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Automotive Intelligence News

News of  October 03, 2001


 


Land Rover Enters Small Segment With 2002 Freelander

Europeís Best-Selling Sport-Utility Vehicle Will Define A New Premium Segment Aimed At SUV Enthusiasts

Freelander

Photo: Land Rover

The newest four-wheel-drive vehicle from British sport-utility maker Land Rover will arrive on North American shores in the fourth quarter of 2001 and create an entirely new SUV niche. The permanent all-wheel drive Freelander will become the first premium, small sport-utility vehicle, one that will appeal to drivers who appreciate European handling and responsiveness.

Freelander has been available in Europe since 1997 and is acknowledged as possessing the widest range of capability on- and off-road in its market segment. A dual overhead cam V6 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with sport shifting will power the 2002 North American model. The trendsetting vehicle is highly civilized and fun to drive on pavement, yet still retains off-road capability worthy of its heritage. Compared to the 1997 European Freelander, the 2002 North American model is 70 percent new. Changes include an entirely new powertrain and extensive chassis improvements that deliver improved performance in all conditions.

Joining the successful Range Rover and Discovery Series II, Freelander is the first all-new Land Rover for North America since 1994. Its debut will bring the British sport-utility makerís model line-up to three and will help boost Land Roverís U.S. sales by more than 75 percent in calendar year 2002. Pre-launch consumer interest is already at an all-time high for Land Rover.

At launch, Freelander will be sold as a five-door model equipped with a 174-horsepower, 24-valve V6 engine, permanent all-wheel-drive, a five-speed sport automatic transmission, all-terrain anti-lock brakes, Land Roverís patented Hill Descent Control, power windows and air conditioning as standard equipment. Three trim levels Ė S, SE and HSE Ė will be offered with prices expected to start under $26,000.

(October 1, 2001)

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