Land Rover’s six-year-old Freelander has been given its most comprehensive facelift yet for the 2004 model year, just a few weeks after the Ford-owned company announced that the all-new replacement 2006 model would be built in Halewood rather than Solihull.

The changes include a new interior and major external revisions, including new nose and lightly restyled tail. There is also an additional derivative, the Freelander Sport.

The most obvious enhancements are to the styling. The front bumper, headlamps and front grille are all new, and adopt the distinctive family ‘face’ first seen on the current Range Rover. The new, twin-pocket clear lens headlamps provide 70% more light intensity  and the restyled bumpers are now body coloured.

At the rear, the bumpers and bumper-mounted lights are new. The bumpers are body coloured, and tail lamps have been repositioned higher, improving their visibility and reducing the likelihood of their being obscured by road grime or off-roading dust.

The cabin of the 2004 Freelander has also been comprehensively restyled, to improve comfort and the feeling of luxury.

There is a new facia, new instruments, new switchgear, new door trims and new seats that offer better body and under-thigh comfort, plus new upholstery fabrics.

The quality and feel of the materials has also been greatly improved, addressing a long-standing criticism of the model line.

The two petrol and one diesel engine are carried over but the five-speed manual and five-speed automatic gearboxes both have unspecified improvements for 2004.

The new Sport version, for Europe only, has new 18-inch alloy wheels and uses lowered and firmer suspension to reduce roll and improve driver feedback. The result is said to be more responsive driving behaviour on tarmac, and on smooth dirt or gravel roads.