Land Rover has given the Freelander a premium overhaul, promising better comfort, convenience and driving enjoyment.
New derivatives, colours, exterior design features, upgraded equipment levels and continued choice of refined and economical diesel engines, aim to inject more appeal to the Range Rover Evoque's more business-like sibling.
Interior equipment levels are more generousand there is a new centre console, seven-inch colour touch-screen with enhanced audio systems from Meridian and optional satellite navigation.
Passive start replaces key dock and there’s a new 'intelligent' electric parking brake which adjusts brake force according to the slope the vehicle is parked on. ‘Say What You See’ - a voice activation system with visual prompts, and rear view camera capability are also both new to the Freelander.
Exterior design details have been revamped including more contemporary lights front and rear using LED technology and a new signature graphic in the front running lights. The XS model gains new 17-inch alloy wheels and an enhanced bodystyling pack.
"The Freelander’s equipment levels bring a more premium look and feel to the overall driving experience. In addition, our customers continue to benefit from our refined and economical range of diesel engines," says John Edwards, Land Rover global brand director.
"It’s another step forward for the Freelander where outstanding equipment levels, superb design, safety and all-terrain capability continue to set the standards in this class."
The original Terrain Response dial has been replaced by switches and a shutter reveals additional storage space. A new ‘Dynamic’ derivative becomes available, which comes in three new interior colours; ebony, ivory or pimento, each with matching stitching and co-ordinated door casings to complete the look.
A new instrument cluster with a five-inch screen displaying primary vehicle-related information, such as temperature and fuel levels, gear positions and Terrain Response mode, now sits between the dials across the Freelander model range, complemented with steering wheel toggle switches to operate the clearest of drop down menus and vehicle set-up details.
Cabin space and safety are improved with the introduction of an intelligent electric parking brake which adjusts brake force according to the slope the vehicle is parked on. The system even 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 by employing skid prevention techniques. An additional safety feature ensures the brake cannot be released unless the driving seat is occupied.
The new ‘Say What You See’ voice activation system will prompt the driver visually with the commands he or she needs to speak in order to control functions in the audio, optional satellite navigation, climate and phone systems. The prompts are displayed in an easy-to-follow ‘step by step’ format on the screen.
The navigation system is enhanced with a faster hard drive-based system which comes with all the features the customer would expect such as eco route planning, Dynamic Zoom, Visual Lane guidance, POI (Point of Interest) management and repeat TMC guidance. You can also manage waypoints and store locations as well as POIs by name.
Entry level to the range is the Freelander S with cloth seats as standard. The GS comes with full leather whilst the XS has been enhanced with distinguishing detail features such as a gloss black grille surround and the 380W Meridian sound system. The Dynamic version has a full bodystyling kit, and a gloss black finish to wing vents, grille bars and grille surround, complemented on the interior with three colourway choices of sport-themed electric leather seats.
New and unique to the Dynamic in the UK are 19-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels with a painted finish.
The HSE is enhanced with wood interior trim and features a wide range of standard equipment including: panoramic sunroof, memory function for the driver’s seat and door mirrors and the 825W Meridian surround sound audio system.
Top of the range is the new HSE LUX which adds that extra special touch with Windsor leather seats, Grand Black Lacquer finisher, premium carpet mats and 19-inch Diamond Turned Wheels.
Engine choices remain the 2.2-litre 150bhp TD4 and 190bhp SD4 with four-wheel drive. For extra economy, the 2.2-litre 150bhp engine is also available in eD4 two-wheel drive form. Equipped with six-speed manual transmission and stop/start, the eD4 achieves an impressive 47.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 158g/km.
Jeremy Hicks, Land Rover UK managing director said: "In bringing the Freelander right up-to-date, customers are now afforded more choice than ever before combined with new levels of luxury and technology.
"Fresh styling, generous amounts of standard equipment combined with Land Rover’s leading off-road capabilities, make the Freelander a seriously compelling customer proposition."
The revised Freelander will make its global debut at the Moscow International Motor Show on Wednesday August 29.