Land Rover has responded to the ever improving Audi Q5 and BMW X3 with a series of upgrades to the Freelander, designed to improve its premium feel and purposeful authority on the road.
Two new variants have been added to the range, including the sporty ‘Dynamic’ and luxurious ‘HSE Lux’ derivatives.
While an entry-level ‘two wheel drive’ eD4 model offers the potential of 47.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 158g/km. It’s a timely response to BMW’s rear-wheel drive X3 sDrive18d, which was announced earlier this week, although the 141bhp sDrive18d shows a clean pair of Michelins to the 148bhp eD4 Freelander, achieving 55.4mpg and 135g/km of CO2 emissions.
The two-wheel drive eD4 saves 75kg over its four-wheel drive stablemate, improves fuel economy by 1.5mpg and reduces CO2 emissions by 7g/km. Somewhat surprisingly, Land Rover quote identical performance figures for both versions.
There are sharp new front and rear lights, using the latest LED technology, and a new signature graphic in the front running lights. But the main improvements seem to be most prevalent inside the Freelander’s cabin.
There’s a brand new centre console, 7-inch colour touch-screen with an enhanced Meridian audio system and optional satellite navigation. The original Terrain Response® dial has been replaced by switches and a shutter reveals additional storage space.
Cabin space and safety are improved with the introduction of a new intelligent electric parking brake which adjusts braking force according to the slope the vehicle is parked on. The system takes into account whether the brakes are hot or cold. If hot, the system ‘wakes up’ periodically to ensure clamping force is not lost as the brakes cool down.
Despite being operated by a single switch, the electric parking brake may still be used as an emergency brake, automatically selecting the most stable braking method to avoid skidding.
There’s a new keyless-start system called ‘Passive Start’, the option of a rear view camera and voice control for the audio, satellite navigation, climate and phone systems.
The new ‘Dynamic’ variant features a full bodystyling kit, a gloss black finish to fender vents, grille bars and grille surround, complemented on the interior by sport-themed electric leather seats and three new interior colourway choices; Ebony, Ivory or Pimento, each with matching stitching and co-ordinated door casings.
New and unique to the Dynamic in the UK are 19-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels with a painted finish. While the HSE LUX features a diamond-turned finish on its own unique 19-inch wheels, together with Windsor leather seats, ‘premium’ carpet mats, wood interior trim and other standard premium features including: panoramic sunroof, memory function for the driver’s seat and door mirrors and the 825W Meridian surround sound audio system.
The rest of the Freelander’s engine range carries over unchanged, meaning a choice of 148bhp 2.2-litre turbo diesel (TD4) or 187bhp 2.2-litre turbocharged petrol (SD4).
Prices are expected to rise marginally to reflect the improved levels of standard equipment, with deliveries of the new face lifted Freelander from October 2012.