The Range Rover. Haute Couture. The Velar’s sheer surfacing, extravagant proportions, and reductive detailing give it concept car swagger. Screen Gems. The Velar’s upscale interior features configurable high-definition screens for the instruments, infotainment, and HVAC settings.
Velar wears a name that harks back to the very beginning of Land Rover’s storied luxury off-road dynasty. Velar—from the Latin word for veil or hide—was the name put on prototypes of the original Range Rover engaged in real-world testing in the late 1960s. The vehicles looked so different from the rough, tough, workhorse Land Rover that company execs ﬁgured the different badges meant no one would guess it was their secret new SUV.
The Range Rover Velar is perhaps less unexpected. Like the Range Rover Evoque, the sheer-surfaced, extravagantly proportioned Velar looks like it was driven straight out of Land Rover chief design ofﬁcer Gerry McGovern’s concept studio. Which is pretty much what happened. “We desperately wanted to hold on to the design vision,” says Velar vehicle line director Kevin Stride. “It’s been an obsession.”
The Velar is a mixture of Jaguar and Land Rover hardware. The body structure is based on the aluminum- intensive D7a architecture of the Jaguar XE and XF sedans and the F-Pace SUV, with which the Velar shares its 113.1-inch wheelbase. The height-adjustable air suspension, Terrain Response, and active locking rear differential are all Land Rover.
Although the Velar doesn’t have a low-range transfer case, Land Rover engineers claim it’s still more off-road capable than most SUVs. The height-adjustable suspension can raise and lower the Velar 3.9 inches to give a maximum ground clearance of 9.9 inches, and it can wade through water more than 2 feet deep. The Velar boasts more wheel travel than the F-Pace, and the finely calibrated Land Rover Terrain Response system delivers better off-road performance. Base wheels measure 20 inches, with the range-topping R-Dynamic and HSE models offering the choice of 21s or 22s, and standard variable-rate shocks are carefully tuned to manage the unsprung weight.
The Velar will be available with the choice of three engines when it goes on sale in the U.S. this summer. In addition to the 180-hp Ingenium 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel and 380-hp 3.0-liter supercharged gas V-6 shared with the Jaguar F-Pace, buyers will be offered a turbocharged gas-burning 2.0-liter Ingenium four-banger that develops 250 hp. Long term, of course, we can expect SVR versions of the Velar with a 550-hp or even 575-hp supercharged V-8 under the hood.
Inside, everything from the instruments to the infotainment system to the HVAC settings on the center console is digitally presented on high-resolution screens and hidden from view until the ignition is switched on. The effect is dramatic and modern, and it’s accentuated by innovative material choices that include a highfashion rework of tweed cloth for the seats. Despite its high-style demeanor, the Velar is intended to slot between the Range Rover Evoque and the Range Rover Sport. U.S. pricing isn’t confirmed yet, but based on British prices announced March 1, expect base diesel models to sticker from $55,000 and a loaded, limited-run V-6-powered First Edition priced north of $80,000.