Veni, Vidi, Velar
We first saw the Range Rover Velar at the Jaguar Landrover head office in Gaydon earlier this year where this new SUV was presented by lining up the Range Rover Evoque and the Range Rover Sport with a car size gap in-between – we had been quizzed about what might be being the day before and many fancible ideas came out – an electric Defender being my favourite!!! (love this idea) – light bulb moment – of course, an SUV to fill the gap between the “entry level” Range Rover and the “top of the range” Range Rover – the Range Rover Velar was driven into the gap and it fitted perfectly – you could see all the family genes, some new looks and perfect proportions to fill the gap. One could immediately see the progression through the range as well as the Velar’s potential to carve it’s own niche in the modern market place.
At that launch, we were not allowed to drive it; this came last week, in the amazing scenery of western Norway. And what a backdrop for the Velar.
So, technology, looks or how it drives first? How it drives, of course!!
We drove the 380 ps supercharged 3 litre V6 engine and what an engine; smooth power delivery through a 8 gear automatic gearbox. The Velar with this engine will do 0 -100 in 6.0 seconds! The Velar’s performance is a show stopper. There was a definite “waft” and when you tired of that, there was a sport mode and flappy paddles for manual shifts but, whilst these did not disappoint, there was no real need for them either. The auto gearbox managed the power output luxuriously, with a nice two gear down change on a spirited kick down and would you really buy this car to scream around in manual? If you did, it will do both. It was fast, faster than I expected. It is a big car, heavy but when the Velar got going, she was amazing, speed limits allowing (wow, the speed limits in Norway are low and heavily policed!). We were kept amused by accelerating up to the speed limit! It has all wheel drive with a variable bias. On starting or when the computers feel that it is needed the bias is to the front but as the velar gains momentum, the bias goes to the rear; on motorways, it could be 100% to the rear. The power can be 50/50 bias with 100% of the (considerable) torque going through the front – literally pulling the Velar up steep inclines. We put this to the test, driving up a 3km loose, shale track which followed the path of a ski lift. The Velar performed faultlessly, with me only really steering and making “wow” noises. At the top, we realised that we were told that we were going to drive back down using hill assist – wows changed to “can someone else drive?”!!! The settings were set and off we went – no problem! Again, the Velar did all the work and was incredible. The Velar is as good off road as it is on road and more importantly, as good as it’s predecessors, if not better.
The ride was phenomenal – the chassis and suspension are sheer quality and soaked up everything the road (and near vertical, muddy tracks!) surface threw at it. So much so that it was impossible to keep the speed down as you very quickly got to a speed exceeding the limit without realising; we were almost holding her back.
There is lots of data on the newness of the design that is all available on the internet, available should this be of interest. The Velar is developed by Jaguar Landrover from the drawing board, where the minimalistic design meets engineering function to produce a great looking, innovative car. I think it’ll be a big success.
The styling makes the car look beautiful. Jaguar Landrover have coined a phrase for the Velar; “modernity”. The Velar certainly looks modern. The lines are sleek, helped enormously by the classic, flowing Range Rover lines, the recessed door handles, the effect of the floating roof, the narrow headlights, the classy bronze accents and the large wheels. This really is a beautiful looking car. It may sound silly but I really like the grill. It finishes the velar off perfectly.
For me, the best bit was the interior – uncluttered, relaxing, everything close to hand and intuitive – the displays looked like smart phone displays so you feel immediately at home. Everything is thought of so that adjustments to the Velar’s settings and instruments is done with minimal loss of attention on what matters; driving. The switches on the steering wheel for the infotainment system were touch sensitive, everything you needed was heads up (even the sat nav could be set for heads up), the comfortable space for driver (and passenger). All very calming making this a car in which you could do very long distances. I drove the Velar for 4 hours on the first day and similar for the second day with no ill effects.
One nice touch for today’s world is the new interior material that can be fitted as an option. It is a premium textile material developed with a company called Kvadrat, Europe’s leading manufacturer of high quality textiles. This is a nice touch for those amongst us that have a bent towards sustainability.
So would I buy one; oh yes! If you’d like to buy one, pop down to Alfardan and book your test drive as soon as you can. You won’t be disappointed.