The first images of the 2013 Land Rover Freelander LR2 have been released, and the compact SUV bears striking resemblance to another of Land Rover’s very successful models.
The 2013 Freelander LR2 borrows the same engine, interior technologies and similar design cues from the 2012 Range Rover Evoque – the stylish Land Rover that signals a shift toward style rather than off-road capability. The 2013 is certainly cheaper than its limelight cousin, priced at $37,250 for the base LR2. Deluxe versions are available at $39,750 for the LR2 HSE and $42,350 for the LR2 HSE LUX.
But since they now share so many components, is the LR2 destined to serve as an Evoque clone? Is that a good or bad thing? Together, can they take on the likes of the sporty Audi Q5 and all-around Volvo XC60?
The 2013 Freelander LR2 will use the 2.0L turbo four-cylinder directly from the Evoque, which produces 240 horsepower and 250 lb.-ft of torque at 3,200 rpm for constant thrust through the powerband. The new engine replaces the 3.2L inline-6 in the 2012 Freelander LR2, improving power by 10 horsepower and 16 lb.-ft of torque.
Land Rover expects fuel efficiency to improve drastically, thanks to the smaller displacement, direct injection, variable valve timing and a weight loss of 88 lbs. in the engine alone. The 2013 Freeland LR2 will also employ regenerative braking to charge internal electric components through the 12.5” front discs.
So lighter, smaller and more eco-friendly. But don’t mistake the 2013 Land Rover Freelander LR2 for a softie. Engineers still designed the LR2 to handle with agility and attack off-road trails with equal competence. At the heart of the drivetrain is a full-time four-wheel drive system. Under normal conditions, the car will be driven mostly by the front wheels to improve efficiency, but can switch to the 18” alloy rear wheels under low traction or off-roading.
The six-speed transmission allows you to choose between Normal and Sport modes, and the 2013 Freelander LR2 rides on four corner coil-spring struts to keep it light on its toes. Traction and stability control are standard, along with Chill Descent Control and Corner Brake Control that enhances rear-end stability under braking.
The interior and exterior designs are where the most obvious references to the Evoque can be found. The cabin is outfitted in lush leather with a new dash and center console design that includes a standard 7” color touch-screen. Land Rover has replaced their Terrain Response dial with buttons and steering wheel toggle switches for greater ease, and a double sunroof is even standard. Audio comes from an 11-speaker sound system or optional 17-speaker Meridian surround sound. Navigation and a rear camera are also available (though standard on the HSE and HSE LUX models).
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