The Velar plugs the gap in Land Rover ’s range of Range Rover SUVs. It’s bigger than the Evoque, but slightly smaller than the Sport. More importantly, with the Velar, Land Rover has a product that directly competes with full-size premium SUVs such as Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS. Targeted at ‘younger’ affluent customers—in their forties and upwards—the Velar was launched globally last year, and on January 20th this year in India. We drive it in and around Delhi.
What does Velar mean?
The name is derived from the Latin word ‘velare’, which means ‘to cover’ or ‘veil’. It is a direct reference to the codename used on the original, pre-production Range Rover vehicles of the late 1960s.
What is the design like?
Its design is a further iteration of the original Range Rover character. From some angles the Velar looks like a stretched Evoque, from others a toned Sport. Yet, somehow, it has its own distinctive design language—one that makes it look a younger, fitter and dapper Range Rover. It’s 4,797mm long, 2,145mm wide, 1,665mm high, and has a wheelbase of 2,874mm.
Is the cabin ultra-modern?
Once you enter the cabin you just cannot step wondering the technological wonder the twin-touchscreen is—these are two 10-inch screens, one on top of the other. The top screen handles most of the media, navigation and phone settings, and the bottom screen mostly controls in-car environment and related functions. Unlike most car touchscreens, the one in the Velar is highly responsive—in fact, the touch is exactly as responsive as, say, that of the latest iPhone. The twin-touchscreen looks so beautiful and so advanced that it can give an idea or two to Apple or Samsung to design their next-generation pads. There is a sharp 12.3-inch digital cluster behind the steering wheel, and touch buttons on the steering wheel also let you control almost all the things you need from the vehicle, without moving your eyes off the road. The cabin is opulent, to say the least, as is expected of a car this size and price. There is enough boot space to carry many days’ worth of supplies and luggage, in case you plan an extended holiday.
What defines the design?
During its global launch last year, Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern had reportedly said that the Velar is a product of a ‘reductionist’ approach, in which features are hidden until activated, much as they are on a smartphone. For example, its recessed door handles slide out when a key holder approaches, while the screen-based dashboard is virtually free of buttons or dials.
Which engines power it?
At the time of writing this review, there were three engines to choose from: D180 2.0-litre diesel (177bhp, 430Nm); D300 3.0-litre diesel (296bhp, 700Nm); and P250 2.0-litre petrol (247bhp, 365Nm).
How does it drive?
I drove the P250 petrol. This turbocharged engine pushes strongly through any gear you are in. It’s very quick on the road, the cabin is very quiet, and for its size, it’s surprisingly frugal, too—driving during the rush hour traffic in Delhi, I got a fuel-efficiency of about 12kpl. From the driver’s seat, the Velar feels just as tall as any Range Rover. The suspension is on the stiffer side, so the ride is very quiet on smooth roads but turns rough on bad roads.
How much is it priced?
There are three engine options and numerous variants to choose from. The D180 diesel starts at Rs 78.83 lakh, as does the P250 petrol. The D300 diesel starts at Rs 1.1 crore, going up to Rs 1.37 crore for the First Edition (which includes all of the best options from Land Rover as standard equipment). The Velar is slightly smaller than competitor SUVs like the Q7 and GLS, and apples to apples you might find it overpriced, but then it’s one of the newest cars in the world, and has a beautiful touchscreen the competitor SUV owners won’t be able to take their eyes off.