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Bigger more competent but more expensive

 

Land Rover aims its new, bigger and more powerful Freelander at the upper end of the compact SUV market.

June 25, 2007, 10.15am. Land Rover has closely identified its entry-level Freelander compact SUV with the larger members of its luxury 4WD range as part of a complete redesign.

The Freelander 2 picks up interior and exterior styling cues from the Discovery 3, Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, along with a version of the electronic Terrain Response system that helps its traction control sort out difficult off-road situations.

However, membership of the Land Rover SUV clan isn’t cheap, even at entry level, with the 3.2-litre six-cylinder petrol and four-cylinder 2.2-litre diesel starting at $69,990.

The last of the outgoing model were listing for $15,000 less.

The newcomer is a larger, more competent and generally more useful vehicle and Land Rover says it makes no apologies for its price point.

Both new Freelander models come in the high HSE specification that includes a leather interior, seven airbags and 18-inch alloy wheels.

The petrol is a new inline six developed with Ford that produces 171kW and 317Nm of torque, with an overall fuel economy rating of 11.2 litres per 100km.

The diesel, jointly developed by Ford, Peugeot and Citroen, replaces a BMW unit. It produces 118kW, 400Nm of torque and offers overall fuel economy of 7.5 litres per 100km.

Both engines are mated to a six-speed Aisin Warner automatic gearbox with a manual sequential shift option.

Although it still lacks low-range gearing, the Freelander is a more competent off-roader thanks to full-time four-wheel drive based around a Haldex centre differential, better ground clearance, a wading depth that’s up 100mm - to 500mm - and the Terrain Response set-up with settings that optimise the vehicle for sand; mud and ruts; or grass-snow-gravel.

- story by Phil Hanson; photographs by Mike Stock.


 


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