The new Range Rover Velar will plug a gap in the Land Rover range between the Evoque and Range Rover Sport when it goes on sale this summer, priced from £44,830.
The sportiest Range Rover yet, its modern, minimalist design clothes a premium mid-size SUV laden with interesting new technology. Here’s all you need to know.
Why is Land Rover making the Velar?
The Velar exists because people stepping out of a Range Rover Evoque are faced with too big a jump into the Range Rover Sport. They are, instead, moving to the Porsche Macan. Land Rover has created the Velar as its fourth model line to, as it says, ‘fill the white space’.
What sort of an SUV is the Velar?
Like the Evoque, the Velar is a more road-biased SUV than the full off-roader Sport and Range Rover. As we’ll see, it’s still been designed to get its wheels dirty. But the focus here is more on on-road dynamics. Using the aluminium-intensive platform of the Jaguar F-Pace helps here.
So the Velar is a Range Rover F-Pace?
Technically, the two are related. But Land Rover is sensitive here, perhaps rightly so. The Range Rover Velar is related to the Jaguar F-Pace in the same way a Porsche Macan is related to an Audi Q5. That doesn’t upset anyone. Why should this?
What does the Velar look like?
‘Visually reductive’ is the design term bandied about by Land Rover. This means clean surfaces and ultra-precise panel fit. It also means the slimmest headlights ever fitted to a Land Rover, a laid-back windscreen angle, short front overhangs and a long rear overhang. It’s a step up over an Evoque and clearly a racier thing than a Range Rover Sport.
What’s the clever highlight inside?
The Velar introduces Land Rover’s groundbreaking touchscreen Touch Pro Duo infotainment system. Two 10-inch HD screens sit in the centre console, the bottom one replacing most of the buttons for climate control and Land Rover Terrain Response. Clarity is brilliant and, with the engine off, it’s black: a ‘secret-until-lit’ surface, says Land Rover.
What’s powering the Velar?
There are six engines available in the Velar. V6 petrol and diesel sit at the top of the range, but the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel and turbo petrols will sell best. Pick from D180 and D240 2.0-litre diesel, or P250 and P300 petrol: the numbers in all four reference engine power. Every Velar has an eight-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive.
Is it slippery through the air?
This is, no less, the most aerodynamic Land Rover ever, with a drag coefficient Cd from just 0.32. That’s approaching conventional car levels of sleekness. It means this is a Land Rover better suited than any other to high-speed on-road driving. Oh, and the rear spoiler has been designed to cut dirt accumulation on the rear screen by 90 per cent.
Range Rovers always have cool roofs
The Velar follows the Range Rover tradition in having a ‘floating roof’: the pillars are black so you can’t see the gap between sides and roof. Pick either a body-colour or black roof, and either fixed or sliding panoramic glass innards.
Velar: inside story
See how the centre console is fully black until switched on? That’s minimalism at work, something Land Rover’s very proud of. Expect to see this setup in future models too. As for the angle of the centre console, no Land Rover has as sporty a rake as this. Similarly, the seating position is a semi-high ‘Sports Command’ layout.
Debuting Touch Pro Duo
The showroom highlight of Velar is going to be Touch Pro Duo. The upper screen has swipe functionality and displays navigation, media and phone info. It’s multi-configurable, like a computer desktop. It can tilt through 30 degrees; it sits back flush when you park, but remembers your preferred angle for when you get back in.
The second lower screen is gently curved to sit flush with the dash. It masterminds climate control and Terrain Response: this is the first time a Land Rover hasn’t had a fixed set of controls for the off-road system (saying that, Terrain Response 2 is optional rather than standard). The menus are simple, promises Land Rover, and the two rotary controllers are reconfigurable.
Land Rover’s going big on premium within the Velar. It speaks of luxury materials and exquisite detailing – this is a real step up over the Evoque. There are endless trim options and you can even have an SUV sector first: Premium Textile seat trim as a sustainable alternative to leather. It’s been developed by textile experts Kvadrat and is made from materials including recycled plastic bottles.
Velar in the rear
The Velar is a five-seat Range Rover, with rear occupants optionally getting seat heating and electric recline. Four-zone climate control is also available, as is a full rear-seat entertainment system that lets two passengers stream different media into headrest-mounted screens. Behind the seats is a 632-litre boot.
I hear it has cool door handles
The door handles are very cool. They’re deployable, so sit flush with the body…
But they whirr out when the car is unlocked. They hinge forwards to open up the door then retract in at speeds above 5mph. Recognise them from another car? Yes, they’re similar to those on the Jaguar F-Type sports car.
Velar on the road
Velars come as standard with adaptive suspension: four-corner air suspension is optional. Even the smallest alloy wheel is 18 inches – you can go up to 22 inches. As with the Jaguar F-Pace, it has double wishbones at the front and an Integral Link rear. Oh, and it can tow up to 2.5 tonnes.
If you pick air suspension, the Velar’s ride height drops 10mm at speeds above 65mph. You can raise it 46mm when off-roading, and drop it 40mm to help you get in and out. Air suspension comes as standard on six-cylinder models.
Velar off the road
Think the Velar can’t off-road? Think again. We’ve been here before with the Evoque, and that surprised people. The Velar’s going to do the same, not least courtesy of a wading depth up to 650mm, and ground clearance of 213mm – which raises to 251mm with air suspension.
Reflecting its likely usage, Land Rover has left Terrain Response 2 on the options list, along with All Terrain Progress Control (a kind of ‘off-road cruise control’). No point everyone paying for it if only a few will use it. After all, says the firm, this is a new type of Range Rover for a new type of customer.
How much is the Range Rover Velar?
An entry-level 2.0 D180 Velar costs £44,830. It’s a £5,590 jump to an S, with a D180 costing £50,420 and a D240 costing £53,720. A V6 D300 S costs £57,670. SE is £3,940 over S, HSE is £6,500 over SE and you can add an R-Dynamic pack onto S, SE and HSE for £2,420.
What is the Velar First Edition?
For the launch model year, a Velar First Edition will be sold – available only with a V6 petrol or diesel engine. The D300 costs £83,350, the P380 costs £85,450. Fully-loaded, you can have it in either Corris grey, Silicon silver or our-choice: Flux silver, a unique satin finish hand-applied at the fancy JLR SVO Oxford Road factory.
First verdict: Range Rover Velar
The Range Rover Velar is a very exciting new model from Land Rover. It goes head-to-head with the Porsche Macan in what’s certain to be a ding-dong knockabout. It looks sharp, has a modern interior, and we know from the F-Pace how well it’s likely to drive. Is it yet another Land Rover smash hit? We’d say almost certainly ‘yes’…