Land Rover at the 2007 Melbourne Motor Show
New Defender New Freelander 2
4th March, 2007
The outstanding Land Rover Freelander is about to be replaced locally, by the new
Freelander 2. Additionally, the tough as old boots Land Rover Defender has been upgraded
for 2007. Both new models are on display at the 2007 Melbourne Motor Show and both will
arrive in Australia during the year. The Land Rover Discovery 3 and the various Range Rover models continue.
The outstanding Land Rover Freelander is about to be replaced locally, by the new Freelander 2. Additionally, the tough as old boots Land Rover Defender has been upgraded for 2007. Both new models are on display at the 2007 Melbourne Motor Show and both will arrive in Australia during the year.
The Land Rover Discovery 3 and the various Range Rover models continue.
Redefining the class standards, Freelander 2 delivers outstanding breadth of capability on and off-road. Priced from $49,990 (RRP) the all-new Freelander 2 is the most complete vehicle in its class and matches the refinement usually associated with premium saloon cars.
Available in two specification levels, with a choice of 3.2 litre petrol or 2.2 litre turbo diesel engines, the Freelander 2 goes on sale in Australia in June.
Standard features on all models includes:
The Freelander 2 features two new engines that deliver strong combinations of performance, refinement and fuel economy:
The Freelander 2 has already scooped numerous awards overseas including:
The all-new Land Rover Freelander 2 redefines the compact premium 4x4 class. New from the ground up, Freelander 2 delivers outstanding on-road performance as well as the class-leading off-road ability of a true Land Rover. A dynamic design, purposeful stance, smart and spacious interior and an abundance of advanced technologies complete the package.
"No other compact 4x4 has anything like its total breadth of capability," says Phil Popham, Land Rover's managing director. "The Freelander 2 sets new standards in the sector, combining the advantages of a premium car - 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, cabin versatility and spaciousness. We believe that no other compact 4x4 gets closer to blending these best-of-both-worlds abilities."
The original Freelander (launched in 1997) is seen by many as having devised a whole new class of vehicle: the compact premium 4x4. It was the top-selling 4x4 in Europe for five years and remained the UK's best-selling 4x4 from launch until the end of 2005. The all-new Freelander 2 is improved in every way: better performance, more economical, more refined, higher quality and substantially roomier. It is more capable both off-road and on-road, with transformed handling, ride and comfort.
Freelander 2 is Land Rover's fourth all-new vehicle in just over four years, and follows the new Range Rover (2002), Discovery 3 (2004) and Range Rover Sport (2005). Their highly successful introductions contributed to record Land Rover sales worldwide in 2005. Technical highlights of the Freelander 2 include two brand-new engines: a 3.2-litre straight-six petrol and a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel. Both feature advanced technologies to deliver outstanding combinations of performance and economy.
The 171 kW i6 petrol engine provides a top speed of 200 km/h and 0-100 km/h acceleration in 8.9 seconds. Combined fuel economy is 11.2 litres/100 kms. The engine is matched to a new six-speed automatic transmission, with Land Rover's CommandShift˘ offering manual sequential gear changes when required. There is also a driver-selectable sport mode, for livelier performance.
Straight-six engine configurations are ideal for delivering engine smoothness and the very compact new unit in Freelander 2 is small enough to mount transversely, a first in the compact 4x4 sector and one of the vehicle's many innovations. The benefits of transverse fitment include improved interior package and safety performance.
The diesel engine chosen for Freelander 2 is an all-new 2.2-litre four-cylinder. The 118 kW unit delivers peak torque of 400 Nm with over 200 Nm of torque from 1,000 rpm all the way to 4,500 rpm. The engine is easy and responsive to drive, as well as highly refined and economical, with a combined average fuel consumption of 7.5 l/100 kms. An optional catalysed Diesel Particulate Filter (cDPF) is also available for even cleaner performance. Two transmissions are offered in Europe: a new six-speed manual gearbox and the same six-speed automatic used on the petrol engine.
The interior package of Freelander 2 is a major improvement over the outgoing vehicle. Although only 50 mm longer, the Freelander 2 has more generous head, shoulder and legroom, in both the front and rear. Large glass areas emphasise the spacious feel and complement the elevated 'command driving' position - a Land Rover hallmark - and 'stadium seating', where rear passengers sit slightly higher than front occupants, for a clearer view of the world outside. Boot space is also among the best in class and 38 per cent larger than that of the outgoing Freelander (with rear seats up - 755 litres vs 546 litres).
The exterior and interior design of Freelander 2 is completely fresh, integrating the company's unique design language with a form that is instantly recognisable as the latest Land Rover.
