Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Classy but Rugged

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Classy but Rugged

Article excerpt

Byline: By Chris Russon

Chris Russon drives the all-new version of the Freelander

Land Rover is out to regain its crown as maker of the top-selling small 4x4 with an all-new version of the Freelander.

Making its debut at next month's British Motor Show, the Freelander 2 marks a new chapter in the company's history by becoming the first model not to be built at its factory in Solihull.

Instead, it will be built at Halewood, in Liverpool, alongside the X-Type saloons and estates made by its sister company Jaguar.

Both marques are part of Ford's Premier Automotive Group, which also includes Aston Martin and Volvo.

Although it may have a new home, the Freelander appears to have lost none of its rugged, go-anywhere abilities.

Going on sale in December, Land Rover has set out to create the most versatile vehicle in its class and out-strip the Toyota RAV4 which is now the most popular compact off-roader.

The new Freelander looks rugged but stylish with a slatted mesh grille producing an imposing presence. From the back it looks like a baby Range Rover Sport while it also possesses the side vents which have become a feature of the larger Land Rovers.

It also has an ultra-modern interior, much more user-friendly than on the original.

The car is two inches longer than the outgoing model which not only creates more room inside but also increases luggage space by 38% to 755 litres ( significantly bigger than most rivals.

Two new engines are being used in the latest Freelander, replacing the BMW diesel and MG Rover V6 petrol engine used in the first generation model, launched in 1997.

The petrol engine has been developed by Volvo and is a transversely mounted straight six 3.2-litre unit producing some 233 bhp. It gives the Freelander a claimed top speed of 124mph with a 0 to 60 acceleration time of 8. …

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