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11.03.2017 - News Range Rover Velar

Land Rover has expanded the Range Rover brand with an all-new model called the Velar. It will slot between the Range Rover Sport and the smaller Evoque when it goes on sale later this year. Effectively growing the Range Rover brand into a four-strong range, it will also provide the brand with a competitor to the long-line of coupe SUVs, such as the BMW X6, Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe and Porsche Macan.

“We strived towards a reductive approach, which is something I’ve always valued,” says Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern. “Simplicity is the hardest to achieve in design, but it’s the most rewarding.”

Taking the codename used by Land Rover's development engineers to cloak the true identity of the 26 Range Rover prototypes in the late '60s (Velar is derived from the Latin word 'velare', meaning to veil or cover) the new mid-size Range Rover SUV shares its underpinnings with the Jaguar F-Pace, making it roughly equal in length and width.

Measuring in at 4803mm in length, 1903mm wide and 1665mm tall it’s slightly longer and taller than the F-Pace (‎4731mm long, 2070mm wide and 1652mm tall) but the Velar’s 2874mm wheelbase is identical to its JLR counterpart. The exterior proportions and overall feel of the two vehicles are entirely different, however.

The Range Rover Velar has a very familiar design, building on the family elements such as the horizontal head- and taillamps that bleed into the front and rear fenders, respectively, and the brand’s defining side strake -- though the latter has taken on a more contemporary execution to its older siblings. The Range Rover looks particularly dated alongside the Velar's more minimalistic approach.

The profile itself depicts a suitably sportier look than other models as well, with a beautifully balanced bodyside to DLO ratio, a low, arching roofline, flush door handles and a fast backlight. One of the key elements is the Velar’s shoulderline, which wraps around the rear of the vehicle, effectively dividing the car into two halves. The contrasting black roof adds to the very clean separation of cabin and lower volume.

Another interesting treatment is the lower black featureline intersecting the front and rear wheelarches, which cuts the bodyside above the rocker and detracts visual weight. A subtle lightcatcher element also helps achieve this, adding a sensual, modern aesthetic to the surfacing – it’s not typical Range Rover.

Still, the front end is instantly recognizable, with horizontal LED lamps flanking the egg-crate grille, a deep blacked out lower grille area and pronounced air inlets on either side of the front bumper, which do well to communicate the Velar’s more road-going performance intent. These elements, the hood vents and side strakes are also suitably adorned with a copper finish, a first in the industry and a further nod to the attention paid to details by the design team.

Inside, the Range Rover Velar’s luxury slant is clearly displayed through its simple, elegant and neutral colorways and fine detailing – the perforations on the leather seats and the speaker grilles are a British flag, for example. Rich leather is draped over the IP, and can be ordered in a darker tone on the upper and contrasting lighter lower area. A piano black insert lines the width of the cabin as well, punctuated by chromed registers.

Land Rover is also offering a ‘Premium Textile’ interior, which has been developed with Danish technical fabric specialists Kvadrat. In this guise, the unique seats combine a durable wool-blend fabric with a technical suede cloth made from recycled materials. The supposedly hardwearing materials are a nod to future luxury and sustainability, indicating that the Velar's target customer may be over traditional leather.

Technology is, of course, prevalent. The main cluster ahead of the driver is a 12.4-inch ‘virtual’ TFT screen on higher end models, and a 60GB solid slate drive by Intel assures a super fast Ethernet connection to send WiFi power to up to eight devices.

The center console flows off the main 10-inch IP touchscreen with a waterfall-like effect, leaving two small storage cubbies behind for items such as phones or wallets below.

Land Rover has, however, also decided to include a few dials. Within the larger secondary screen below lie two chromed rotary dials for the dual-zone HVAC system, which poke out of the lower screen’s piano black treatment, while a smaller power/volume button for the audio system finds its place at the center. The rotary gear selector (now a familiar sight on all modern JLR products) graces the lower half of the console. It’s all rather minimalist.

The door furniture is also worthy of note: large armrests and chromed handles speak to the robust nature of the vehicle while also denoting luxury through anodized aluminum speaker inserts and fine detailing. Perhaps unsurprisingly there wasn’t a single wood element within the entire cabin on the models shown.

The Range Rover Velar is a very well executed new car in a burgeoning niche segment, and we imagine it will do quite well to satisfy the needs of well-heeled image-conscious consumers who primarily use their vehicles in urban environments and on paved surfaces.


Eric Gallina / formtrends.com

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