"We purposely kept strong cues from the original Freelander, such as the clamshell bonnet, stepped roof and the basic form," says Land Rover design director Geoff Upex. "But the overall look is new and much more contemporary. The design is chiselled, geometric and simple - it looks like it's hewn from the solid. We have kept a close design relationship with the new Discovery 3 and Range Rover Sport, but interpreted the design language to suit the requirements of customers for a more compact 4x4."
The body is a five-door monocoque structure, with a high level of torsional rigidity which benefits refinement, comfort and handling on-road as well as ensuring the vehicle is fit for serious off-roading. The suspension is fully independent and uses the most modern stability control systems, including Roll Stability Control (RSC), a new and sophisticated technology that helps mitigate the risk of roll-over.
Freelander 2 is packed with new technologies to improve both on-road and off-road performance, many new to the class. Land Rover's unique Terrain Response˘ is standard on all but the entry-level model, to make off-roading easier. Other interesting technologies include a new full-time intelligent 4x4 system for superior traction and better on-road fuel economy and the patented Gradient Release Control, which improves driver confidence and control when releasing the brakes on steep and slippery slopes.
Other features and options rare in this class include: keyless starter button, bi-xenon headlamps, adaptive front lighting, rain-sensing wipers and park distance control (front and rear). A two-part panoramic sunroof increases the cabin's airiness: air-conditioning is standard on all models and a full colour touch-screen DVD satellite navigation system is also available. The choice of top-level audio systems includes DAB digital radio and 12-speaker Dolby˘ Prologic IIx Surround Sound with fibre-optic interconnects. An auxiliary audio connection (for iPods and MP3 players) is standard on all vehicles.
Designed and engineered by Land Rover at Gaydon, near Warwick, Freelander 2 is built at the Halewood plant in Liverpool, where outstanding build quality has been acknowledged with a JD Power European Plant Quality Gold Award in 2005.
Greater ability both on-road and off-road plus increased comfort, performance and refinement are among the major improvements introduced for the Land Rover Defender for 2007. A new 2.4-litre diesel engine offers increased torque and improved driveability while the new six-speed gearbox provides a lower first gear ratio, for better off-road control, and a high sixth gear for improved cruising refinement. Inside the vehicle, a new facia improves ergonomics, whilst new seating improves comfort for all occupants, from the four-seat Defender 90 to the five-seat 110 and 130 models. A seven-seat Defender 110 is also available.
The latest in a long line of evolutionary updates to a vehicle whose roots date back to 1948 (since when nearly 1.9 million units have been sold), the 2007 model year changes maintain Defender's relevance while enhancing its functionality, versatility and durability.
Since the current model's introduction in 2002, Defender has consistently sold an average of 25,000 units a year worldwide. Retail and utility customers, armed forces and NGOs in over 100 countries value Defender's class-leading blend of towing and load-carrying versatility, alongside the vehicle's extraordinary strength, robustness and capability. The unique combination of these attributes helps account for the model's exceptionally high standards of customer loyalty.
Land Rover managing director Phil Popham said: "We're building on Defender's success with a package of improvements that will extend its off-road abilities even further, while transforming on-road refinement and comfort. These changes represent a significant vote of confidence in a product which is the foundation of Land Rover's reputation for off-road excellence; we believe these enhancements will win the hearts and minds of new and existing customers alike."
More Pulling Power
Defender's new 2.4 litre, four-cylinder engine draws on parent company Ford's acknowledged diesel engine expertise and represents a major step forward in terms of refinement and driveability. Torque output is higher than the outgoing engine right across the usable rev range and the 360 Nm peak is delivered at only 2,000 rpm; over 315 Nm of torque is available from 1,500 rpm to 2,700 rpm.
Engine peak power output is 90 kW, with more than 90 per cent of peak power available from less than 2,200 rpm to over 4,350 rpm - over 60 per cent of the usable rev range. Naturally, in European markets (with high quality diesel fuels), the new engine is designed to be fully compliant with EU4 emissions legislation. But with Defender's status as a truly global product, a unique engine tune has also been developed to tolerate variable quality, high-sulphur fuels.
Based on a cast-iron block, the engine features an alloy, 16-valve cylinder head with Denso common rail fuel injection. Not only is combustion noise dramatically reduced, thanks to the excellent control provided by the engine's solenoid-driven fuel injectors, but a new Garrett variable geometry turbocharger also helps ensure throttle response is improved over the outgoing engine. The engine's lubrication and sealing systems have been specially developed to cope with Defender's onerous range of operating angles.
