Last week Land Rover surprised most of the automotive world when it revealed an all-new Range Rover model. The Range Rover Velar, intended to fill the space between the Range Rover Evoque and the Range Rover Sport, gets its name from the original Range Rover prototype from the late ‘60s. But this one is no mere concept; it’s fully hatched and ready to go on sale later this year, with an attractive base price just below $50,000.
Land Rover claims the Velar is a clean-sheet design, but it shares its architecture with the popular F-Pace luxury crossover from its sister brand Jaguar. Available only in a five-door configuration, the Velar’ silhouette is low-slung and unapologetically sleek, making no pretensions of being an off-road vehicle at all, despite featuring all-wheel drive as standard, complete with the full suite of off-road driving aids.
Power will come from a choice of three engines in North America. The standard engine will be the 247-hp 2.0L four-cylinder gasoline turbo, with a supercharged 3.0L V6 producing 380 hp as the premium power option. Land Rover will also offer an optional 180-hp 2.0L Ingenium diesel for owners seeking extended driving range. An 8-speed automatic will be the only transmission available, and the Velar will use the corporate dual-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension with coil springs as standard, with an optional four-corner air suspension available on certain models.
With features like flush door handles and copper accenting, the Velar will stand out for its styling statement more than its off-road abilities. And while it’s an undeniably graceful design, there isn’t a lot of Range Rover tradition to be found in its lines, at least below the floating roof. That’s probably intentional; family resemblances are limited essentially to the current Range Rover lineup, which has relied more on modern design aesthetics than on functionality in the worst of conditions.
The exterior lines may not resonate with traditionalists, though some may appreciate the new interior. A new dual 10-inch touchscreen array, called Touch Pro Duo, handles most of the work previously done by buttons and knobs. The Velar breaks new ground by departing with the traditional leather upholstery in favor of a wool-blend treatment called Kvadrat. This gives Range Rover an animal-free interior option that still meets expectations for quality in the upper end of the crossover market.
The Range Rover Velar will be on display starting this week at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland. It will make its U.S. debut at the new York auto show starting April 11 and will go on sale later this year as a 2018 model with a base price of $49,900. A limited run of 500 First Edition models will be offered, all fully equipped HSE 3.0 models with a Light Oyster/Ebony two-tone leather interior beneath a choice of Corris Grey, Silicon Silver or satin-finished Flux Silver paint. The First Edition package will start at $89,300.
Whether that market needs yet another participant – particularly from one storied British marque whose architecture it shares with another storied British marque, – is a topic for further debate. Clearly the compact luxury crossover segment is hot right now. Only time will tell if we’ll someday be celebrating the fourth generation of the Range Rover Velar.
|2018 Range Rover Velar Base Prices
(excluding $995 handling fee)
|2.0 T Si4 (gas)||2.0 Td4 (diesel)||3.0 SC V6 (gas)|
|Range Rover Velar||$49,900|
|Range Rover Velar S||$54,700||$56,200||$64,200|
|Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic SE||$60,100||$61,600||$69,600|
|Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic HSE||$67,600||$69,100||$77,100|