With the Los Angeles Auto Show rescheduled for May before its likely cancellation, manufacturers have been issuing bundled press releases for products that presumably would have been there had society bothered to maintain a shred of normalcy. On Wednesday, Land Rover announced a series of updates for the 2021 Range Rover Evoque, Range Rover Velar, and Discovery Sport. But improvements appear largely limited infotainment tweaks, save for the Velar’s upcoming hybrid powertrain.
North American customers may also be disappointed to learn that 2021 MY cars likely won’t arrive until after Christmas. The pandemic has placed Jaguar Land Rover behind schedule already and European officials are pushing for another extended lockdown over flu season. That’s enough for us to recommend you save any comically oversized red bows for next year because government health restrictions basically guarantee production slowdowns.
Arrogance (noun): the quality of being over-confident; synonyms: conceit, egotism, attitude of Range Rover Velar sales team.
That’s not trademark TTAC snark, either. Take it from Andy Goss, the company’s global sales operations director, who said its UK dealers were “probably a bit complacent” about the Velar and its chance for success.
I’m normally among the first to roll my eyes when automakers speak about “brand identity” and other such marketing claptrap, but when Land Rover employees speak of how the new Range Rover Velar fits in with the brand, it is hard to deny that they’re being accurate. Whatever it is – or isn’t – the Velar has a certain feel about it that only its stablemates share.
More on that later. First, an introduction. For those that don’t know, the Velar is meant to slot between the Evoque and the Range Rover/Range Rover Sport in the Range Rover lineup. It’s also meant to be a more-stylish alternative to the slightly gawky Land Rover Discovery.
The Velar sits in a weird space in the luxury SUV landscape. Its closest competitor may be the Porsche Macan, but the two don’t line up exactly in terms of performance. Jaguar’s F-Pace, which shares its platform with the Velar, plays the part of both sibling and rival, while the Audi Q5 is also in the conversation. But price, specs, and mission vary among these four – as well as others, such as the BMW X4 and the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class.
Land Rovers and Range Rovers are supposed to offer luxury, off-road capability, some on-road fun, and charming (and not-so-charming) British quirks. They’re also sometimes tarred with a reputation for spending more time in the shop than on the road.
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.
I speculated last month that the Velar’s teaser images might not be representative of the actual car, due in part to its ultra-modern-looking center console. However, that concept car interior stuck around, resulting in an incredibly spartan and contemporary cabin. It’s almost entirely devoid of buttons, replaced by minimalist design more elegant and clean than even what Tesla has on offer. Land Rover refers to the interior as a “calm sanctuary” for the Velar’s occupants. The majority of the contact points for non-essential functions occupy hidden-until-lit touch areas that, according to JLR, can be endlessly customized.
Land Rover has confirmed Velar as the name of Range Rover’s new luxury crossover, positioned to rival Porsche’s Macan.
While Velar sounds hand-picked to hang in the air and mimic the vowel placement of the Macan, Land Rover has used it before. According to the company, the name is derived from the original Range Rover prototypes from 1969, dubbed Velar as a way to disguise or veil them. Although why any vehicle before the Defender would need a secret working title is rather baffling when the company called almost every product it made before 1983 either “Range Rover” or “Land Rover” — sometimes tacking on a generational identifier, like “Series III.”
Still, any tieback you can make to your heritage is a win when it comes to marketing. Velar also fits Range Rover’s premium image and borderline sensual naming strategy that started with the Evoque. These are names that would work just as well being whispered by a model in a perfume advertisement; they just so happen to also be the names of two British sport utility vehicles.
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- 3SpeedAutomatic "...to make room for reality TV reruns..."What an insult!! Shows how far broadcast TV will stoop for a few extra bucks.I much appreciate Jay for keeping the "motor head" world alive in a Zoom society. However, maybe it's time for him to retire or semi-retire. There's enough material for him to do YouTube with most auto related companies willing to underwrite....but the number of shows would be at his own pace.I wish him well!!
- Gregtwelve I had an '88 Turbo Coupe with 5 spd bought used and really liked it. I loved the looks, it had decent power for the time and a nice interior. Unfortunately the head gasket went at around 60K miles. I repaired it myself and sold it.
- Mattwc1 I bought a Maverick specifically because I wanted utility and great fuel economy. My wife has a RAV4 hybrid that we really like. I think Toyota would print money with a smaller RAV4 based truck.
- Varezhka Dunno. Looking at Maverick and Santa Cruz, having the engine in the front of the driver and a crew cab layout will mean the rear bed will be about the same size as kei trucks. And it will still be more than 16ft long. I'd rather get a Tacoma and/or a Hilux at that point.If we actually want a small truck with usable bed, it will have to be cab over layout with standard cab like Toyota TownAce Truck. We already know how popular that would be, even without getting into federal safety requirements.
- SCE to AUX "Its militaristic, drab fortress presence, is some sort of reflection of the times."Very insightful comment in your excellent summary. The Cybertruck vs Hummer EV comparison tests will be enjoyable, sure to enflame their fans.