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by Tim Beissmann

The Land Rover Freelander 2 has been upgraded with a refreshed exterior design, an overhauled interior, a new petrol engine and more economical diesels, and a revised specification line-up with extra features and new technology.

With Australian deliveries beginning in December 2012, the updates are designed to push the Indian-owned British brand’s entry-level off-roader further towards the premium end of the medium SUV market.

The sharpened exterior introduces the latest in xenon LED technology, with the front and rear lights revised to give the Land Rover Freelander 2 a sportier and more purposeful appearance. The grille and foglight bezels sport a bright finish, while subtle colour changes to the grille surround, vents and bumper inserts freshen the overall design.

Three new paint colours – Aintree Green, Havana and Mauritius Blue – and new alloy wheel designs make the updated Freelander 2 easily distinguishable from the previous model.

Inside, the new Freelander 2 scores a brand new centre console with switches replacing the old model’s ‘Terrain Response’ dial and more storage added behind a new shutter.

A new five-inch display screen is positioned between the instrument cluster binnacles, displaying vehicle information including temperature and fuel levels, gear positions and Terrain Response mode.

The shift to an electric park brake reduces cabin clutter, while the updated push-button start system does away with the docking station and allows the driver to turn on the engine with the key still in their pocket.

The updated Freelander 2 finally introduces a rear-view camera that displays through the enhanced infotainment screen and incorporates ‘Hitch Assist’: a superimposed graphic showing the position of the vehicle’s tow ball.

The new ‘Say What You See’ program is designed to help drivers use the Freelander’s voice activation system, displaying prompts on the screen for controlling the satellite navigation, climate control, audio and phone settings.

The upgraded sat-nav is now based on a faster hard drive system and facilitates Eco Route planning, Dynamic Zoom, visual lane guidance and point of interest management.

Entry-level models feature an upgraded eight-speaker audio system with a five-inch colour display screen. Two Meridian systems with seven-inch touchscreens are also available: a 380-watt 11-speaker unit and a premium quality 825-watt 17-speaker system. All feature Bluetooth audio streaming as standard along with USB connectivity and iPod integration.

Unlike the outgoing model, the new Land Rover Freelander 2 variants will be differentiated by trim level rather than by powertrain specification. The Freelander TD4 manual kicks off the range, and is followed by the SE that adds a gloss black grille, leather upholstery, Meridian sound system and reversing camera. The flagship HSE adds electric front seats and wood grain trim, and comes with the option of 19-inch alloy wheels and a range of interior enhancements.

New to the powertrain line-up is the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine from the Range Rover Evoque, which produces 177kW of power and 340Nm of torque – up from the old inline-six’s 171kW/317Nm output.

Dubbed ‘Si4’, the new engine lowers the Freelander’s combined cycle fuel consumption to 9.6 litres per 100km – down more than 10 per cent from the 10.7L/100km of the old Si6. The engine is paired exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission and a full-time four-wheel drive system.

The 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel options carry over into the new line-up, continuing to produce 110kW/420Nm in TD4 spec and 140kW/420Nm in the more powerful SD4. For added economy, the entry-level TD4 is available with a six-speed manual transmission and stop-start, helping it achieve a combined cycle fuel figure of 6.2L/100km. The six-speed auto versions of both diesels continue to burn through 7.0L/100km.

All models are now also equipped with Land Rover’s Intelligent Power System Management, a regenerative braking system that helps reduce the car’s fuel use by recovering the kinetic energy produced during braking.

The Land Rover Freelander 2 retains its maximum five-star safety rating thanks to its standard fitment of seven airbags, stability control and a host of other active and passive safety systems.

Full Australian specifications and prices will be confirmed closer to the Freelander’s local launch.




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