Keith Adams manages to grab a few minutes with the Range Rover Velar. It’s highly stylish, but who’s going to buy it?
Lots of people, if first impressions are anything to go by.
We’ve just hot-footed it back from the first major European motor show on the 2017 calendar, and the top story is most definitely the public debut of the Range Rover Velar. As we’ve already spelled out in our launch story, the Velar bridges the gap between the Evoque and Sport – with a list price starting at £45k (the former range opens at £30k, the latter, £60k).
Although there have been comments on AROnline that it’s a Range Rover too far, it would seem to be a logical addition to the range, especially when taking its price into account. More so, when you see the car in the metal, and sit in it – although it’s a million miles away from the practical and classless car it’s named after, this Velar is in tune with the demands of current buyers.
The inside story
The dashboard is very minimalist in today’s terms. There are are three physical switches on the dashboard, which drive two large touchscreens. All minor controls are replaced by these love-’em or hate-’em screens – it looks impressive, but let’s see how they perform on the move.
The driving position is low-slung and sporting, rather like the Evoque’s, and visibility looks similarly limited. In terms of fitment and finish, it looks good, although the three cars at Geneva were clearly pre-production examples. The rear room is surprisingly good, in spite of that coupe-like roofline, and the boot is large enough – although there’s a surprisingly intrusive loading lip.
And on the rest of it
Put simply, stylistically it’s a huge success. It’s way lower than you’d expect, with a plunging roofline, tapering rear end and huge wheels (as you’d expect of a motor show special). With a line-up of four Range Rover models now in play, we can assume it’s about to be spun-off as a wholly separate model line.
It’s dripping with superb detailing and, because of the way it sits on its springs, it’s easy to think of it as a hot-rodder’s Range Rover, with a wonderful, big-wheeled, low-roofed stance. Pictures don’t really do it justice. Will it sell? Well, JLR has unofficially said it needs to build one million cars a year – will the Velar help it over the line?
Probably not in isolation, but it’s a step in the right direction – and, in many ways, it really is looking capable of beating the Germans at their own game…
All photography, Andrew Elphick