The new Range Rover Velar is dripping with class
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You couldn't possibly mistake this svelte looking thing for anything other than a Range Rover. The rounded nose, grill detailing, and an interior a family of four could probably live in are testament to that.
But this is the Velar, a new model for the British brand. And it's got at least a couple of aces up its sleeve.
Released this morning ahead of the Geneva Motor Show, the Velar slots in with military precision between the Evoque and the Range Rover Sport — looking a bit like a Sport souffle that was left in the oven slightly longer than the rest.
But according to the manufacturer's press release, the Velar is “a new type of Range Rover for a new type of customer.” Indeed, it's the brand's first foray into the mid-size SUV segment, but there's more to it than that.
One of the Velar's biggest draw cards is technology. The interior is highlighted by a pair of 10" touch screens that house infotainment and settings controls packaged into Range Rover's new Touch Pro Duo system. An Intel quad core processor, high-speed 60GB solid-state drive, 4G, real-time traffic information and ultra-fast Ethernet network all feature here.
So too does swipe and pinch recognition, for those who are comfortable looking like they're conducting a miniature orchestra with one hand while driving.
But the single coolest gizmo on the Velar simply has to be be the flush door handles. They retract into the car's bodywork when it's locked or travelling upwards of 5kph, so now you too can look a little like 007 in the Westfield parking lot.
The Velar comes with six different engine options spread across petrol and diesel. Three four-cylinder options — two diesels and one petrol — kick off the range, with the most powerful diesel and petrol options boasting 176kW and 184kW respectfully. Then you get into the V6 engines — one diesel and one a supercharged petrol.
Both of these are pretty impressive power plants on paper. The V6 diesel has 700Nm of torque, while the supercharged petrol — the most powerful engine in the range at 279kW — can hurl the SUV to 100kph in just 5.7 seconds. The sixth engine, a more powerful four banger, is expected later this year.
While it will no doubt look at home rolling around the suburbs of the North Shore, the Velar will also have the guts to tough it out in challenging terrain. With a towing capacity of 2.5 tonnes, approach and departure angles of more than 28 degrees, a wading depth of 650mm, it would be no slouch on a weekend get away to the bush.
And that technology talking point also comes into relevance here as well. Range Rover's Adaptive Dynamics system is standard across the range, while air suspension and the Terrain Response 2 system on the fancier models further aids off-road capabilities.
Kiwis should expect to see their first Velar's later this year, though pricing information is yet to be announced.