“Not yet another new Range Rover” cried all the die-hard Land Rover fans. “Where’s the new Defender?” was the other cry. And I’ll admit, when the first press release of the Velar dropped, I too wondered if there was room for it. We’ll the folks at JLR are clearly better at judging customer requirements than a lowly writer. It has a space and it fills it well.
Sitting in the range between the Evoque and the Sport, it fills a gap I didn’t know existed. With prices starting at £44,830 OTR, it’s offering a lot of luxury for the money. Like its smaller stablemate the Evoque, it’s a Range Rover through and through, the DNA is unmistakable. I took one for a Flash Drive and I was impressed (not that hard a challenge I’ll admit). From the smartphone-esq control panels internally, to the Tesla/Aston style pop-out door handles, it’s a style dream.
Now I could go on about the levels of comfort and luxury that the Velar encompasses but, it’s a Range Rover so for a quick drive, the comfort goes without saying. It’s a clever car though. From the Autonomous Emergency Braking and Lane Departure Warning systems we’re becoming familiar with, to the Driver Condition Monitoring that monitors all the driver’s movements and actions to determine if they have become drowsy and, when it detects this, a coffee cup symbol appears on the instrument cluster to try and nudge the driver into taking a much needed break.
Personally I’m a big fan of the 360 degree parking aid, driving as many different vehicles, as often as I do, it’s nice to see all around a new vehicle to park safely and not have to report a scrape to the Press Office!
It’s a Range Rover descendant so naturally it’s more than capable off road and will handle more than pretty much any owner will ever throw at it. On road it’s refined, smooth and glides through the lanes and cruises on the motorway with the grace of a dancer. The D240 Ingenium diesel engine as tested is a serious bit of kit. If pushing out 240hp from a 2.0 engine is impressive, then the 500Nm of torque is amazing and, it’ll still average over 48mpg! All Velars, regardless of the engine, come with an 8 speed auto box from one of two variants and then mapped to the specific engine to ensure fuel efficiency and a rewarding drive.
All in all the Velar is a great car. No it’s not as cheap as some 4×4 competitors but it is a Range Rover and that goes a long way. If you’re looking for something that’s a bit bigger than the very popular Evoque, without the expense or expanse of a Sport, then a Velar will be just the cup of tea you need. To be honest, I’m surprised it doesn’t make one for you!