In 1970 Range Rover had only one model – who would have thought this would be the birth of the SUV? Now this type of vehicle is leading the sales charts. So what has captured people’s desire to be part of this lifestyle?
The continuously morphing and expanding requirements for the SUV from those original utilitarian farm machines to the most glamorous, sexy and quite stunning Velar seem never ending.
The Velar was introduced to the public late 2017 and finds itself in the model range above the compact Evoque yet below the Range Rover Sport. Officially known as a ‘mid-size’, they call the Velar, “The Avant Garde Range Rover”.
Most prominent features include higher levels of luxury closely followed by increased levels of performance – all in a design package which is striking.
In HSE trim you get a giant set of wheels and gorgeous LED headlights with the soon becoming ubiquitous rolling indicator lights a la top end Audi & Lexus.
The sleek body is almost devoid of any niggly warts which plagued vehicles from the 80’s and 90’s. The door handles retract when the car is locked or on the move – an excellent example of aesthetics and form taking precedence. Likewise the interior is a prime example of luxuriously modern minimalism.
Simplicity and elegance present themselves again in a clean and clear fashion with two large touch-screens and two rotary dials allowing virtually total control of all of the car’s cabin features. Much like the instinctive usability of Mr Jobs products, these screens operate in much the same way; swiping across, up and two fingered zooms.
Encasing these screens is an expanse of sustainable leather-like materials that signal a shift away from animal based products as consumers become more conscious about their choices.
Velar design guru Gerry McGovern puts it most effectively, stating “The whole world of luxury is becoming more sophisticated and people are looking for ways to reconcile the way we use the world to create these products, things like fabrics that are more sustainable and have a better sustainable footprint.”
Now, feeling better about my test drive selection that softly caresses Mother Nature, we look to how the Velar moves on the road (and off it) – quickly as it happens with the 3.0 litre V6 Diesel Turbo. An excellent mid-range makes for entertaining overtaking – so you won’t be holding up any traffic through the winding roads to Pauanui, dear.
The ride is adjustable via dynamic sport modes and is adjustable via the in-dash screens -which also offer variable height control – great for peering over traffic to see the congestion ahead.
On the road the Velar shows good body control and a cushioned yet controlled ride that is on par with the market alternatives such as the Porsche Macan. Speaking of such, any comparison is short lived here because with superior stand-out styling and on sheer presence alone, the Velar is the current king of the current SUV’s.
Velar prices start at $134,000 with the HSE model tested here topping the range at $152,900.
VEHICLE SUPPLIED BY LAND ROVER NEW ZEALAND