Stop. Start. Intelligently!

Land Rover has launched the world’s first production sports utility vehicle (SUV) with fuel-saving, emissions-lowering intelligent stop-start technology in South Africa.

The Land Rover Freelander 2 TD4_e, launched in SA this week, combines the British manufacturer’s proven 2,2-litre TD4 turbodiesel engine and slick-shifting six-speed manual gearbox with elements of the company’s aptly named e_Terrain technologies, of which an advanced stop-start system is the key component.

As a result, the Freelander 2 TD4_e sips just 8,5 litres of diesel for every 100 km travelled in city driving. In extra-urban conditions, that figure drops to an impressively low 5,7 litres/100 km, while the combined cycle fuel consumption figure comes to 6,7 litres/100 km.

Stop-start technology, in basic terms, reduces fuel consumption and emissions by shutting down the engine, when appropriate, as soon as the Freelander is brought to a stop.

This will typically occur at red traffic lights, in stop-start traffic, or at road construction sites, where the vehicle may be stationary for a significant period of time. In these conditions, start-stop technology means that there are zero tailpipe emissions while the vehicle is stationary.

At the same time, engine restart is instantaneous and consistently reliable, ensuring seamless and safe operation as soon as the accelerator is pressed.

The Freelander 2 TD4_e retains the standard version’s superior dynamic traits, on and off the road. It too is equipped with Land Rover’s ground-breaking Terrain Response system, which works closely together with the vehicle’s intelligent full-time four-wheel drive system.

Combined, they allow the Freelander 2 TD4_e to tackle and conquer challenging off-road conditions. Elements such as the all-independent suspension, quick-ratio rack-and-pinion power steering, as well as the 210 mm ground clearance and 500 mm wading depth underscore the Freelander’s all-terrain prowess.

The vehicle also includes a series of additional, advanced technologies to boost safety and stability. These include Roll Stability Control, Gradient Release Control, Electronic Traction Control, Dynamic Stability Control and Hill Descent Control.

The tried and tested 2,2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine delivers 118 kW of maximum power, together with a full 400 Nm of torque. In conjunction with the six-speed manual gearbox, the Freelander 2 TD4_e sprints from rest to 100 km/h in only 11,7 sec, and achieves a top speed of 181 km/h.

The Freelander 2_e’s stop-start technology is considered intelligent for a number of reasons. The system is automatically activated every time the vehicle is started and remains active unless the driver manually switches it off.

When active, the system will stop the engine without affecting elements such as vehicle lighting, and the in-car entertainment system.

Cleverly, the engine is only stopped once the stop-start system has considered the overall status of the vehicle and to what extent other systems rely on its continued operation. Thus, the system may opt to keep the engine running to maintain interior comfort levels overseen by the climate control system in extreme weather conditions.

Once switched off, the engine can also be switched back on by the stop-start system without driver input – for instance when it senses that battery charge levels are running low, or that the cabin temperature requires intervention from the climate control system.

The stop-start system is automatically deactivated when Hill Descent Control is engaged, or when any of the Freelander’s Terrain Response programmes are selected. And it can also be deactivated at any time by pressing a switch on the dashboard.

The Freelander 2 TD4_e also features an additional economy aid in the form of a gear shift indicator. This shows an illuminated graphic in the instrument binnacle as soon as selecting a higher gear would aid improved fuel consumption.

Compared with the standard model, fitting the start-stop system to the Freelander 2 TD4 has reduced CO2 emissions by 8 percent (15 g/km), based on the standard EU4 cycle. But in heavy traffic, the stop-start system can save fuel by as much as 20 percent.

That makes the Freelander 2 TD4_e the most fuel-efficient Land Rover ever.

The launch of the Freelander 2 TD4_e coincides with a number of detail improvements to the Freelander 2 model range, including minor updates to the interior and a number of new exterior colour options.

The TD4_e model will initially be available in ‘S’ specification only, and is only offered with the six-speed manual gearbox.

“The new Freelander 2 TD4_e is a key model for Land Rover,” says Andrew Daniel, managing director of Jaguar Land Rover South Africa. “It proves how sensible, user-friendly technologies can make a substantial contribution to more fuel-efficient, lower-emissions vehicles.”

Daniel says the Freelander 2 TD4_e is the first Land Rover vehicle to benefit from the company’s emerging e_Terrain Technologies initiative, which seeks to make Land Rover vehicles increasingly environmentally responsible.

“These technologies will become increasingly apparent in the Land Rover model range. The production version of the ground-breaking LRX concept, for instance, will become the flag bearer of our constantly evolving e_Terrain Technologies.

“For now, however, the Freelander 2 TD4_e becomes Land Rover’s most fuel-efficient, lowest-emissions vehicle ever,” Daniel concluded.

The Land Rover Freelander 2 TD4_e has a recommended retail price of R377 500, which includes a three-year/100 000 km Land Rover Car Plan maintenance plan.