Tata Motors launches compact Rover SUV 'Freelander'

Following on the launch of high-end Jaguar and Land Rover models in India, Tata Motors, the new owner of the marquee brands, launched Land Rover's cheapest model, the Freelander 2, in Mumbai today (Tuesday).

Cheap is of course a relative term – while the company did not disclose pricing details, it is expected that the Freelander could cost up to Rs35 lakh. The three Rover brands that the company currently sells in India are the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Discovery 3. The discovery is the cheapest of the three at Rs63 lakh (plus of course local taxes).

The Freelander is seen as a compact yet premium four-wheel drive vehicle, and is selling well in Europe as well as China. The vehicle is now said to be in the final stages of passing its homologation tests in order to meet Indian regulatory conditions.

The SUV will of course attract an import duty of more than 100 per cent, as it will be sold in India as a completely built unit (CBU). The Freelander costs about 21,295 pounds (Rs17 lakh) in the UK. This 'lifestyle' 4WD vehicle is also sold as the LR2 in North America.

It is built on a unibody structure that it shares with the Ford Mondeo, unlike traditional SUVs which use the body-on-frame structure.