The original Freelander had a very troubled birth. Despite seeking help from Honda to develop the car, the Japanese declined as work was already in an advanced stage with their own offering, the CR-V. Forced to go it alone and utilising many parts from the Rover group parts bin including a modified Maestro floorpan and the K-series engine, the Freelander nevertheless was a good looking car that wore the right badge and had broad appeal. Unfortunately reliability was dreadful. Over its ten year lifespan, the Freelander tightened up in terms of quality and design but after the launch of the all-new Range Rover in 2002, the Discovery 3 in 2004 and the Range Rover Sport in 2005, the Freelander was conspicuously the weak link in the Land Rover line up.
With Ford bankrolling the car's development, industry insiders knew that the Freelander 2 was going to be good; a 'proper' Land Rover at long last. So it has proved. With talented rivals like the Nissan X-Trail, Honda CR-V and BMW X3 to contend with, the Freelander has more than held its own. Launched in 2006, the Freelander range concentrated on diesel power, was bigger and better built than before and was far superior off road. Latest reports also suggest that reliability is at a decent level as well. In early 2008, the sporty road-oriented HST variant was announced.