The History Of LAND Rover Freelander
The Land Rover Freelander is a compact SUV made by the British company Land Rover; currently a subsidiary of Tata Motors.
The Freelander, wholly designed by the Rover Group, was born after market research in the late 1980s suggested that a market for compact off-roaders was likely to develop. In the early 1990s Rover Group had a very restricted product development budget and looked for a partner to develop the Freelander project, which was codenamed CB40 (after Canley Building 40, where the concept was initially developed). Rover's formal partner Honda also declined (although the very similar Honda CR-V appeared in 1997).
Rover decided to go it alone with the CB40, which meant using parts from a limited parts bin, as it had done with the MGF roadster. Although BMW took over Rover Group in 1994, they did not get heavily involved in the development of the Freelander. The car was launched in 1997. The car became Europe's best-selling four-wheel drive model and remaining so until 2002. The last Freelanders in North America were sold as 2005 models.
There were a variety of models, based around 5-door estate and 3-door softback (semi-convertible), hardback, and commercial (van-like) versions. In 2004, Land Rover introduced an improved and upgraded version of the Mark I; changes included a new interior and major external revisions, including a new face and rear.
The 3-door model was available in E, S, SE, Sport and Sport Premium trim and the 5-door model in available in E, S, SE, HSE, Sport and Sport Premium trim.
Engine choices include:
- 1.8-litre I4 Rover K-Series petrol (1997-2006), badged as '1.8i' (Not sold in North America)
- 2.0-litre I4 Rover L-series diesel (1997-2001), badged as 'Di'
- 2.0-litre I4 BMW TD4 diesel (2001-2006), badged as 'TD4'
- 2.5-litre V6 Rover KV6 Engine petrol (2001-2006), badged as 'V6'
The increase in the engines' sizes also reflected in the noticeable increase in the size of the vehicle's physical appearance. Manual gearboxes dominated the early models, but automatic Tiptronic-style gearboxes became increasingly popular and were standard on the V6.
While the first-generation Freelander was considered quite capable off-road, earning its credentials in the Camel Trophy and Land Rover G4 Challenge, it represented a compromise. It did not have a low range gear selection nor a locking differential, as found on larger Land Rover models. This meant that in comparison to its stablemates, it had relatively poor off-road performance (although its sophisticated traction control system meant that on some terrain, such as wet grass or ice, it could easily embarrass a 'proper' 4x4 such as the Discovery. In its class, against vehicles such as the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CRV it had superior off-road performance.
The first-generation was, however, the first Land Rover to feature hill descent control. This system, plus the capable off road Traction Control system used the ABS to control individual brakes and keep driving under control in offroad situations.
Poor sales of the Freelander caused Land Rover to discontinue the model after 2006 in the U.S. and Canada.
The new Freelander 2 debuted at the 2006 British International Motor Show. While the new model retained the Freelander nameplate in Europe, it was to be marketed as LR2 in North America (mirroring the marketing of the new third-generation Land Rover Discovery as LR3). Preceding the official debut, a private presentation at the Kensington Roof Gardens had been held for journalists, featuring celebrity tennis player Maria Sharapova.
The second generation Freelander is based on the Ford EUCD platform, which itself is based on the Ford C1 platform. The EUCD platform is also used by the new Ford Galaxy, Ford S-MAX and Volvo S80, and will be used by more upcoming vehicles from Ford and Volvo. The engine range is all-new for Freelander, featuring transversely-mounted 3.2 I6 engine of the Volvo SI6 series, which first debuted in the new Volvo S80, as well as the 2.2 DW12 common rail turbodiesel engine, co-developed by Ford and PSA.
Unlike previous Land Rovers, this car would be manufactured alongside the Jaguar X-Type at Halewood, near Liverpool. The new Freelander features improved ground clearance and promises greater off-road capabilities, closer to other Land Rover models and significantly above those of rivals such as BMW and Audi . It has a much improved quality interior with more safety features as standard. The Freelander 2 features a modified version of the Terrain Response off-road driving system as fitted to the Discovery 3 and the Range Rover. The 4WD system was developed in conjunction with Haldex. It uses Haldex's Third generation coupling. Visit Haldex's Wiki page for more info on how this system works.
The new Freelander was first sold in the U.S. in 2007 as the LR2. The 2008 version is called the LR2 HSE. The HSE has added side trim and 19" wheels. A Volvo 230-hp 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine is standard, with a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Interior appointments include an Alpine 440 watt 14 speaker surround sound audio and touch navigation screen options. (Technology Package). There is also a Cold Climate Package that includes heated front windshield, heated front seats with two heating levels and heated windshield washer jet and a Lighting Package that includes Bi-Xenon headlights, Adaptive Front-Lighting System, memory system for the driver seat and exterior mirrors and approach and puddle lamps.
The Freelander TD4_e marks the first SUV in Britain with stop-start technology that improves fuel economy and reduces carbon emissions.
The "e" means the vehicle is part of Land Rover's "e_Terrain Technologies", which is its green, environmentally friendly programme. Eventually, e_Terrain Technologies will give birth to a diesel hybrid production model. Currently the "e" signals a stop/ start system, which means the engine cuts out when the vehicle is stationary, neutral is selected and the clutch engaged, and starts again when the clutch pedal is depressed.
The Stop/ Start system will be available from spring 2009 on all Freelander 2 TD4 models.
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