AS LONG as there’s room on the roads, manufacturers will keep churning out SUVs. This moth Land Rover reveals the new Range Rover Velar, a five-seat sporty SUV that squeezes in between the Evoque and Range Rover Sport and will go on sale in the UK this summer.
With a price starting at £44,830 and climbing to £85,450, the Velar may tempt drivers away from the BMW X4 and X6, the Mercedes GLC and GLE coupé and the Porsche Macan.
Based on the same platform as the Jaguar F-Pace, the Velar has a choice of four-cylinder and V6 petrol and diesel engines, as well as the go-anywhere four-wheel-drive hardware and software that the company claims allows its cars to venture places others can’t.
Its name was first used by Land Rover engineers working on the prototype of the original 1969 Range Rover. “Velar” evokes the Latin word for “to veil or cover”, although some wags have suggested it’s a term for the vinyl trim used to simulate leather covers in cars such as the Ford Capri.
As well as the entry-level version, there will be S, SE, HSE variants with and without the R-Dynamic trim. A First Edition, with the 3.0 V6 diesel or 3.0 V6 petrol will also be available, priced £83,350.
The engine range starts with a 2-litre four-cylinder diesel, which produces 178bhp, can return 52mpg and emits 142g/km of CO2. It accelerates from 0 to 62mph in 8.9 seconds.
A more powerful twin-turbo 2-litre diesel with 237hp returns 48mpg, emits 154g/km and can hits 62mph in 7.3 seconds.
The 2-litre four-cylinder petrol also comes in two states of tune, and gives the car its lowest weight (1,874kg). The first has 247bhp, returns 37mpg and emits 173g/km, while 0-62mph takes 6.7 seconds. Later this year Land Rover will launch a more potent 296bhp version.
The V6 diesel boasts 296bhp, can achieve 44mpg and emits 167g/km. It takes 6.5 seconds to get from standstill to 62mph.
For those who want serious performance from their Velar, a supercharged V6 petrol engine will be offered. It boasts 375bhp, but fuel economy falls to 30mpg and emissions are 214g/km. However, it can zip from 0 to 62mph in 5.7 seconds, says Land Rover.
All engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, featuring steering-wheel gearshift paddles.
As standard, the dashboard features a pair of 10in touchscreens, which are used to navigate the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system and, for the first time, the controls for Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 (see the accompanying video).
There’s also a 5in display between two analogue dials for the driver’s instruments — or, in high-spec cars, a 12in adaptive digital display.
As for practicality, there’s a 632-litre boot with 40:20:40 split, folding back seats, and Land Rover says the towing weight is 2,500kg, which is 1,000kg less than a Range Rover Sport can handle.
The car is built around an aluminium structure; standard suspension for four-cylinder Velars is steel coil springs, and the ground clearance is 213mm. The V6 motors get air suspension as standard; it’s an option on the higher-powered four-cylinder versions.
The Terrain Response system lets you adjust the car’s four-wheel-drive settings between Eco, Comfort, Grass-Gravel-Snow, Mud-Ruts, Sand and – in R-Dynamic models – a Dynamic mode. All Velars come with a torque vectoring system, which helps drivers maintain a line through a corner.
The optional All Terrain Progress Control has a partial self-driving system, which lets the driver hand over to the Velar unless the car is off road. It can be used between 2mph and 18mph.
A menu called 4x4i lets drivers watch for obstacles through front and rear cameras and displays the road’s angle of incline, how much torque is being sent to each axle, the articulation of the suspension and how deep any water is.
The Velar will be built at Land Rover’s Solihull plant. Stay tuned for our First Drive review, coming soon.