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New Land Rover Freelander Due 2015

By raccars Published

The next Land Rover Freelander is expected in showrooms for 2015 and JLR has been drip feeding details. This, the third version of the Freelander, has a lot to live up to. Not only has its predecessor been a big seller for the company, but this time around the market is buzzing about a rival very close to home, the Range Rover Evoque.

While JLR will in effect be competing against itself in this market niche, the company is also using this experience to its advantage, with Evoque-esque design cues obvious in the Freelander 3's purposeful new front end. The Freelander will be campaigning on practicality versus the Evoque's luxury, but will be modernised with a smart cabin and a touchscreen infotainment interface.

The two cars will be similarly sized but aiming for slightly different ends of the same market. With global sales of SUVs expected to grow from around 14 million this year to 22 million in 2020, JLR plans to take a large slice of the pie, with a three pronged attack aiming to fulfill what it sees as the market's main requirements: luxury, leisure and dual purpose.

The Range Rovers, including the Evoque, take the luxury slot and will be pushing its boundaries with a longer wheelbase edition and a seven seat version of the Evoque on the way. The long awaited replacement for the Defender will function as a dual purpose vehicle, while the Freelander will accompany the Discovery to complete the picture as leisure vehicles. With JLR ambitious for growth, the five seat Freelander is also due to get the seven seater treatment in the near future, to satisfy US consumers.

Merseyside's Halewood factory will turn out both versions, using a scalable steel architecture that is currently under development in a number of international locations. Power will be supplied by JLR's new range of four cylinder units, set to be manufactured at the company's new Wolverhampton Engine Manufacturing Centre after a £500 million investment. Land Rover is promising impressive emissions figures and refinement from these petrol and diesel engines.

The Freelander should also benefit from JLR's new nine-speed automatic transmission and the most up to the minute four wheel drive system from Haldex. It will again be offered as a front wheel drive but with more improved fuel economy than the current edition.

The Freelander will, as expected, be a little cheaper than its luxury counterpart the Evoque, with a starting price point of about £25,000.

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