Posted on January 19, 2018
Date of Release: October 2017
Number of Reviews 1
Range Rover has added an all-new model to their already, hugely successful line-up, with the Velar sitting snuggly between the baby Evoque, and it's bigger brother, the Range Rover Sport. The Velar embraces Range Rover's design philosophy of #SignatureSyle. In other words, less is more. And one certainly get's more! The Velar is Range Rover's most customisable car to date. Make it your own. Create your masterpiece.
In a word: reductionism. By introducing cutting-edge technology, the designers and engineers worked hand-in-hand to create a product that is the definition of elegant simplicity. The exterior is instantly recognisable as a Range Rover, but exudes a style of its own that ensures the car won't be confused with its siblings. Other highlights include the beautiful Touch Pro Duo infotainment system.
The Velar range comes with six engine derivatives (3 diesel engines and 3 petrol engines), all competent in their own way. All of which are mated to an 8-speed automatic all-wheel drive transmission. Air suspension is also standard on all models. Our pick of the bunch - the mighty D300. A twin-turbo V6 diesel engine.
Thanks to Range Rover's legendary all-wheel drive system, the car feels so planted that it's highly unlikely that you'll ever find yourself in a crash situation. If you somehow do, multiple state-of-the-art systems work in unison, firstly to avoid a crash, and eventually to protect all passengers within the cabin.
For the 2nd time this year, we touch down at Cape Town International Airport in remarkably similar conditions sunrays are just starting to pierce through the dark clouds. Last time, it was just after one of the worst storms to hit the Cape in recent history (read our Jaguar F-PACE review here). This time around, its the end of 2-days worth of rain over a badly drought-stricken Western Cape. Spirits were equally high, both with locals (grateful for the rain) and journos alike, as we headed off to test the highly anticipated Range Rover Velar.
How does one launch a car in the modern era, where images and videos of a car break long before the first units actually reach our shores? The answer - "create an experience". That is exactly what JLRSA did! Every element of the event symbolised individual aspects of this magnificent car. Highlights included:
In short, an event that truly lived and breathed what Land Rover calls, #SignatureStyle. Does all of the above make the car any better? No, but, it did give us a brief insight into the type of lifestyle that suits this mid-sized luxury SUV. One of elegance, but made truly rich by enabling you to fully enjoy something money cant buy the South African landscape in all its beauty.
Beautiful - is what instantly comes to mind, the first time you lay your envious eyes on her exterior. Highlights include:
Size wise, we think its ideal. Why buy a car that's geared for long 4X4 styled trips, when in reality we barely get away to use the car for what its designed for. The majority of us use our cars on a daily basis in the city and hopefully enjoy a few weekend getaways throughout the year. We say: buy and enjoy a car for its majority use. Comfort begins before you even enter the car the Velars fancy electronic air suspension drops the car 40mm lower than normal, making it easier to climb in and out of. Adults are equally comfortable in both front and rear seats we like how the rear seats recline, giving its passenger an added sense of space. Luggage capacity comes in at a healthy 673 litres and can be further boosted to an incredible 1,731 litres by effortlessly dropping the rear seats.
The Velars composure on both tar and dirt roads is nothing short of awe-inspiring! We were thoroughly impressed with how planted the car felt on dirt roads the dynamic air suspension and tall profile Pirelli tyres working well together. Through the mountain pass bends, the Velar shares the same stiff aluminium body as the Jaguar F-PACE; that, combined with Dynamic mode, which noticeably sharpens up the whole car, makes the cars handling sublime. Its so good that, in our opinion, you ideally want an engine that gives that handling a fair challenge. Thankfully, that challenge comes in the form of a twin-turbo V6 diesel engine, powering out enough torque to re-arrange your insides. 700Nm to be exact. Match that to a smooth, intelligent 8-speed autobox, and that provides the complete driving experience. You'd think that would be enough; right? But, in true Land Rover style, the designers and engineers went Above & Beyond.
