Land Rover has unveiled the fourth member of the Range Rover family – the mid-size Velar – ahead of this month’s Geneva Motor Show.
Slotting nicely between the Evoque and Range Rover Sport in the Range Rover, erm, range, the Velar takes its name from the Latin word for ‘veil’, such was the level of secrecy shrouding the car’s development. The name has deeper, more established links to the brand, acting as the label for the original Range Rover prototypes from 1969.
However, this is all background stuff we told you last week; what have we learnt now that Land Rover has revealed all?
The Velar’s engine offering will comprise four diesels and two petrol units from launch.
At the base of the range is a two-litre Ingenium petrol with 247bhp; a version of this engine with 296bhp will join it by the end of the year. Diesel drivers get to choose from a pair of two-litre, four-cylinder Ingenium units with 178bhp or 237bhp.
Topping the range are a couple of V6 units – a 296bhp diesel and a supercharged 375bhp petrol that can get the Velar up to 60mph in 5.3 seconds. In contrast, the entry-level diesel will be the most efficient model in the Velar range, with CO2 emissions of 142g/km.
Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) arm will eventually be allowed to have its wicked way with the Velar too.
There’s no mistaking the Velar as a Range Rover sibling to the point and, if you wanted to be pithy, you could summarise the car’s look as ‘a stretched-out Evoque’.
Land Rover describes the Velar’s design as ‘beautifully balanced’ and says this ‘generous wheelbase’ adds to its elegance and helps shape a more spacious interior.
With a low drag coefficient of just 0.32, it is the most aerodynamic Land Rover ever produced, while the full-LED headlights are the most slender to appear on a production Land Rover yet. The pop-out door handles capture the Velar’s reductive approach perfectly too.
With the interior, you can expect the same level of luxury synonymous with the Land Rover brand. Seats are covered in Windsor leather and premium textiles, while a cut diamond motif forms an integral part of the stainless steel speaker frets’ structure on the Meridian 17- and 23-speaker audio systems.
Standard models come with suedecloth and luxtec upholstery, while S and SE models get high-quality perforated grained leather. Top-spec HSE models get the luxuriously soft perforated Windsor leather, which floods out to the instrument panel and door casings.
The cabin debuts JLR’s new Touch Pro Duo system, which consists of two 10-inch hi-res touchscreens. The menu in the upper touchscreen is divided into three panels (dedicated to navigation, media and phone) and operating the system is said to be as intuitive as using a tablet or a smartphone: swiping across the screen to change between menus, pinching to zoom etc.
A Land Rover is nothing if you can’t hurl luggage into the boot without a care and with 632 litres of boot space, that is certainly the case here.
On the road
The Velar has been described by its chief designer as “the most car-like Range Rover we done so far, but just as capable”.
Saying a car is ‘car-like’ feels a bit ‘well duh’, but what he’s getting at is how much attention has gone into refining ride comfort and about-town handling.
The Velar features a sophisticated all-wheel drive system, class-leading ground clearance of up to 251mm (213mm with coil springs), a segment-best wading depth of up to 650mm (600mm with coil springs) and four-corner air suspension on the range-topping diesel and petrol engines.
Its electric power-assisted steering system has been developed for exceptional driver feedback, precision and feel, while optimised friction and inertia compensation algorithms ensure completely intuitive steering responses. The driver benefits from greater responsiveness the more they turn the wheel, thanks to the variable-ratio system.
Prices for the Velar will start from £44,830 on-the-road when it goes on sale this July.
That makes it more expensive than the Jaguar F-Pace, but about the same as Porsche’s Macan and cheaper than the Mercedes-Benz GLE and BMW’s X6.
The most expensive Velar is almost twice the price as the entry-level model though, with the First Edition 3.0L P380 costing £85,450.