The Range Rover Velar is definitely one for the A-listers, but far away from the bright lights I had the opportunity to drive this new model which fits in between the Evoque and the Sport- in rural Yorkshire.
Make no mistake, this is a luxury vehicle with high levels of refinement, elegance and is packed with technology.
Almost fifty years have passed since the launch of the original Range Rover; the Velar is the fourth member of the family.
Despite my driving experience over roads akin to our own here in Ireland, the Velar looks its very best in an urban environment; it’s the sort of vehicle you would expect to see taking celebs to film premières.
However I do not want to create the wrong impression- I would be happy to be in charge of the Velar no matter what. To date this is one of the most desirable models to wear the Range Rover badge and in my book it all comes down to luxury and I suppose you could describe it as royalty in the SUV world.
The version I tried was the HSE D240 automatic with an Indus Silver exterior riding on chunky twenty one inch split spoke alloys, which surprisingly did not deliver a bumpy ride.
By the way this particular exterior paint finish comes at a premium- £725, (€ 818.) Often the case with high end models the option list is as long as your arm. Other options on the model tested; electronic air suspension, electronic deployable tow bar, head up display and a full size spare wheel, this lot adding a further £3,405, (€3,841) to the final tally of £67,565, (€76,228). N.I. In the R.O.I. the Velar starts at €62,240.
Continuing Range Rover’s history of innovation, the Velar incorporates advanced technologies, compelling design and absolute attention to detail. State-of-the-art Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, super-slim matrix-laser LED headlights, flush deployable door handles and Burnished Copper-coloured detailing embody the design zeitgeist of tomorrow.
I was surprised to discover that I was in command of a vehicle of generous proportions, yet under the bonnet there was just a two litre diesel engine married to a very impressive eight speed automatic transmission. The result in performance terms is rest to 62mph (100kph) in 6.8 seconds and a top speed of 135mph, (217kph).
In total you have six engines to select from, ranging from the clean, responsive 180bhp two litre Ingenium diesel with CO2 emissions from only 142g/km, to the potent 380bhp supercharged three litre V6 petrol engine. The most powerful version, the P300, is rated at 300bhp, making it the most powerful four-cylinder engine ever used in a Land Rover vehicle. It generates a maximum torque of 400Nm, delivering exceptional response at all times.
Despite its glam styling, the Velar and its superb all wheel drive system shares with the rest of the Range Rover family the capability to tackle the rough; it would not be worthy to carry the RR badge if it failed in this respect. All the refinement customers expect together with Land Rover’s unrivalled capability on every terrain around the world.
On the road, I could not disagree with Range Rover’s claims re comfort, however on the handling front I was less confident. I did encounter a level of body roll; the roads I used were challenging, as stated earlier I could have been driving in Donegal or Down. The Velar was recently judged the most beautifully designed vehicle on the planet, winning the World Car Design of the Year title at the 2018 World Car Awards.
The final words to Gerry McGovern, Chief Design Officer, Land Rover,” The continued evolution of our design philosophy is driven by a relentless focus on creating highly desirable vehicles our customers will love for life.”
The Velar brings a new dimension of modernity to the Range Rover family with an abundance of innovative technologies, all making this vehicle a joy both to drive and be driven in.