Range Rover Casts a Wider Sales Net With Its Midsized Velar SUV
Eager to fill a price gap in its Range Rover lineup, Land Rover has come out with a new midsize offering — the Velar. Positioned between the smaller Evoque and larger Range Rover Sport, the Velar is a tasteful and subdued example of automotive opulence. While it’s best to reserve final judgement until after fully experiencing a model, the design both inside and out represents something fresh, possibly signalling a new direction for Land Rover styling.
“Two high definition 10-inch touch-screens are your window into the world,” said Jaguar Land Rover’s director of connected car and future technology Peter Virk. “The connected infotainment system learns from you and anticipates your needs, serving you what you want, when you want it — but never intrudes letting you enjoy the drive, while it takes the stress out of daily life, like any good butler or digital personal assistant should.”
While he didn’t specify what the digital butler could do, I assume it will look good while doing it.
The minimalist design spills gently to the exterior, with flush door handles and a sleek, simple body design laden with copper finishes and carbon fiber. It doesn’t really look like an off-roader and, thanks to an aluminum platform shared with Jaguar’s F-Pace crossover, it probably doesn’t handle like one, either.
With a pre-destination price of $49,900 in the United States, the base Velar lacks some of the exceptional features JLR spends time touting, along with other absent niceties. After fiddling around on Land Rover’s website, I discovered it was incredibly easy to push the new crossover beyond $60,000, while the premium trim comes in at $90,000. While all trims come with the Touch Pro Duo console interface, there’s still plenty of wiggle room to take the Velar’s pricing away from the more affordable Evoque and place it squarely in the lap of the Range Rover Sport.
The Velar is not, however, ill equipped. The base model offers most of what you’d expect from a premium car, along with a host of traction-boosting gadgetry — varied terrain response and an electronic stability suite, for example. The price only begins to skyrocket after the addition of premium materials, power adjustable interior items, adaptive cruise control, parking assist, air suspension, Terrain Response 2, or an active rear locking differential.
Engine options further compound the financial burden. In North America, the base unit is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 247 horsepower. Swapping that for a claimed 180 hp 2.0-liter Ingenium diesel — listed as 177 hp on Land Rover’s website — tacks on a few grand, while the optional 3.0-liter supercharged V6 pushes the Velar to 380 hp (and its starting MSRP to $64,200).
[Images: Land Rover]
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