Land Rover RL2

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The Freelander, wholly designed by the Rover Group after early talks of a co-operation with BMW resulted in disinterest from the German side. Despite this, BMW secretly proceeded with their BMW X3, inspired by the Freelander prototype. It came off the production line in late 1997. It rapidly became the best selling compact 4×4 in Europe, outselling the BMW X3, as well as many other small “off-roaders”.

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There are a variety of models, based around 5-door station wagon and 3-door softback, hardback, and commercial versions.

1.8-litre Rover K-Series petrol (1997-2006), badged as ‘1.8i’
2.0-litre Rover L-series diesel (1997-2001), badged as ‘Di’
2.0-litre BMW TD4 diesel (2001-2006), badged as ‘TD4’
2.5-litre Rover KV6 Engine petrol (2001-2006), badged as ‘V6’

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Manual gearboxes dominated the early models, but automatic Tiptronic-style gearboxes became increasingly popular and were standard on the V6.

The marketing puts much emphasis on the offroad heritage of the Land Rover marque. While the first-generation Freelander was considered quite capable off-road, earning its credentials in the Camel Trophy and Land Rover G4 Challenge, it represented a compromise. It did not have a low range gear selection nor a locking differential, as found on larger Land Rover models.

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The first-generation was, however, the first Land Rover to feature hill descent control. This system, plus the capable off road Traction Control system used the ABS to control individual brakes and keep driving under control in offroad situations.

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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 new “2008” LR2 is now on sale in the United States for a base price of US$34,700.

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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.

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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 features as standard.

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Scribbled on June 20th 2007 in Land Rover, Miscellaneous, Pictures
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