-model lineup with the sporty SE3 with lift-off hardback for kicks. Last year's pricier HSE model has ridden off into the luxury vehicle sunset.

Among tweaks for '05 is an available premium package for the SE -- including leather interior, crystal clear harman/kardon six-disc CD sound system, plus more -- that raises amenities to former HSE level at less cost. (You might want a calculator handy to figure out the tally.)

When Freelander burst on the scene as a newcomer four years ago, it immediately won kudos for melding luxurious appointments with toney road manners and real go-anywhere capability driven by V-6 power and permanent all-wheel drive, not the easiest task to achieve. While those attributes remain -- at a cost 10K higher than some basic cute ute models -- we think a bit of a bargain is worth noting for those who love the luxury touch.