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Land Rover launches the frugal Freelander TD4_e

The greenest: The Land Rover Freelander TD4_e sips just 6.7L/100.

Leanest, greenest Land Rover arrives in Australia as the Freelander 2 TD4_e

Land Rover logo7 Aug 2009

THE first tangible evidence of Land Rover’s billion-dollar investment into “sustainable technologies” reached the Australian new-vehicle market this week with the introduction of Freelander TD4_e prestige compact SUV, priced from $45,590.

Billed as the most fuel-efficient vehicle the British 4WD brand has ever produced – and the world’s first SUV with “intelligent” idle-stop technology – the diesel-powered TD4_e (which is restricted to a manual transmission) is claimed to consume just 6.7L/100km, 21 per cent less than the TD4 six-speed automatic.

This is a significant improvement on the 7.5L/100km achieved by the TD4 manual, which is not sold in Australia, and Land Rover claims further that fuel savings of almost 20 per cent can be realised in heavy city traffic conditions, which translates to around 8.9L/100km based on the TD4 auto’s official urban figure of 11L/100km.

Also touted as the greenest Land Rover ever built, the TD4_e is said to emit 20 per cent less carbon dioxide than the TD4 auto, down from 224g/km to a new low of 179g/km.

As GoAuto revealed in June, the e-branded SUV heralds the introduction of a mild ‘10MY’ upgrade for the Freelander 2 range, which otherwise continues in SE and HSE model lines with either the 118kW/400Nm 2.2-litre four-cylinder TD4 turbo-diesel or 171kW/317Nm 3.2-litre Si6 six-cylinder petrol.

24 center imageThe TD4’s output remains unchanged for the ‘e’ version, with the improved environmental performance the result of the six-speed manual gearbox, ‘Stop/Start’ idle-stop system, revised driveline software and fitment of low-rolling-resistance tyres.

The green-tinged SUV also has a gearshift indicator light recommending a move into a higher gear, and marks a further milestone as the first Land Rover to achieve compliance with forthcoming ‘End of Life’ EU legislation requiring at least 85 per cent of the vehicle to be recyclable.

As expected, the TD4_e does not quite make the SE grade, with a reduced level of standard equipment on board to become the Land Rover marque’s new price leader.

This includes the deletion of the following: faux wood finish on the dash fascia, leather on the upper door trim (now cloth), power-operated leather front seats (for manual-adjust cloth-trim seats) and a six-stack CD stereo (for a single-slot in-dash unit).

There has been no compromise on safety equipment, with seven airbags, electronic traction and stability control, “roll stability control” and ABS brakes (with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist) all remaining standard.

Other notable inclusions on the e-SUV are 17-inch alloy wheels (including a full-size spare), automatic headlights (with washers), front foglamps, rear parking sensors, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, cruise control, climate-control air-conditioning, steering-mounted audio controls and a six-speaker stereo with MP3 input.

Options available on the TD4_e are the same as those on the 10MY SE, which includes a new $1900 Style Pack (comprising 19-inch seven-split-spoke alloy wheels, a rear tailgate spoiler and metallic dash trim), panoramic sunroof ($3300), bi-Xenon auto-levelling headlights ($2100), metallic paint ($1700), a Cold Climate Pack ($1200), auto-dimming rear-view mirror ($250) and 18-inch alloy wheels ($850).

The starting price for the Si6 SE remains at $49,990, and the TD4 SE $52,790, while the premium HSE level continue $6000 further up the scale.

There are no standard feature changes to SE or HSE variants, no mechanical improvements and a distinct lack of the usual facelift fodder such as revised grille and bumpers with the 10MY upgrade. Aesthetic alterations are limited to a new wheel design for SE, two new exterior colours (Bali Blue for Martinique Blue and Ipanema Sand for Nazca Sand) and an addition to the leather interior trim palette (Storm/grey).

The previous Technology Pack on the HSE has also been separated into individual items: satellite-navigation and Bluetooth mobile phone integration ($6250), Bi-Xenon adaptive headlights ($850), and a Dolby Prologic II 7.1 premium surround-sound system ($1000).

The TD4_e is the first application of Land Rover’s so-called “e_Terrain Technologies” on a production vehicle, which forms part of the Indian-owned Jaguar Land Rover’s $A1.5 billion investment into green motoring solutions.

“The Stop/Start Freelander 2 is the first production vehicle to benefit from Jaguar Land Rover’s massive investment in sustainable technologies,” said Land Rover Australia general manager Roger Jory.

“It also represents a new entry level into the Land Rover brand, offering improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions without compromising the vehicle’s outstanding on-road performance and class-leading off-road ability.”

The idle-stop system switches off the engine when the vehicle is stationary with the gearbox in neutral and the clutch pedal raised. It restarts when the clutch is re-engaged.

The engine will not shut down in a number of circumstances, such as with extreme external temperatures, when the air-conditioning system demand is high, the battery charge is low, the engine is cold, a door is ajar, or when off-road electronic devices such as hill-descent control are engaged.

Despite the lower entry price, Land Rover is taking a cautious approach to sales expectations for the TD4_e. A spokesperson told GoAuto that the company had left it to the market “to dictate the take-up rate”.

Freelander sales rallied last month to be down only 3.7 per cent year-to-date.

Land Rover Freelander pricing:
TD4_e $45,590
TD4 SE (a) $49,990
Si6 SE (a) $52,790
TD4 HSE (a) $55,990
Si6 HSE (a) $58,790

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