The engine was designed and developed by Rover at Longbridge to replace the Honda 2.7l V6 engine which was about to become non-compliant with tightening emissions legislation.
In 1994 the engine was licenced to Kia Motors who invested in a new plant at the Asan Bay complex to build the engine. This engine was used in several Kia vehicles.
This part is interesting...who edits these?
Early hand-finished units were affected by inconsistent production tolerances (1996-1998). This caused the height of the cylinder liners to vary, which risked over-compression or under-compression of the head gaskets. The production facility was re-engineered prior to launching the Rover 75 (1998-2005). Those changes resolved head gasket issues and the KV6 has a positive reputation for reliability.
Even if you could get a Freelander 1 with the 2.2 diesel engine that was available in the Euro market, the usable space inside those things was...unusable.
Both the Freelander and Disco have identical wheelbases, yet I fit great into a Disco/RRC and can barely squeeze into a Freelander. I'm no Super Big Gulp-swilling, overweight stereotypical American who needs a big car. I'm pretty damn skinny but also pretty damn tall and need leg/shoulder room. The Freelander was mighty uncomfortable for me. The L322 Range Rover, on the other hand, is a dream come true.
I guess I was pretty lucky with mine, then. Got the wife a new S model with a dealer installed aftermarket sunroof back in 2002, and ran it regularly until a couple of months ago with the only significant issue being the mandatory transmission replacement at 40k. Ran fine after that, and we probably would have kept it if it wasn't for all the bullshit involved in getting it into Canada. That just wasn't worth it for an almost 15 year old car. My old neighbor in NJ has it now. It was a decent road car. I wouldn't do any serious trails in Moab with it - but it did go on several roadtrips all over the US, and got us there and back every time.
I think you are so lucky I would pay you to buy me a lottery ticket. I think if we got the 4 cylinder diesel and the stick shift it would have a better reputation. Here in North America we got the shitty Jatco trans and the shitty Rover K engine . But I only see the broken ones. I'm sure someone else has had good luck with a Freelander . If I find him I'll tell him about you,and how you got out of it in time.