The new GFT MT 82 six-speed gearbox provides a much wider ratio spread than before; the lower first gear offers a reduction in crawl speed and combines with the engine's increased torque output to make towing on-road and off-road even easier. The increased engine torque also helps in-gear acceleration and has allowed the new sixth gear to be set 20 per cent higher than the outgoing model's top gear. This helps to improve real-world cruising refinement and fuel economy. Ground gears in both the gearbox and new transfer box help boost refinement, while reductions in clutch and gear-change loads make day-to-day living with Defender significantly easier.
Individual pedal maps specifically matched to the demands of each gear are designed to ensure throttle progression and control is better than ever before; in addition, improved anti-stall characteristics further extend the vehicle's renowned ability to tackle the toughest terrain.
Changes to the vehicle exterior have been kept to a minimum, with a revised bonnet profile the only clue to the new Defender's increased capability.
As Dave Saddington, Defender chief designer points out, "Defender's timeless exterior has become synonymous with functional design. Every line and surface seems to be linked to the vehicle's extraordinary capability, so we deliberately changed very little."
"But the interior's a different story. We wanted to change the heating system and instruments, as well as improve ergonomics, all of which gave us the opportunity to introduce an all-new facia. In doing so, we've worked hard to reflect Defender's unique purpose and versatility inside the vehicle too. The new facia is better integrated, more robust and functionally superior to the old unit, whilst still entirely in keeping with Defender's character."
Improved Comfort And Ergonomics
Defender's new facia is based on a single, large moulding supported on a robust steel rail to help eliminate squeaks and rattles. Instruments from Land Rover's Discovery 3 provide clear, concise information to the driver and details like all-LED instrument illumination help ensure high standards of reliability. Improvements to ergonomics abound - for example, a new passenger-side grab handle provides robust, two-handed support during extreme off-road driving. The process of modernising Defender's facia hasn't sacrificed its usability either, with versatile stowage shelves conveniently located for both the driver and passenger. Two console options are available: a practical open-tray design that keeps contents at hand and a large, lidded design that provides an impressive 14-litres of stowage.
In-car entertainment systems have been upgraded to take advantage of Defender's improved refinement. For the first time, high-mounted tweeters are available in Defender and work in conjunction with the new speaker installation for significantly improved clarity and sound reproduction. An auxiliary/MP3 audio input socket is also available.
The new facia houses an all-new heating and ventilation system. Cabin airflow is up almost 50 per cent, with new aluminium plate and fin heat exchangers helping deliver impressive performance. In cold weather, the heater warms the cabin 40 per cent quicker than before and can achieve cabin temperatures a full 12║C higher. The air-conditioning system can cool the cabin in half the time of the old unit and achieve cabin temperatures 7║C lower too. The addition of side window demist vents helps maintain visibility whatever the weather.
Seating is also comprehensively improved. New, taller front seats are designed to improve back support and head restraint ergonomics.
Robust, more supportive second row seats are introduced too. The 110 Station Wagon and 130 Crew Cab models can comfortably accommodate three occupants on a new, asymmetrically-split second row seat. A spring-assisted fold mechanism helps when folding the seats for carrying large or awkward loads.
Defender 90 Station Wagon second row occupants benefit from a pair of individual, full-size, forward-facing rear seats. Providing significantly increased comfort and space over the outgoing model, these seats are also available as a third row option on the 110 Station Wagon. Accessed either through the rear door or by folding the second row seats, they can be easily folded and stowed sideways in the loadspace.
Seat trims include durable all-vinyl and cloth specifications; a half-leather option is also available to add a touch of luxury to the new cabin. Three-point safety belts are specified for all seating positions.
Upgraded sound insulation, the common rail engine's excellent combustion control and the significantly higher top gear all contribute to a substantial overall improvement in cabin refinement. In the words of Gary Taylor, Defender's chief programme engineer, "For many customers, the step change in Defender's refinement will be one of the most welcome advances; not only are noise levels significantly lower, but sound quality is transformed too."
Defender's unique vehicle architecture has been retained. The chassis frame is available in three different wheelbases and in both standard and heavy-duty guise (for even greater load-bearing capabilities). A total of 14 separate body styles - from utilities and soft-tops to crew cabs and station wagons - are produced on the mainstream production line. Beyond this, Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations team offer a range of products from standard drop-side or box-body conversions to bespoke design and build adaptations into ambulances, mobile hydraulic platforms and even airport fire tenders - all of which are covered by Land Rover's extensive warranty.
Local pricing and specification for the new Land Rover Defender is yet to be confirmed.
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