Range Rover Velar
The Range Rover Velar is a beautifully designed vehicle that has already been dubbed the world’s most beautiful car. It boasts elegant styling, a raft of of-board technology and all the exhilarating driving dynamics and outstanding off-road capabilities associated with the Land Rover marque.
The goodDesign, technology, driving dynamics and off-road capabilities
The badNo Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
Land Rover Range Rover Velar 2.0L HSE
Few test cars that I’ve had the privilege of driving over the years have attracted as much attention as the all-new Range Rover Velar. In fairness, it looks stunning from every angle and has already scooped an award for being the best-looking car on the planet. But, when I told admirers it was a ‘Velar’ I was met with some very blank expressions.
As I began the explanation that it was the new Range Rover that plugged the gap between the incredibly successful Evoque and muscular Sport models the penny began to drop but judging by the quality of the car it should be a name that is instantly recognisable. Maybe that will simply take time.
In fact, the Velar name is not entirely new – it goes back to the 1960s when it was the codename for the original prototype Range Rover model, but the new Velar, which is based on the aluminium platform of the F-Pace, is as modern as they come.
The Range Rover Velar is guaranteed to stop on-lookers dead in their tracks thanks to its sporty profile complete with rakish roofline, sloping grille, 21-inch gloss black finish wheels, Matrix LED headlights with signature daytime running lights, panoramic sunroof, privacy glass and, in my case, Aruba Gold paintwork with black roof.
There appears to be a complete lack of door handles until you unlock the car and they slide out from the body in one ultra-smooth movement. These handles feature subtle illumination and retract back into the doors again when the car is locked or being driven at speeds above 5mph.
Take your seat inside the beautifully-designed cabin and it’s impossible not to be wowed by the modern interior with touchscreens and smooth surfaces galore along with a wealth of on-board technology to explore.
There is a Touch Pro Duo system that introduces a pair of 10-inch touchscreens which burst into life when the ignition is turned on and it’s from these screens that all the car’s systems, set-ups and infotainment functions are accessed. The top screen controls the likes of the sat nav, sound system and telephone while the lower screen, along with a couple of dials, is where you will access features such as the heating and terrain response system. Both screens are really simple to use and look amazing. It’s like taking your seat on a modern-day Starship Enterprise! On the downside, there is a lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which is a bit of a surprise, but mobile phones can be connected via the USB ports and Bluetooth.
Comfort levels within the car are sublime and there is ample room in the back for three adults to travel in comfort. The sloping roof design of the Velar does mean the rear headroom may be a little restricted, but only for passengers well over six feet in height. Up front, the driver and passenger are treated to seats that boast 20-way power adjustment, can be heated or cooled and even offer massage functions. I particularly liked the way the heater and cooler controls could be applied to either the seat section, the back-rest or both combined.
When it comes to practicality and storage, the range Rover Velar has a boot capacity ranging from 558 litres to an impressive 1,731 litres with the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat and there are numerous other storage compartments scattered throughout the car.
The Velar HSE test car, priced at £65,060 (£70,885 with options fitted), was powered by a 2.0-litre 300hp petrol engine and it could sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 6.0 seconds, topped out at 145mph and, according to official figures, can achieve combined fuel economy of 36.2mpg with carbon emissions of 178g/km.
When it comes to driving dynamics and performance, the Range Rover Velar is an absolute corker. The acceleration through the automatic 8-speed transmission is beautifully smooth and there are steering wheel mounted paddles if you fancy dabbling with the gear switches yourself. In busy town centres the all-round visibility is good thank to the elevated driving position, and despite its dimensions, the car is actually quite nimble and easy to manoeuvre.
Then out on the open road, the Range Rover Velar really bursts into action. The road-holding is confident and assured with minimal body roll even when pushed hard into bends. The steering is fine-tuned with ample driver feedback and the suspension successfully irons out any bumps and dips along the way. Very little engine, road surface or wind noise filters through into the cabin, but if it does, simply crank up the volume on the 16-speaker Meridian surround sound music system and all is forgiven.
Although we didn’t venture away from the Tarmac on this occasion, the Velar does feature Land Rover’s accomplished Terrain Response system along with a generous list of safety features and driver aids, so it certainly won’t be fazed by any sudden changes to the weather patterns.
All in all, the Range Rover Velar is a fabulous piece of kit. It looks gorgeous, is packed to bursting with technology, offers excellent levels of comfort and drives beautifully. Surely, it’s simply just a matter of time before the Velar name is as familiar to us all as that of the Evoque.