Few things come along so fast in life as Jaguar Land-Rover new model launches. We get to grips with the new Velar in 240PS 2.0 Ingenium diesel form…
The Velar… funny one really in my opinion. When the images first came through I like many others thought: whats the real point. Certainly if you look at other models such as Discovery and Range Rover Sport, size wise there isn’t a huge amount of difference in terms of the ground space occupied by any of them. But then Land Rover offer something different to Range Rover in terms of image and typical customer profile. So in terms of branding… there is a significant difference right away.
My mind changed about the Velar when I first had a decent drive of one last year at an SMMT drive event. I shared the car with another writer and barely a mile up the road we both thought: oh… this is rather nice – another pair of attitudes changed right away. Velar is one of those few cars you walk around and around long before you plip the unlock button and clamber inside. She’s a pretty looking thing – its a case of Honey I shrank the Rangie and I think it looks prettier than the good looking Range Rover Sport.
Styling is always an opinionated topic so for the record, purely on a personal level, I think the Velar is one of the most well proportioned and elegantly styled premium cars around
Now that’s a good thing and pricing wise it slots in nicely between the Evoque and Range Rover Sport. Styling is always an opinionated topic so for the record, purely on a personal level, I think the Velar is one of the most well proportioned and elegantly styled premium cars around. That wasn’t my opinion when first looking at the images but it sure as hell was after that all important tangible first contact moment. If you are a fan of the brand… it will make you stop and stare when you bump into one.
There are lots of dark tinted glass, styling touches and overall aesthetics to remind or subconsciously tell you this is a premium vehicle with a green oval heritage. Those huge slab sided doors along with most of the other panels are manufactured from aluminium – JLR possibly are the most experienced and skilled in this type of material too. The panel gaps are tight and consistent, the glass isn’t wavy as you you view closely at an angle and the paint finish, on the test car at least, was flawless and well applied.
Entering the cabin is not without event – in a good way I must mention. The flush fitting door handles eject outwards from the door skin in a smooth and almost silent manner akin a CD tray on a posh Hi-Fi system. This feature is one of my concerns – will they work properly in -20 weather conditions? I’m sure they have been tested to do so but equally and just as importantly they feel a little bit light weight in the hand. It was noted that the passenger front door handle didn’t quite line up in its aperture either when locked.
Cabin wise its certainly and unmistakably Range Rover. JLR have cleverly kept the look and feel that owners are accustomed to but the technology and application of the controls have moved on a level. The key point in fact is the display screen and touch sensitive buttons on the centre console. Its all piano black when switched off but when the ignition is turned on some very high definition images and virtual buttons come to life. Once accustomed too its easy to use – it all looks amazing in the dark as well.
Oddly enough though, there is no voice activated sat-nav nor is there Android Auto or Apple i-play. Crikey me… you get those features on a Vauxhall Corsa
Equipment levels are impressive – everything is there for this class of car including all the driver safety abbreviations imaginable, a wonderfully powerful and crystal clear audio system, LED adaptive beam lighting and heated / cooled and massaging front seats. Oddly enough though, there is no voice activated sat-nav nor is there Android Auto or Apple i-play. Crikey me… you get those features on a Vauxhall Corsa. The aforementioned is coming soon I hear but this is expected stuff these days.
Those gripes all soon fade into insignificance once you get underway. The i4D engine has its typical clattery voice at times but works amazingly well in such a large car. With 500NM of torque from a reasonably low 1500rpm the 2.0 Velar clips along really well in town or on the motorway. Its lack of wind or mechanical noise when cruising is really worth mentioning here and the comfort offered in the front seats is remarkable. Motorway fuel economy can be good too – a high of 48mpg was noted.
The Range Rover Velar represents a zenith that JLR engineers have achieved in recent years in terms of chassis development… it really is quite superb to drive
Pull away from the motorway and make a bee-line for a B road and the Velar pulls another ace card from its sleeve. With crisp steering and a controlled ride it swaps directions with a level of discipline bettering some saloon cars. The Range Rover Velar represents a zenith that JLR engineers have achieved in recent years in terms of chassis development. Even though the Velar shares its platform with the Jaguar E-Pace, you would never guess – it really is quite superb to drive.
Interior space is pretty much okay but taller folk or Dusty Springfield impersonators will find that sloping roof line robbing you of comfortable headroom. Have no worry about cargo space though or rooms for your nick-nacks like sweets and loose change. The trunk is a good size and you’ll find a variety of cubby holes up front – including a decent sized glovebox. The boot has a brownie-point winning 40:20:40 split rear seat facility making the Velar a practical car offering over 1700 litres of available space.
There wasn’t a great deal I didn’t like about the Velar. There’s still an element of must try harder in terms of build quality though. I noted the already mentioned squiffy door handle but also a poorly fitting column shroud behind the steering wheel that was really noticeable when you had half a lock applied. Am I being fussy? I don’t think so as this car wrestles in the same ring as the MLC, Q and X classes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz. So very little to put right in fairness.. but if done so would result in excellence for JLR.
All in all a fabulous car with a stunning look outside and a design led Hi-Tec interior that works just as well as it looks. Think of the Velar as being a sign of things to come for future products in terms of styling cues and presentation of technology and the company future looks very rosy indeed.
AUTOBRITANNIA.NET RATING – 8/10
THE HUMBLE OPINION
Drop dead gorgeous looks, superb road manners and a wonderful comfortable interior – what more do you need? The Velar is very much the shape of things to come in terms of dynamics and technology for the Range Rover brand.
Passengers commented on its smoothness and one or two favourable comments at the petrol station tell me JLR have got this pretty much spot on. You see a few on the roads these days and my dealer contact tells me its a very well received car which new owners simply adore.
A little required nip and tuck in build quality is my only concern but overall the Velar is a most enjoyable car to live with. It feels smaller to drive than it looks and those long journeys pass with so little effort – even in gruelling traffic.
Overall a very smart, sophisticated and rewarding package. One that makes you feel special too. All the right ingredients that this class of vehicle requires to succeed.
DONT pooh pooh it as pointless… try one before you come to a conclusion. I made the same error in judgement!
MODEL TESTED: Range Rover Velar HSE 2.0 D240
List Price: £64,160 excluding options
Engine: 2.0 JLR Group Ingenium diesel
Driveline: Electronic ZF 8 speed auto with terrain response system and permanent 4wd
Power: 240PS with 500Nm of torque
Performance: *0 – 60 in 6.8 seconds with 135mph top speed
Economy: *48.6mpg combined (42.2mpg on actual test)
Co2 Output: 152G/Km
* = Manufacturers or Govt claimed data
WHATS GREAT 🙂
- Beautiful styling
- Awesome interior presentation and technology
- Drives remarkably well
- Lovely refinement when cruising
- Good economy and emissions
- Well equipped
- Superb chassis, steering and road manners
WHAT GRATES 😦
- Still lags behind ze Germans in terms of outright build quality
- Badly needs modern media applications for the infotainment – but its coming!
- No voice activation control for Sat-Nav
- Rear headroom is tight
- Needs to be seen and driven to understand its relevance and place in the model range
For further information on the Velar or other Land Rover product CLICK HERE