Automotive

Range Rover Velar walks a tricky tightrope

Range Rover Velar walks a tric...
The new Range Rover Velar is set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show
The new Range Rover Velar is set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show
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Behind the wheel of the new Range Rover Velar
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Behind the wheel of the new Range Rover Velar
The materials in the Velar can be chosen with the environment in mind
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The materials in the Velar can be chosen with the environment in mind
The Range Rover Velar debuts a new dual-screen infotainment system
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The Range Rover Velar debuts a new dual-screen infotainment system
Rear seat passengers are treated to lots of light in the Range Rover Velar
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Rear seat passengers are treated to lots of light in the Range Rover Velar
The Range Rover Velar slots in between the Evoque and Range Rover Sport
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The Range Rover Velar slots in between the Evoque and Range Rover Sport
Wheels up to 22-inches are optional on the Range Rover Velar
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Wheels up to 22-inches are optional on the Range Rover Velar
The Range Rover Velar has a big boot, in spite of its sloping roof
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The Range Rover Velar has a big boot, in spite of its sloping roof
A huge range of engines is available on the Range Rover Velar
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A huge range of engines is available on the Range Rover Velar
The nose of the Velar blends Range Rover Sport with Evoque elegantly
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The nose of the Velar blends Range Rover Sport with Evoque elegantly
The devil is in the detail on the Range Rover Velar
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The devil is in the detail on the Range Rover Velar
The Range Rover Velar is smaller than a Range Rover but bigger than an Evoque
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The Range Rover Velar is smaller than a Range Rover but bigger than an Evoque
There are a huge range of exterior colors and wheels available on the Range Rover Velar
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There are a huge range of exterior colors and wheels available on the Range Rover Velar
One of the little detail touches on the Range Rover Velar
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One of the little detail touches on the Range Rover Velar
Land Rover is trying to improve its quality, and it shows with little touches like this on the Range Rover Velar
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Land Rover is trying to improve its quality, and it shows with little touches like this on the Range Rover Velar
The Range Rover Velar needs to work in the city and off-road
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The Range Rover Velar needs to work in the city and off-road
The two-screen infotainment setup in the Range Rover Velar is new for Land Rover
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The two-screen infotainment setup in the Range Rover Velar is new for Land Rover
The Range Rover Velar certainly has a handsome profile
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The Range Rover Velar certainly has a handsome profile
Two of the possible ways of speccing a Velar
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Two of the possible ways of speccing a Velar
The Velar will go head-to-head with the Porsche Macan
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The Velar will go head-to-head with the Porsche Macan
The door handles on the Velar sit flush
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The door handles on the Velar sit flush
The classic Land Rover grille is present and correct on the Velar
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The classic Land Rover grille is present and correct on the Velar
Details on the Range Rover Velar
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Details on the Range Rover Velar
Fitted with a six-cylinder petrol or diesel, the Range Rover Velar is properly quick
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Fitted with a six-cylinder petrol or diesel, the Range Rover Velar is properly quick
Details on the Range Rover Velar
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Details on the Range Rover Velar
The Velar is a midsize SUV to take on the Porsche Macan
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The Velar is a midsize SUV to take on the Porsche Macan
The interior of the Velar is a mix of modern, sustainable materials and classic luxurious touches
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The interior of the Velar is a mix of modern, sustainable materials and classic luxurious touches
Behind the wheel of the Range Rover Velar
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Behind the wheel of the Range Rover Velar
The Range Rover Velar will be on show in Geneva
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The Range Rover Velar will be on show in Geneva
The Range Rover Velar needs to work as a road car and an off-roader
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The Range Rover Velar needs to work as a road car and an off-roader
Land Rover puts the Range Rover Velar through its paces
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Land Rover puts the Range Rover Velar through its paces
The Range Rover Velar is unlikely to see much time off-road, but it should be able to handle the heat
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The Range Rover Velar is unlikely to see much time off-road, but it should be able to handle the heat
The new Range Rover Velar is set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show
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The new Range Rover Velar is set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show
The Range Rover Velar will start at $55,000
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The Range Rover Velar will start at $55,000
The new Range Rover Velar has flush extending door handles
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The new Range Rover Velar has flush extending door handles
The new Range Rover Velar
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The new Range Rover Velar
The new Range Rover Velar gets down and dirty off-road
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The new Range Rover Velar gets down and dirty off-road
The Range Rover Velar
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The Range Rover Velar
The Range Rover Velar
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The Range Rover Velar

Luxury four-wheel drives are everywhere today, but the concept was unheard of when the first Range Rover landed 47 years ago. Now, the badge is being applied to a new type of off-roader for the first time: a mid-sized Range Rover. The Velar is not only achingly pretty, but promises to walk the line between on-road luxury and off-road competency like a true Range Rover.

