Land Rover Freelander Comes StatesideHaving been a Land Rover offering in Europe since 1997, the company launched its all-wheel-drive Freelander in the U.S. in early 2002. The Freelander is the first Land Rover vehicle to be offered with unitized body construction, similar to that of some of the Jeep vehicles. Land Rover took this approach to meet standards of strength and durability without the addition of excess weight. Incorporated into the body are substantial, longitudinal box-section rails running the length of the underbody and tied together with integral crossmembers.
Another first for Land Rover is Freelander's permanent all-wheel-drive system. With no Low-range transfer case, the Freelander relies upon its Viscous Coupling Unit (VCU) plus four-wheel Electronic Traction Control (4ETC) to conquer trails and questionable terrain. In the power department, the Freelander uses a 2.5L, 24-valve, double overhead cam (DOHC) engine offering 174 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. This is mated to a Jatco five-speed automatic with sport shifting, another first for Land Rover. Rounding out the vehicle are four-wheel antilock disc brakes and a four-wheel independent suspension arrangement using MacPherson struts. It offers 9 inches of wheel travel in the rear and 7 inches up front.
Taking design cues from earlier-model Land Rovers, the Freelander features a horizontal clamshell hood with a low cowl and waistline, reflective of its Range Rover heritage. The Discovery and Defender heritage is also apparent with its grille treatment, upswept roof profile, and taillamp treatment. The Freelander is now available from your local dealer with standard power windows and air conditioning, nine exterior colors, and three trim levels, starting at $26,000.
Recalls from ChryslerCiting separate potential safety issues, DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler unit has recalled roughly 585,000 Jeeps and pickups. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Chrysler recalled 316,148 Jeep Wranglers made between June 1989 and December 1995 to fix parking brakes that have been found to release on their own without warning. Eleven complaints had been received regarding the parking brakes, four of which resulted in injury. Additionally, 268,740 Dodge Ram pickups were also recalled to correct an alternator wire that can potentially come loose and create a fire hazard. Two such incidents have been reported with neither resulting in injury. Chrysler plans to have dealers install a stiffer spring in the parking brake to remedy the problem in Jeeps and check the wires and tighten connections to fix the Rams.
As if these weren't enough to swallow, the Chrysler Group announced yet another recall, this time for '93-'98 Jeep Grand Cherokees. Seems that some owners are having issues with getting their vehicles into Park. Chrysler plans to resolve the problem by installing a secondary detent system on the floor shifter mechanism to help ensure drivers fully engage their vehicles in Park. Customers can contact their local dealer for more information or call (800) 853-1403.
4x4 Evolution 2The video game craze will stop at nothing. Having run the gamut in realistic adventure games, leading video game-developer Terminal Reality is stepping up to the plate with a sequel to its successful 4x4 Evolution video game. The company's 4x4 Evolution 2 combines real-world aftermarket accessories, factory-correct OEM vehicles, and realistic virtual four-wheeling. The game not only allows you to purchase vehicles and build them to perform using aftermarket parts from ARB, Old Man Emu, and IPF, but with enough race wins you can eventually purchase an ARB monster truck to conquer all other vehicles in the game. ARB USA worked closely with Terminal Reality in the development of the 4x4 Evo 2, ensuring that it would be as accurate as possible. The game is available for many gaming systems, including PC, Mac, Nintendo Gamecube, Sony PlayStation 2, and Microsoft Xbox. For more information, visit www.4x4evolution.com or www.terminalreality.com.