Range Rover Velar 2017 preview
Potentially the must have premium SUV of 2017. The Velar sits between the Range Rovers Evoque and Sport and yet looks more stylish than either of them. The Velar name, incidentally, comes from the Italian word, velare, meaning to cover or veil and it was in fact applied to prototype versions of the original Range Rover. That's about the only thing retro about the new car, however.
What will its rivals be?
While the Velar appears to straddle two categories, it's clearly aimed at the upper end of the segment that includes the like of the Audi Q5, BMW X3/X4, Mercedes GLC and Lexus NX. Of course, there are also in-house rivals in the shape of the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Jaguar F-Pace. The number one target, though, must be the Porsche Macan.
Any tech info?
Land Rover talks a lot about the chassis technology of the Velar, using its off-roading heritage to give the new car some credibility, but there's no doubt that this is one SUV destined to remain mostly on terra firma. Hence, adaptive damping is standard on all cars and air suspension is included on the six-cylinder versions. Nonetheless, tick the right boxes and your Velar can have the latest in off-roading technology, such as Terrain Response 2, All Terrain Progress Control, Low Traction Launch, Hill Descent Control and Gradient Release Control.
Two big talking points for the interior. One, new car buyers that are uncomfortable with having cow hide plastered all over their vehicles' interiors can specify a man-made alternative for the Velar. Likely to grab more attention, however, is the gorgeous new Touch Pro Duo infotainment system. It is made up of two 10-inch touchscreens with black panel displays and highly contemporary design. The rest of the cabin appears to be made of high-quality materials, too.
What will the range be like?
The line-up isn't difficult to understand, as all Velars use an eight-speed automatic transmission sending power to all four wheels. There will be six models offered, denoted by their power outputs and fuel. So, the P250 and P300 are petrol-fuelled models powered by different versions of a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and no prizes for guessing their power outputs… Topping the line-up is a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine, producing 380hp in the P380.
Naturally, Irish buyers are likely to be more interested in the diesels. The entry-level variant is the D180, while there's also a twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel engine in the D240. At the top of the diesel range will be the V6-engined D300.
The Velar could be the ideal model for Irish Range Rover fans, assuming the economy remains buoyant. It looks sleeker and is better suited to the urban lifestyle that most owners of such vehicles have than its bigger brothers, while offering more space and prestige than the Evoque below. The pricing is likely to mean the Velar won't be too common a sight, but that'll suit its buyers just fine.