As a Range Rover, the Velar needs to walk one of the toughest tightropes in motoring. Not only does it need to work as a posh luxury commuter, owners also demand their cars be able to deal with almost any terrain. Add in stiff competition from the Porsche Macan, and it's clear the latest high-riding member of the Jaguar Land Rover family needs to be seriously good.

It certainly looks good, blending the bluff shape of a full-size Range Rover with the edgier detailing of an Evoque to great effect. All the brand's design cues, from clamshell bonnet to floating roof, are present and correct, but it also looks unique. That's not an easy thing to achieve. There is plenty of potential for customization if you're not a fan of the basic look, too, with a huge color palette and eight wheel designs ranging from 18- to 22-inches making the options list.

The two-screen infotainment setup in the Range Rover Velar is new for Land Rover
The two-screen infotainment setup in the Range Rover Velar is new for Land Rover

On the inside, it's all about tech. Cars from the Jaguar Land Rover umbrella have traditionally lagged behind their rivals in the tech stakes, with poorly designed infotainment systems and last-generation graphics an all too common occurrence.

That appears to be a thing of the past in the Velar, which debuts a new dual-screen center console design. Made up of two 10-inch touchscreens, the Touch Pro Duo system frees up space on top of the transmission tunnel for all the cup holders and storage cubbies demanded by the modern buyer. It also looks cool, although we'll reserve final judgement until we've had a proper play with the new system.

All the materials look to be of a high quality, while eco-warriors will be pleased to know the optional Premium Textile seat trim is made from recycled plastic bottles, which is apparently soft to the touch and meets the same stringent quality/durability standards as leather. We'd suggest pairing it with the open-pore wood. Sure, that might undermine the whole eco-focus of the seats, but it's also the prettiest dashboard trim on offer.

With a whopping 632-liters (22.3-cu ft) of boot space with the seats upright, the sloping roofline doesn't appear to have impacted on practicality too much, although it can't match the larger Range Rover and Land Rover Discovery for outright load-hauling capability. All the door pockets have space for a large water bottle, and there are plenty of USB ports to keep the kids fully charged on long road trips – although the optional dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system can take care of that as well.

Behind the wheel of the Range Rover Velar
Behind the wheel of the Range Rover Velar

Power will come from a huge range of engines, but the real showstoppers are the turbocharged V6 diesel and supercharged petrol V6. The diesel makes 298 hp (222 kW) of power and a monstrous 700 Nm of torque, good for a 60 mph (98 km/h) sprint of just 6.1 seconds. Look out Golf GTI drivers, this diesel four-wheel drive has you covered. In spite of its impressive performance, the diesel returns 44.1 mpg (6.4 l/100km) on the combined cycle.

Meanwhile, the supercharged petrol engine pumps out 377 hp (281 kW) and 450 Nm of torque, good for a zero to 60 mph time of 5.2 seconds. Although it's quicker in a straight line, we'd be avoiding the petrol in favour of that torquey diesel. Not only will it be quicker in-gear, the supercharged V6 can only manage 30.1 mpg (9.4 l/100km) on the combined cycle. The full range of engines is matched up with the ubiquitous ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Land Rover has put a great deal of work into ensuring the Velar doesn't topple over at the first sight of a corner, with a clever integral link rear suspension setup working with double wishbones at the front to deliver a sharp, sporty experience. This car is aimed squarely at the Porsche Macan, and it'll need to be a sharp steer to compete. Although we can't pass judgement yet, an abundance of aluminum in the chassis bodes well, as does a (supposedly) stiff bodyshell.

Wheels up to 22-inches are optional on the Range Rover Velar
Wheels up to 22-inches are optional on the Range Rover Velar

Pricing for the Velar will start at £44,830 (US$55,000) but the more powerful six-cylinder models stretch the sticker to a whopping £72,630 (US$89,200) before options. That's not cheap, but given how good the car looks, we have no doubt plenty will find a home. The car will be on display at the Geneva Motor Show, where New Atlas will be on the ground covering the action.

Source: Land Rover

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