The Land Rover Freelander II is completely new from the wheels up
However, the model lineup has been completely re-aligned.
The entry level models now have 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engines, complete with such features as 16 inch alloy wheels, Land Rover tyre repair system, locking wheel nuts, six-speed manual transmission, halogen headlamps, heated exterior mirrors, air conditioning, manual six-way adjustable driver's seat, and radio/CD player with six speakers.
Roughly translated, in South African terms this means the equivalent model, the TD4 5-door, would go up from R324 000 for to R342 711.
Please note, however, that these are estimates, and may change when the model gets to South Africa - as indeed, may the specifications.
One factor which could make the local cars more expensive is the trend in SA to offer maintenance plans as standard, whereas they are extra-cost options in most overseas markets.
Big power boost
The current Freelander TD4 has an 82 kW engine and drives through a 5-speed manual gearbox.
The new Freelander II TD4 is expected to get the refined 2.2-litre turbo-diesel currently used in the Jaguar X-Type, and producing 120 kW - a massive power boost. Coupled with the 6-speed gearbox it should improve both on and off-road performance dramatically.
There are several TD4 versions, depending on trim and features, right up to full luxury spec versions. Then come the petrol models.
Instead of opting for a four-cylinder 1.8-litre, as at present, the new Freelander gets the new 174 kW Volvo straight six, and the range-topping i6 HSE has six-speed automatic transmission, colour touch-screen sat nav, heated leather seats, climate control,power driver's seat with memory function, 12-spoke alloy wheels, exterior mirror memory function, Dolby 'pro-logic 2' 7.1 surround sound, 14 speakers, leather seat facings, and leather-rimmed steering wheel.
Equivalent SA pricing would be upwards of R415 000.
The Freelander II goes on sale in the UK at the end of the year, although we would expect to see at least one at the Auto Africa Expo in Johannesburg in October.
This would mean local versions would be launched next year, probably in the first quarter.