It’s not every day we get a new Range Rover. Those two words command the respect of everyone from mud-soaked farmers to WAGs, such is their ability to express raw diligence and effortless glam – something most cars can only dream of.
Recent research found that Premier League footballers are more likely to own an Evoque compact SUV than any other car.
However, that could soon change with the arrival of the Velar, which plugs the gap in the range between the Evoque and the Range Rover Sport – many actually compared the car to a stretched out Evoque when it was revealed back in March.
But is it any good? The British motoring press recently got behind the wheel to find out and we’ve scoured all the opinions that matter to give you a balanced picture of its pros and cons.
There are many elements that are common across the Range Rover family, including similar profiles, shared front-ends and carried-over headlights.
That doesn’t bother Auto Express though, who complimented the Velar’s “clean and uncluttered style”. They particularly liked the subtle detailing, notably the crease line that runs from the front light to the back through the elongated side vents.
It’s little things like this that have cemented design director Gerry McGovern’s status as a master of minimalist car design, AE reckoned.
Writing for the Telegraph, Andrew English agreed that the Velar was “intriguing and handsome”, carrying the stamp of the Jeep Wagoneer – the first-ever SUV from the 1960s.
Car Magazine appreciated the Velar’s “simple shape” too, hailing it “one of the cleanest, tightest, most cohesive designs on the road today” that is perhaps too slick for its own good, making everything else in the Range Rover line-up “look dated”.
Inside, the Velar is just as much of a treat, Car Mag goes on, with a panoramic sunroof lending the cabin a bright airy feel. The dashboard continues the reductive ethos despite integrating a pair of well-honed 10-inch colour touchscreens.
Leather upholstery is a given, but the Velar introduces a new textile made from a tough wool blend too, creating an immediately warm Scandinavian comfort.
On the road
Land Rover has been shouting for the rooftops how the Velar is the “most car-like” Range Rover yet without compromising off-roading capability and it seems to have won over the critics.
The Velar’s engine range comprises three diesels and three petrols, as well as a tasty range-topping 375bhp supercharged V6 – lifted straight out of the F-Type – that’s good for 0-60mph in 5.3 seconds.
Driving the top three-litre V6 turbodiesel, Car Magazine said the Velar made for an effortless drive and came across as “a long-distance GT dressed as an SUV”. They noted how it “cruises fast and clean”, doing track straights brilliantly and confidently. “It’s built for devouring distances,” they added.
Pin-sharp handling has never been a strong point for Range Rovers and the Velar doesn’t change that, What Car? adds. Regardless, the Telegraph described steering as “light but accurate” and ride comfort as “outstanding”.
Car Magazine’s Mark Walton didn’t “just like it”, he “absolutely love it”, reserving particular affection for its ability to combine Range Rover’s “adventurous, go-anywhere connotations with the sleek, long-distance confidence of a German supersaloon”. Five stars from Mark.
Auto Express’ Steve Fowler gifted it four, hailing the “super-stylish” Velar as “one of the most desirable SUVs you can buy”.
What Car? also dished out four stars and despite complimenting its styling and refinement, reckoned its rivals had better finishing and were more practical.
So it looks like the fourth member of the Range Rover family is a winner. Would you like to see the new Velar on your driveway? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section.