Land Rover sells some cutting edge off-road machines, which boast slick styling and high-tech kit. The Freelander, however, is not one of them. This compact 4x4 dates back to 2006 and is long overdue a replacement as ever more competitors line up to steal its customers.
The new Discovery Sport however, should bring the Freelander firmly up to date. In keeping with its new name, the updated model looks much more like its Discovery namesake – and the new Range Rover Sport – than the dated Freelander.
Land Rover claims that the new model is the world's most versatile premium compact SUV, with prices starting from under £30,000 when it goes on sale in January 2015. The Midlands-based company also says that the new car is the first premium compact 4x4 to have seven seats as standard – despite being no longer than five-seater rivals.
The middle seats can recline and slide back and forth by 160mm, while the third row of seats is most suitable for children aged up to 13 years old, reports Autocar. Thanks to an 80mm growth in length over the Freelander, the new car should offer a more practical interior.
The car should have a more upmarket feel than its predecessor with lots of storage cubbies dotted around the cabin, up to four 12V power points and six USB charging sockets for all three rows of seating, allowing multiple devices to be charged at the same time.
The dash will feature an 8-inch touchschreen media system and six-speed manual and nine-speed automatic gearboxes will be available. The most frugal Discovery Sport, which will have two-wheel drive only, is capable of CO2 emissions of 119g/km, meaning vehicle tax of just £30 a year under the current rules.
The car should also be comfortable thanks to supple long travel suspension, which allows it to traverse severe terrain. It is also able to safely wade through a class-leading 600mm of water. An external pedestrian airbag will also feature on the equipment list.