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Land Rover LR2 PDF Print E-mail

There is a new Freelander; only it?s now called the LR2 to reflect its family heritage.

Built on a newly-developed platform, which it will share with Volvo?s new S80 and V70, as well as the Ford Galaxy and S-Max people movers, the new vehicle is a little larger than before.

?This is the first time on a Land Rover that we?ve shared design like this with Volvo,? says Mark Burnston, Land Rover?s chief body engineer.

The original Freelander was launched in 1997 and was seen by many as having created a new class of vehicle: a mini-SUV. It rapidly became Europe?s top-selling 4x4 and remained so in its home market, the UK, until the end of 2005. The demise of Rover caused a few problems when supplies of the K-series, four cylinder engine dried up, leaving just a diesel option or the larger V6.

The new model is Land Rover?s fourth new vehicle in a little over four years, with the Range Rover coming in 2002, the Discover 3 in 2004 and, last year, the Range Rover Sport. The new LR2 has many Freelander design cues, but also resembles a scaled down Range Rover.

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?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. We have deliberately kept a close design relationship with the new Discovery and the Range Rover Sport, but interpreted it to suit customers of a compact 4x4.?

Designed and engineered at the Land Rover technical center at Gaydon, Warwickshire, the LR2 will be built at Ford?s Halewood plant in Liverpool.

There are two new engines available: a 3.2 liter, straight-six gasoline and a 2.2 liter, four-cylinder turbocharged diesel. The 230 bhp (171 kW) gas engine provides a top speed of 200 km/h, while it will reach 100 km/h from a standstill in under nine seconds. Reasonable performance for what is still a very capable off-road machine (not that many owners will ever venture off-road, of course). The diesel motor delivers a more modest 158 bhp (118 kW) but scores heavily in the torque department with 400 Nm at its peak and 200 Nm available all the way from 1,000 rpm to 4,500 rpm.

Full time all-wheel drive and Land Rover?s unique Terrain Response system ensure excellent on- and off-road performance, while the patented gradient release control, as well as hill descent control, offer reliable and steady control on steep inclines.

The gasoline model comes with a six-speed automatic transmission, while the diesel has either manual or auto, again both six-speed.

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The interior of the LR2 is a major improvement over the Freelander, with more head, shoulder and legroom in both the front and rear. There is a ?theater? seating structure with the rear seat passengers sitting slightly higher than the front occupants in order to improve their view. Trunk space has also been increased, by 38 percent over the outgoing vehicle. The rear seats fold in a 60:40 split to offer additional cargo space or will fold completely flat if required. A two-part panoramic sunroof is an option, while there is a wide range of audio systems available. All models receive an auxiliary audio connection for iPods and MP3 players as standard.

There are a total of seven airbags: dual front bags, side bags, full-length air curtains and an inflatable knee bolster to protect the driver from injury from the steering column.

Land Rover in Bangkok says there are no plans to launch the LR2 ?in the immediate future?. Given the success of the previous Freelander, it would be surprising if they did not bring forward the introduction of the new car. Expect the LR2 before the end of the year, although no prices are quoted at present.

 

 
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© 2018 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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