Range Rover Velar

The Range Rover Velar

20 January 2018

RANGE Rover’s hugely impressive new Velar has consolidated its position at the top of the premium SUV market with a five-star safety rating.

This makes the sleek mid-range SUV not only an enviable proposition in the style stakes but an outstandingly safe bet as family transport too.

The stylish newcomer, which slots between the Evoque and Range Rover Sport, is awarded top marks for adult, child and pedestrian protection from independent adjudicators Euro NCAP.

The semi-coupe shaped Velar features a comprehensive suite of safety systems, including Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection. This advanced technology can detect a collision risk with cars or pedestrians and automatically apply the brakes. The system was awarded maximum marks in the Pedestrian detection tests by Euro NCAP’s testers.

The strength of the vehicle also impressed the judges as it was rammed into solid barriers from a variety of directions.

After spending a week with a Velar it is not hard to see why this remarkable vehicle is already such a sales sensation, with a third of buyers opting for the most expensive HSE versions, 80 per cent of which are diesels, with 70 per cent being the sporty R-Dynamic body style.

A sleek five-seater, the Velar shares the same platform as the Jaguar F-Pace, but looks nothing like it, with a very distinctive boat-like rear end.

It is this combination of a very short front overhang and long tail that endows the Velar with such a uniquely nautical silhouette.

This helps it to strike a stunning stance in a sector of the market that is the most overcrowded of all, ranging from cheapies such as the Vauxhall Mokka and Nissan Qashqai all the way up to the Bentley Bentayga and forthcoming Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

There are other strong design features too, including very narrow linear headlamps, retracting door handles, recycled cloth-style interior fabrics and twin dashboard screens.

Acknowledging that the Velar will spend the majority of its time in the urban, rather than rural jungle it is lower and longer to create a svelte and sportier rather than ponderous appearance.

It is 4,803mm long with a generous 2874mm wheelbase to maximise interior space, with a width of 1,903mm and a height of 1,665mm.

This makes the newcomer 245mm lower than the Range Rover Sport.

Although there is permanent four wheel drive, there is no transfer box with the low mud-plugging ratios so beloved of country folk.

The wading depth is 650mm and the towing capacity is two and a half tonnes.

The vehicle is offered with a choice of five engines, including a two-litre diesel with outputs of 180bhp and 240bhp plus a 300bhp three-litre V6 diesel.

The Velar also heralds the arrival of the two-litre petrol turbo with outputs of 250bhp and 300bhp, plus a three-litre supercharged V6 with 380bhp on tap.

All versions use an eight-speed automatic gearbox, with the quickest off the mark boasting a 0-60mph time of just over five seconds, whilst CO2 emissions range from 142g/km to 214g/km.

In terms of kit, there are alloy wheels, powered tailgates, matrix LED headlights, a 12.3-inch screen, all-around parking and the usual suite of advanced driver aids such as automatic cruise control and auto parking.

My 240bhp two-litre diesel model achieved impressive economy of 50mpg, with sprightly acceleration to 60mph in 6.8 seconds, a top speed of 135mph and a respectable CO2 rating of 154g/km.

The price tag is a whopping £70,000 with several extras, which seems a huge amount, but as Land Rover will happily tell you, there is no shortage of takers.