Words: Calvin Chan
Published: March 1, 2017
Land Rover just unveiled their fourth product in the Range Rover lineup, the Velar, filling what they call the “white space” between the Evoque and Range Rover Sport. To be honest I didn’t even know there was a gap, but a niche is a niche. Just ask BMW.
But the new five-passenger Range Rover Velar – which was a name they used for “veiled” prototypes in the 1960s – steps up a segment into the mid-size SUV category – think of it equivalent to the Jaguar F-Pace, BMW X4, and Porsche Macan. They are also showcasing a huge plethora of new technologies, which will hopefully soon trickle their way up and down the food chain.
The Velar’s wheelbase is 214 mm longer than the Evoque, giving it more legroom and headroom for rear passengers. The bigger dimensions also make it more handsome – Range Rover really knows how to make a seductive SUV. Full-LED headlights and a Sport-like front fascia scream road presence and the sleek greenhouse follows the roof with a fastback coupe-like design.
A keen eye would also notice that the door handles are flush with the sheetmetal, and will pop out like a Tesla’s when the car is unlocked. In all, Land Rover says the Velar is the most aerodynamic vehicle they’ve ever produced, and given its history of boxy designs, that says quite a lot.
The biggest headline is the new array of powertrains available. With the Evoque, you were stuck with a measly Ford-era four-cylinder with a laggy nine-speed transmission. With the Velar, you’re offered a choice of two new Ingenium engines: a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel producing 180-hp and 317 lb-ft of torque (same one in the XE and XF we tested), and (you can sigh a breath of relief) a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 from the F-Type that spews out a whopping 380-hp.
Range Rover has also ditched their previous 9-speed in favour of a new ZF 8-speed transmission. All-wheel drive is of course standard for the Velar, along with an air suspension and an active locking rear differential, which is an option on V6 models.
The interior has also received a nifty revision, with stacked dual screens that promise to pave the way in infotainment innovation. JLR dubs it the Touch Pro Duo, and from the looks of it, it’s a huge step forward from the InControl Touch Pro we recently tested. The steering wheel has also been borrowed from the more expensive Sport, and now comes with touch-sensitive buttons, like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
Canadian pricing for the Velar S starts at $62,000 for the base spec with the 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine. You’ll have to fork over $69,000 for the supercharged V6. Work your way up to the R-Dynamic HSE model (which adds some exterior flair) with the V6 and you’re looking at a price tag of $82,600. Huh, I guess there was a white space.
The 2018 Range Rover Velar will be on sale in Canada in the summer of this year.