1. IT LOOKS STUNNING
Penned about six years ago for the baby Evoque, the Range Rover signature look has proved so successful every model since has been a derivative. The Velar fits between the Evoque and the full-size Range Rover. It looks a million bucks but is in fact cheaper than a full blown Rangie — “cheaper” being a relative term.
2. THIS ONE IS $144,830 PLUS ON-ROADS
The starting price for the “launch” edition of the Velar is $112,850 — before on-road costs. For that, goodies include matrix LED headlights that mask the high-beam for oncoming cars and the fancy pop-out door handles that will be the first thing proud owners show to their friends. And probably more so their enemies. Standard are lane departure warning (which vibrates the steering wheel and feels as if you’ve run over a rumble strip), power tailgate with gesture opening, rear camera, Wi-Fi hotspot capability, cool hi-res touchscreens, 17-speaker Meridian audio and massive 20-inch wheels.
3. THAT BRINGS US TO THE OPTIONS LIST
Heated and cooled front seats with massage function and 20-way adjustment are $7730, panorama sunroof is $4370, perforated leather seats with Union Jack logo add $1910, metallic paint is $1780 and electric steering column adjustment is $890. The list goes on …
4. IT’S GOT SOME GRUNT
The 3.0-litre turbo diesel (221kW/700Nm) is matched to an eight-speed auto and gets off the line smartly, ticking over at low revs at freeway speeds to aid fuel economy. Range Rover claims its 0-100kmh time is 6.5 seconds but on our GPS timing equipment it was even quicker: 6.3. This is as fast as a Volkswagen Golf GTI yet the Velar weighs almost two tonnes.
5. IT TREADS LIGHTLY
With lower centre of gravity than other two-tonne SUVs, the Velar doesn’t throw its weight around as much. Only the doors are steel and the body structure and other panels are aluminium. The matrix high-beams didn’t dazzle other drivers during my time behind the wheel but I would have liked them to light up the road around other cars a bit more often than they did. Ride comfort is impressive given the massive wheels and it steers sharply — for an SUV — in corners. One reservation: the prospect of warranty claims. If I didn’t venture beyond the urban jungle I’d take a punt and own one.