Land Rover is going green…honest. The first of its CO2-reducing technologies – the Freelander TD4_e featuring stop/start technology – launches in April 2009 and promises to be the most fuel-efficient Land Rover ever offering 42.2mpg and 179g/km of CO2. The authentic 4x4 brand also claims the Freelander TD4_e is the world’s first SUV to sport an intelligent stop/start system.
A Land Rover Freelander that does 40-plus mpg? Am I dreaming?
Of course that’s the official combined figure so probably yes, but the fuel-sipping technology is still great news for drivers wanting all the ability and authenticity Land Rover is famed for, wrapped up in a greener package that will genuinely improve day-to-day economy. The stop/start tech – married to the existing 2.2-litre TD4 diesel manual – boosts official mpg by 12% (37.7 to 42.2mpg) and reduces emissions by 8% (from 194 to 179g/km) and could, says Land Rover, improve economy by 20% in heavy stop/start conditions. Land Rover’s stop/start specialist boffin Phil Whiffin believes savings could equate to £13 per tank or £680 every year.
Which engines get the technology and how much will it cost?
For now Land Rover's launching only on the Freelander diesel manual – automatics are trickier to engineer with stop/start technology and the Freelander’s 3.2-litre petrol sales are minuscule in the UK – but stop/start systems will be rolled out to other diesel manual models in the range in time. Expect the Discovery to be next. Stop/start will be standard on the Freelander TD4 manual and incur no extra cost over the current model.
Click 'Next' below to read more of our Land Rover Freelander TD4_e Stop/Start first drive
Is the driving experience affected?
When stationary, yes. Put the gear lever into neutral, release the clutch and the engine cuts out – with the reassuring confirmation that you haven’t stalled registered in the driver display with the message ‘eco stop/start on’. Otherwise no. Re-starting is just as easy – touch the clutch pedal, select a gear and accelerate. All round there’s no diesel cut-out or start-up shudder or rattle, something Land Rover’s engineers have specifically worked to mitigate. The system can be disabled too – manually at the touch of a button and automatically by the car’s computer when certain all-terrain settings are turned on – so you don’t get caught out off-road, something amply demonstrated on our London test route via the inside of Battersea Power station.
Is anything else new on the TD4_e?
Yes, the eco-focused car also has low-rolling resistance tyres and a beefed-up starter motor to help achieve its stop/start mpg excellence, plus an optimum gear selector indicator in the dash to nudge drivers into the most frugal gear for their speed. Prices for the TD4_e range from £21,325 for the S to £32,345 for the HSE model.
This is an important variant for Land Rover that signals the start of a much more eco-aware range – from stop-start in 2009 to diesel hybrid by 2012 – and crucially without sacrificing the brand’s off-road credentials. They can’t come soon enough.
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