Range Rover Velar: style meets substance
CAPE TOWN. – Range Rover is one of the world’s most famous motoring badges, and yet it’s only produced four models – the latest being the Velar. Sitting in the line-up between Evoque and Sport, the newcomer shares a platform with the Jaguar F-Pace, which might hint at its driving character.
First and foremost though, the Velar appears to be about design above all else. The exterior is purposefully minimalist, with narrow apertures for the lights, the grille and the glasshouse, and recessed door handles that pop open when unlocked. It’s an undoubtedly attractive machine, and at the same time, unmistakably Range Rover.
The interior delivers on everything required to be part of the luxury SUV set – and more. A combination of top quality leather, plastics and aluminium are combined in a stylish yet functional layout that delivers top comfort.
In the centre stack, a new dual multifunction touch-screen set-up simultaneously controls almost all the car’s functions and eliminates the need for switchgear of any kind. It’s a well executed system (even though it does take some getting used to) that adds another layer of sophistication.
On launch in the Cape, we drove the P380 R-Dynamic, powered by a 280 kW/450 Nm supercharged 3,0-litre V6. It’s strong enough to push the 1,8 ton Velar from 0-100 km/h in just 5,7 seconds and on to a limited top speed of 250km/h.
The eight-speed automatic gearbox works well under normal circumstances, but doesn’t always feel as enthusiastic as the rest of the set-up. Dynamically, the Velar manages its bulk well, delivering confident handling and dealing with changes in direction with relative ease, thanks in part to sharp steering.
Like all Range Rovers, the Velar is meant to cope with all-terrain conditions as easily as its Land Rover brethren, but given the stylish SUV’s lifestyle and luxury focus, we can’t see too may owners opting for anything worse than mild gravel roads.
The Velar is also available with two versions of the Ingenium 2.0 four-cylinder twin-scroll turbo petrol motor (184 kW/221 kW) and two Ingenium 2.0 four-cylinder variable-geometry turb diesel engines (132kW / 177kW). A 221 kW 3.0 V6 turbodiesel is also available. Pricing ranges from R947 700 to R1 539 800.
Look out for our full video review of the Range Rover Velar soon! – SPIKE BALLANTINE