Land Rover’s compact SUV gets the family look in the just-announced Freelander 2.
The new 4x4 will go on sale here around May, 2007. The New Zealand distrubutors had considered badging it as the LR2, the name under which it will be marketed in the USA, but decided the Freelander name was too well-known here. A shift to LR2 would have involved a major and expensive marketing push.
Land Rover managing director, Phil Popham, said in England last week that the Freelander 2 combines “premium car attributes such as polished ride, accomplished performance, attractive cabin and ease-of-use with the attributes of a robust 4x4, including go-anywhere ability, toughness, panoramic
seating and cabin versatility.”
Popham says the Freelander 2 offers better performance, greater economy and refinement, higher quality and substantially more room than its predecessor.
Freelander 2 buyers can choose between two brand-new engines: a 3.2-litre straight-six petrol and a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel.
The transversely-mounted 171kW i6 petrol engine allows a 200km/h top speed, 0-100km/h
in 8.9 seconds, and combined cycle fuel economy of 11.2 litres/100km.
The engine is matched to a new six-speed Aisin Warner automatic transmission, fitted with the CommandShift manual
The diesel four-cylinder develops 118kW of maximum power and peak torque of 400Nm, with more than 200Nm available from 1000rpm to 4500rpm.
Combined cycle fuel economy is 7.5
Two diesels can be ordered with a new six-speed manual or the six-speed automatic.
The Freelander 2 has more head, shoulder and legroom than its predecessor, in both the front and rear cabins. It has a command driving position, and stadium seating where rear passengers sit slightly higher than front occupants. Boot space is 38 percent greater than in the outgoing Freelander.
“We purposely kept strong cues from the original Freelander, such as the clamshell bonnet, stepped roof and the basic form,” says Land Rover design boss, Geoff Upex. “But the overall look is new and much more contemporary. We have kept a close design relationship with the new Discovery 3 and Range Rover Sport, but interpreted the design language to suit...a more compact 4x4.”
The body is a five-door monocoque; the suspension is fully independent and uses the most modern stability control systems, including Roll Stability Control (RSC) that helps reduce the risk of roll-over.
Land Rover’s Terrain Response is standard on all but the entry-level model, to make off-roading easier. A new full-time intelligent 4x4 system gives superior traction and better on-road fuel economy, and the patented Gradient Release Control improves driver confidence and control when releasing the brakes on steep and slippery slopes. n