If you've never owned or driven an Land Rover for MANY miles, your opinions are just that; opinions. Land Rover makes a very robust and capable vehicle. They're on the expensive side to repair if you can't work on them yourself. I'd stay away from the Freelander, unless you're looking at the LR2 ( new Freelander). It is NOT a better family car than a Range Rover or any Discovery series 1 or 2, it's smaller.
Good years for the Range Rover, 88-current. SWB (short wheel base) is more desirable for off-road use. LWB (long wheel base) is more comfy on-road and still quite capable off-road. A couple years tossed in there were less reliable than others though, iirc, it was 96.
Good years for the Discovery series 1, (Disco I), 94 & 95 and 97-mid 99. It changed to Discovery 2, (Disco II) in about mid summer 99. The 96 seemed to be a little troublesome, although I've met many people who would argue that point. No Discovery I or II has airbag suspension. Last year for the Disco, 04. There were some oil pump issues in 00, 01, & 02 I believe.
Good years for the LR3, 07-current. '05 was plagued with horrible tire wear issues, electrical problems and a myriad of other issues. To me, it's fugly! All that friggin plastic, gawd! But it now has a 300 HP motor, drool!
I've only owned three, all Discoverys, and none had diff issues as one poster put it. I don't know anyone who has had a diff problem, unless it was off-roaded and then you know the saying, "s**t happens".
They are however known for electrical snafus, yeah, one day your window works, the next it doesn't, the next it does. WTF! And they leak, period. A word of caution, you need to stay current with preventive maint. Keep up with fluid levels, hoses, and other minor things. They are tempermental and quirky, but if you like it, you're hooked. This is based on the American market. Some web sites you may enjoy; www.Discoweb.org and www.LandRoversonly.com