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The Freelander, wholly designed by the Rover Group, was born after market research in the late 1980s suggest 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. Surprisingly, Rover's formal partner Honda also declined (although the very similar Honda CR-V appeared in 1997). In December 2007, Autocar Magazine in the UK reported that early development designs and sketches of the Freelander prototype featured Hyundai badging, suggesting that a tie up between the 2 manufacturers was being proposed, which was not the case. 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. It's thought that the Freelander was based on a heavily modified Maestro floorpan, with a unique body, transmission and suspension. Although BMW took over Rover Group in 1994, the Germans did not get heavily involved in the development of the Freelander. The car was launched in 1997 and it rapidly became the best selling compact 4x4 in Europe. The early model Freelanders, however, suffered from chronic unreliability issues including blown head gaskets, failure of the differentials, total clutch failure and over-heating among other things which saw the Freelander rated at the bottom of almost all reliability surveys in the UK. This did not stop the vehicle becoming a strong sales success, becoming Europe's best-selling 4x4 model and remaining so until 2002.
There are a variety of models, based around 5-door station wagon and 3-door softback, hardback, and commercial versions.
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 will 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 new Freelander was first sold in the US 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 will include an Alpine 440 watt 14 speaker surround sound audio and touch navigation screen options. (Technology Package). There is also a Cold Climate Package with 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.
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Check out the Land Rover Freelander wallpapers and Land Rover Freelander Pictures (pics) collection below: