The sunroof lifting block snapped at 1000 miles. Apparently this is common as the dealer had many in stock and fixed it in about 30 minutes.
The exterior mirrors are black plastic with black plastic paint. The black paint is peeling off, but since the plastic underneath is also black, you don't see it unless you are near the vehicle. The dealer offered to replace the mirrors as this is a common fault, but it hardly seems worth it. The paint will peel on its own and not be a problem. Right now, it looks as if the mirrors have a sunburn. I would guess after 10,000 miles, the paint will have peeled fully.
Vehicle smelled of boiling coolant at 2000 miles. Dealer found return hose from coolant reservoir was loose and tightened it.
Vehicle coolant boiled over causing steam to spew from under the hood. Coolant gauge never moved into hot position. Dealer found thermostat was bad (also common fault). Dealer replaced thermostat and tested at which time they discovered the replacement was also bad. Installed a third thermostat which seems to be working.
Temperature gauge never moves past 1/2 mark. Land Rover has a TSB to improve its performance, but acknowledges that it is really more of an "idiot light" that won't move above 1/2 unless the vehicle is overheating. I suspect it doesn't actually work since my Freelander overheated with no change in temperature gauge position.
Passenger rear drum brake is sqeaking as I write this - it began around 4500 miles. I will be taking it back to the dealership.
Overall, for a vehicle less than six months old and with less than 6000 miles, my confidence in the reliability is in serious doubt.
The Freelander outhandles, outbrakes, and outrides anything in the class. IT has a very sporty feel on the road, and is exquisitely comfortable off the road.
Compared to the Jeep Liberty, the only other SUV in this category that can match the Freelander offroad, the little Landie is much more fun to drive. On the road, it feels like an expensive European car and offroad it feels like it glides over obstacles without punishing the occupants.
The traction control and 4x4 system works extremely well. Even though the Freelander does not have a tradition low-range transfer case, it easily tackles most off-road tasks. In fact, its traction control even allows it to clear obstacles a traditional 4x4 might have trouble with, like a hillside covered with wet grass.
Clearance, however is the soft spot off road. The clearance in front is just 7 inches, less than a Subaru Forrester. If I could change anything, it would be to add another 2 inches of clearance.
Interior is very plain compared to most upper-end SUVs, although it is quirky and different (which is a positive in my book). Instrument panel could have been lifted from a 1980's era compact car, and there are plenty of hard plastics.
The leather seats are very comfortable, but lack any armrests in the front, and the height cannot be adjusted. I am 5' 10" and my head nearly touches the roof. A tall driver would have problems with the seating.
The engine is one of the smoothest I have experience in any vehicle (including Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, etc.). It has a nice sound when revved, but must stay at rather high RPM to produce power. Merging onto the freeway in heavy traffic can be a terrifying experience as the Freelander struggles to accelerate. 0 - 60 times are approaching 11 seconds.
The 5 speed transmission is very nice. It can be moved into normal mode, sport mode, or manual shift mode. Having a manual shift mode is great for mountain driving or when you are off roading.
One suprise - the paint seems unusually soft and easy to scratch. I use Zymol cleaner wax on all of my cars and it seems to chew through the clearcoat of the Freelander. I notice many more swirl marks and scratches on this vehicle compared to my others and I wash them all the same.
Overall, I would say that the Freelander is one of the best (if not THE BEST) small SUVs on the road, and off the road, it really has no peer outside the Jeep. If Land Rover could clean up some quality issues and spruce up the interior, I think they would have a hands down winner. More power under the hood wouldn't hurt either.