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Land Rover Freelander to Become Discovery from 2015

Land Rover Freelander to Become DiscoveryThe Land Rover Freelander is to be replaced by a new model rebranded as part of the Discovery range from 2015. The Freelander replacement will be a member of an extended Discovery line-up, according to company sources and will be based on a stretched Evoque platform and has already been dubbed the “baby Discover”.

Official details on the new Discovery range will begin to emerge in the first half of 2014 to coincide with the Discovery’s 25th anniversary. The full production version will then star at September’s Paris show. The dropping of the Freelander name will follow the change in the US market in 2006, where the Freelander and Discovery are known as LR2 and LR4 in the US.

At Land Rover’s recent 65th anniversary celebrations, global brand director John Edwards made a point of telling journalists that the company was based on “three iconic brands: Range Rover, Discovery and Defender” part of Land Rover’s long-term strategy to divide its products into three distinct “pillars”:

  • The “luxury” pillar already contains the three Range Rover models; it will be completed off by a flagship £120,000-plus Range Rover Ultimate at the Dubai Motor Show, along with a long-wheelbase Range Rover that will debut at the LA Motor Show show.
  • The “dual-purpose” pillar will contain the new Defender family.
  • The Discovery and its new baby brother will populate the “leisure” pillar – hence the Discovery lettering on the nose, which takes design elements from the 2014 model.

It’s understood that two models will replace the Freelander — a seven-seater and a five-seater version. Both models will be built in Merseyside at the Halewood factory using a scalable steel platform being developed at Land Rover expanded network of test sites in Germany, Dubai, the US and Sweden, as well as the UK.

The Land Rover Freelander in1997The Freelander badge was first seen in 1997 with The Freelander 2 being launched in its current form in 2006 and given a mild makeover for 2013. The “baby Discover” promises to be a significant step forward from the current Freelander, offering greater wading depth, better interior packaging and much improved boot space.

Engines

The Freelander will take advantage of the all-new four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, which will be built at a new £500million Engine Manufacturing Centre in Wolverhampton in the West Midlands from 2015. Land Rover claims these will deliver “class-leading levels of refinement and significant reductions in emissions”.

Transmission

The new Freelander is expected to be offered with the recent nine-speed automatic gearbox, as well as the Haldex 5 four-wheel-drive system which is controlled by a version of the automatic Terrain Response 2 system. An efficient front-wheel-drive model will also be available, promising to deliver much better fuel economy than the current eD4, which claims 47.1mpg.

Pricing

When the newly brander Freelander car hits dealers, it’s likely to be more affordable than the Land Rover Evoque which currently costs from nearly £30,000. The Freelander should start at around £25,000. The replacement is expected to go on sale in early 2015, however you can buy used Land Rover Freelander models from Hunters.

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