The interior of the Velar is unlike any car we've ever been in. It's in a class of its own and provides a living example of where the brand aims to take the rest of the range with future releases. In a word, the design philosophy is based on reductionism. By implementing a state-of-the-art Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, which is essentially comprised of two high-definition touch screens, the designers were able to craft a minimalistic interior that, when combined with quality soft-to-touch materials and an intuitive user interface, amplifies the vehicles class, rather than creating an environment that is too simple and boring.
One of our favourite parts of the new interior was the new multi-function steering wheel. Situated where your thumbs naturally lie are two touch-sensitive panels. They allow you to control both the digital speedo as well as the infotainment system. For example, if you want to increase the volume on your 1600W 23-speaker Meridian sound system, you simply twirl your left thumb in a clockwise direction.
The SatNav is helpful and integrates nicely into the interactive driver display (speedo), but we were really impressed with the connected apps available on the upper screen. Catch up on the news, weather etc. while sitting in the morning traffic. Once you get past the despicable bottleneck, and your eyes need to be back on the road, a kind British lady can read content such as your inbound messages, out loud to you.
The above gives you a brief insight into how good this car is, but as the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, a short film, so that makes it worth a whole lot more.
Briefly, lets see how the Range Rover Velar D300 HSE R-Dynamic (the D stands for diesel and the 300 stands for the 300 horsepower that the twin-turbo V6 pushes out. R-Dynamic stands for the sporty looking body kit fitted to the car) stands up against our SUV lifestyle criteria that we apply to all SUVs, even luxury ones:
School run dice (5 out of 5): Does your car have enough oomph to quickly get past any irritating slow coaches or misbehaving taxis? The Velar won't be likened to the usual soccer mom car, but if it needs to haul the kids to school and back, one couldn't really wish for a better vehicle. The instant acceleration one gets from that D300 engine is immense overtaking doesn't get any easier. We also love how the blind spot indicator, located within the side mirrors, always lets you know if its safe to change lanes and floor the accelerator pedal.
Sticky finger proof (3 out of 5): Does your car go from clean to dumpsite in less than 10 seconds, or does it hold its own? A car interior this beautiful definitely deserves to be a food free zone. The fully electric, leather seats are beautifully perforated, allowing cool air to blow through (if selected). One isn't going to want chocolate covered fingers on them anytime soon. There are convenient holders for your bottled water or takeaway cappuccino. Heres a thought: rather keep the kids busy with the rear passenger entertainment system. It'll set you back a mere R33k
Easy access boot (5 out of 5): Is your boot easy to pack/unpack, even when your hands are tied up with other things like your children? With a powered gestured tailgate and flat boot floor, it really doesn't get any better than this. Simply wave your foot under the boot and voila. The keyless entry also makes life that much easier.
Baby seat fitment (5 out of 5): There's a good chance you are going to use one of these. Is it as easy as 1 2 3? Again, not your typical young family car but if you want to use your Velar that way, shell happily oblige. Rear seats come standard with strong ISOFIX mounts. Installing and removing seats will also be easier thanks to the air suspension automatically lowering itself when the car is parked. You also won't find yourself reversing over Jonny's BMX bike, thanks to the full 360 camera angles available.
Climate control (5 out of 5): How quickly can you cool down your car? With 4-way automatic climate control, you can kiss the "it's too hot/it's too cold" aircon fight goodbye. We love the heated/cooled seats. One can go the whole hog and have the massage function installed too. All of the car's functions are effortlessly controlled via the touchscreen or via the multi-function dynamic dials located on the bottom screen.
Although the Velar starts at R947 700, weve been fiddling around with the car customiser on Land Rovers website. If you go with our preferred spec (D300 HSE R-Dynamic) plus a few of the options youre going to want to have, then realistically, you are looking at the bar and a half mark which is a lot! If performance is not super important to you, a wise pick would be a decently specd D240 (twin-turbo 2l diesel engine), but youre still going to come in at around the R1,2 million plus mark. Whilst that might sound like a lot to some, think about this: With the Range Rover Velar, you're not just buying a capable luxury SUV, you're buying a work of art, crafted by over 15,000 perfectionists. You're investing into a rewarding lifestyle. You will have bought a masterpiece.
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