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First Drive

First Drive: Range Rover Velar

The story:
The Velar is designed to “fill the white space” between the brand’s Evoque and Sport models as a large SUV to take on the likes of BMW’s X5 and the Mercedes GLE.
Category:Large SUV
Key rival:BMW X5
Range Rover Velar 2.0SD4 240 HSE
On sale:Now

The Range Rover line-up has had a gaping hole in it since the Evoque was launched in 2011, because there was nothing between it and the Sport model that sits just below the full-fat Range Rover itself.

That’s now been filled with the Velar, a sleek SUV that, while clearly still part of the Range Rover family, is a more cutting-edge take on the brand’s look, and its price gap to the Sport is between £10,000-£15,000, depending on model. There is only 76mm between the two in length terms, though the Sport is significantly higher thanks to its upright profile.Range Rover Velar - 2018 - Image 5

The slender front and rear lights are an early signpost of the new styling, likewise the door handles, which provide slightly over-engineered theatre by sitting flush to the door and sliding out on requirement.

Inside lies a combination of typical and recognisable Land Rover layout and switchgear, combined with an elegant new dual-touchscreen layout that looks impressive and works well.Range Rover Velar - 2018 - Image 3The six-engine line-up covers three petrol and three diesel units, with the 180hp 2.0-litre diesel’s 142g/km being the entry point for emissions and the 380hp petrol being the performance highlight. The 240hp 2.0 driven here is the middle diesel, and offers a 154g/km CO2figure that’s 19 and 28g/km better than the equivalent BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE respectively.

Predictably, there is a sense of occasion to driving the Velar, which feels like a large and high-quality car. The 240hp diesel is refined and rapid, and it all feels like the next step for the Range Rover brand.

paul barker

The verdict

Classy, stylish and progressive in styling and technology, the Velar fills a hole in the Range Rover range.