Wednesday, 4 August 2010
Driving with with style - Land Rover Freelander
The Land Rover Freelander is a compact crossover SUV or "lifestyle 4WD made by the British company Land Rover; a subsidiary of Tata Motors. The current generation is sold as the LR2 in North America, as opposed to Freelander 2 in Europe. It is built on a unibody structure unlike traditional SUVs which use the more rugged body-on-frame structure.
The Freelander, wholly designed with Land Rover owned by the Rover Group, was born after market research in the late 1980s suggested that a market for compact off-roaders was likely to develop. In the early 1990s Rover Group had a very restricted product development budget and looked for a partner to develop the Freelander project, which was codenamed CB40 (after Canley Building 40, where the concept was initially developed). Rover's then-partner Honda declined and chose to develop its own CR-V model, which launched in 1997.Rover decided to go it alone with the CB40, which meant using parts from a limited parts bin, as it had done with the MGF roadster. Although BMW took over Rover Group in 1994, they did not get heavily involved in the development of the Freelander.
The car was launched in 1997. It became Europe's best-selling four-wheel drive model until 2002. The last Freelanders in North America were sold as 2005 models.There were a variety of models, based around 5-door estate and 3-door softback (semi-convertible), hardback, and commercial (van-like) versions. In 2004, Land Rover introduced an improved and upgraded version of the Mark I; changes included a new interior and major external revisions, including a new face and rear.
The 3-door model was available in E, S, SE, Sport and Sport Premium trim and the 5-door model in available in E, S, SE, HSE, Sport and Sport Premium trim.
Engine choices include:
• 1.8 litre I4 Rover K-Series petrol (1997–2006), badged as '1.8i' (Not sold in North America)
• 2.0 litre I4 Rover L-series diesel (1997–2001), badged as 'Di'
• 2.0 litre I4 BMW M47 diesel (2001–2006), badged as 'TD4'
• 2.5 litre V6 Rover KV6 Engine petrol (2001–2006), badged as 'V6'
Manual gearboxes dominated the early models, but automatic Tiptronic-style gearboxes became increasingly popular and were standard on the V6.
Freelander K-series engines have been known to drop the cylinder liners into the block. Because the liners are cast iron and the block is alloy. The blocks were made from a poor quality alloy, which led to many of the liners "dropping" in the blocks. This can cause the head gasket to fail. The head gasket/cylinder liner design fault has not been classified as a recall.
Over heating in the K-series engine is also a prime cause for head-gasket failure, due to the low quality alloy used to produce the head, distortion is a common result. This can often render the head useless. This was especially common with use of the K-series in the Freelander due to comparably large weight of the car.