It not only looks absolutely gorgeous, but offers the same level of luxury found in other models such as the Range Rover Sport. It has also been nominated as a 2018 World Car of The Year finalist, hence my urgency to sample it.
Right off the bat though, there seems to be a problem because I can’t quite figure out where the Velar fits in. It’s not replacing the Evoque yet offers similar, if not better looks and features.
In fact, the Velar seems to create a bit of competition within its own family. Why would you want the Evoque or even the Land Rover Discovery Sport if you can have a Velar? I guess the Sport is aimed at more off-road focused customers while the Velar
is destined to remain tar-bound, but more on that later.
Just look at it!
Let me start with those looks. Although the standard Range Rover is a fairly imposing thing, the Velar comes across as if everyone in the design and engineering department loved it so much that they just decided to put it into production for the sake of its looks.
It has an unmistakable Range Rover front end with sleek headlights and a prominent grille. From the side, you will notice that it has a sweptback look, while the rear is characterised by stylish tail lamps and overall, a very clean look.
Modern interior bristles with teach
Step inside and the Velar impresses further. Where most cars feature one or two screens, the Velar has three; one representing the TFT instrument cluster and the other two the infotainment and climate control switches.
As to be expected, the entire setup is designed beautifully and feels luxurious but chunky as only a Range Rover can. Turn the car on, and the central display levels-up while the third also acts as display pad for the vehicle dynamics system.
The Velar is fitted with the brand’s latest Terrain Response system and when selecting between each option, be it road, snow and mud, rock and sand, the entire screen displays a graphic to accompany the desired mode, all in high definition quality.
About that tech...
It is worth noting that the model I had on test was the top-spec HSE, which means it comes packed with just about every gadget you could ask for. There are even screens for rear passengers with Range Rover branded wireless headphones. Other luxury items include leather wrapped everything including the dashboard.
The Velar retains the familiar Jaguar-Land Rover (JLR) family rotary dial gear selector which I personally feel needs replacing, however it does save some space.
Powering my tester was a twin-turbocharged diesel version of JLR’s Ingenium oil burner, which displaced 2.0-litres and produced 177kW/500Nm, linked to a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic gearbox. It’s not the most engaging engine in the range, but once the boost kicks-in, it picks up speed rather rapidly. The ride is also very comfortable thanks to the added benefit of air-suspension, which also aids off-road ability.
As this is a Range Rover, the Velar not only has to be accomplished on the tar but off it as well. Deep within the infotainment system, you will find various 4x4 options, such as locking centre differential for example and monitoring for wheel placing placing and obstacles thanks to the surround view camera system.
It even lets you know how submerged he car is and how much deeper you can go. Select the Rock Crawl mode, and the car lifts up to its maximum height and puts the gearbox into a low-range-like mode.
While achingly pretty, well equipped and with a decent powertrain up front, the Velar’s biggest stumbling block it its price. The base D180 with a 132kW/430Nm, single turbo version of the Ingenium diesel retails for R950 208, while the 280kW/450Nm 3.0-litre supercharged V6 HSE R-Dynamic commands a price tag of R1 550 516.
The D240 HSE I drove was priced at R1 238 976, making it more expensive than the BMW X3 M40i and the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Launch Edition. Then again, none of these models feature the same off-road gadgetry as the Velar, making the newest member of the Range Rover family not only a pretty face, but also a skilled off-roader.