Range Rover Velar – Launch Drive

Range Rover Velar – Launch Drive

Aptly named the “Velar” a term ultimately derived from Latin velum (meaning “curtain” or “veil”), in Xhosa it simply means to show yourself, meaning ukuVela”. At the recent launch out in Cape Town, the name of the new addition to the Range Rover line up had tongues wagging. We were curious to know why? It’s simple, catchy and dare I say it suits the car quite well.

Very few cars from this year (2017) have commanded this much attention. The X class may have come quite close however; it fell short in some vital points. A few months ago we gathered in Limpompo to welcome the 5th Generation Discovery, even though Land Rover preferred we call it the new Land Rover. I was impressed with what Gerry McGovern (Land Rover Chief Design Officer) had penned and the elements that inspired such a great outcome. At that time we wanted to pose the question about this Velar, but we had to be patient and wait for the right time.

The pictures do the car no justice, exterior looks match the interior equally, that is something not even hypercars barring Pagani Zonda can do. As scribes car reach us differently, to some performance supersedes practicality, and to some the off road capabilities weigh more. The front end is hugely imposing despite the immaculate clinical lines in design, the bumper looks like it’s one solid piece housing the wide honeycomb grill, slim LED headlights with daytime running lights and blacked out air dams. The side profile is highlighted by the power deployable door handles, when retracted the side view is smooth and flawless. The mechanism has been tested in the harshest conditions to assure convenience. The launch test units all rolled on 20” alloys, most in gloss black, the wheel arches can take up to the stunning 22’ which are optional, those add more presence of the Velar. For the test routes the 20” wheels faired pretty well and even better on-road manners.

The tail end of the Velar looks like it does squats at gym, tight, the taillights blending into the rear side fenders; the powered tailgate is decently combined with the roof spoiler. The rear LED indicators have a flowing function when showing the intended turn signal direction. The tailgate is home to the reversing camera which can be cleaned when you activate the rear window wiper water jet, super cool!! 1st car I have ever tested with such a brilliant feature considering the amount of mud we drove through in the wet Cape Town weather.
Stepping inside the Velar you are met with high quality material that introduces you to an opulence driven cabin. Simplistic, spacious and elegant. We were shuttled to the charming and serene L’Ermitage Franschoek Villas for our overnight stay with the Velars. It was a pleasant surprise, which allowed us to experience a night drive, more importantly for me it was to feel the ride from the aspect of a passenger. The dash & centre console offer a combination of incredible futuristic elegance, the 2 10” touch screens are a touch of class by any measure. There exactly 3 buttons on the screens,1 for sound volume and 2 that have multi use for climate control temperature, fan speed, and seat warmers. The high shine polished parts of the centre console are blended very well with the leather arm rest and centre storage compartments. The 2 tone multi-function steering wheel with soft touch buttons is pure magnificence, the digital cluster attests to the futuristic appeal, it can alter to various changes of how the driver can view navigation, speed, fuel gauge and the like. The steering also has paddle shifters for the 8 speed ZF automated gearbox offered on all Velar derivatives. The seats are properly comfortable with extra goodies like heating and body massage functions, the seat adjustment buttons on the side are well located for reach. I thoroughly enjoyed a free massage by the Velar masseuse. The seat extension for leg comfort rolls out as opposed to extending the seat, I quite like that. As a cherry on top the Multi Speaker Meridian sound system does a stellar job of providing superior sound quality,it even has a sub-woofer to boot. As an option you can get cordless headphones and a pair of remote controlled screens for the rear passenger’s entertainment. Boot space is over 600Litres, interior space is ample and with 4 adults in tow, we were pleasantly comfortable. The Velar has one of the best looking interior I have ever come across, it’s a thing of beauty.

At the launch we had 3 well-conceived power plants, a 2.0litre 4 cylinder turbo charged diesel with 240HP(177kw) thrusting out 500nm of torque, followed by a 300HP(221kw) with a mammoth 700nm of torque from a 3.0litre turbo charged V6 diesel ,and a 380HP(280kw) with 450nm of torque from the 3.0litre V6 supercharged petrol engine. All derivatives are marked on the tailgate eg P240 in horse power definition. All models are standard with a superb all-wheel drive system mated to a great 8 speed ZF automatic gearbox. I was lucky enough to drive all three at the launch. The 2.0L diesel is mild yet very effective in its approach, the ride is sublime thanks to the optional air suspension, handling is very progressive as the lock diff is consistently managing grip as you drive. The 500nm of torque is ample to town up to 2.5Tons of braked weight.

The 221kw 3.0Diesel has always been my personal favourite in the JLR range, thanks to the 700nm mountain of torque and the sound of the V6 Diesel engine. This equates to a blistering surge in momentum as you sink the pedal in. It does not harm the pocket at all thanks to an 8 speed that introduces efficiency as soon as you start cruising. This also applies to the 2.0litre diesel engine; the range would be anything from 700km – 900km on a tank between the 2 diesel derivatives. The supercharged 3.0 V6 adds a sporty feel to the overall line up, with its throaty sound at higher Rpms, let it over rev a little and you will be met by an awesome burp, especially when one uses the Dynamic drive mode. All Velars come equipped with a multitude of drive modes for maximum comfort and convenience to cater for just about every terrain. I preferred Auto mode as it offers superb ride quality and gear changes & throttle are smoother.
As with all Range Rovers specification levels are quite dense and comprehensive, the Velar is no different, for me the highlight is lane keeping assist, this vibrates the steering as if you steer from clearly marked road markings. I found the vibration quite harsh though, I could feel it from the passenger seat, am sure that has a setting to make it softer. The steering also gently keeps the driver on the straight and narrow should the need arise. The head up display is a neatly detailed, navigation info pops up if a turn is needed. Inside the centre compartment all device connectivity ports are found, these include 2 USB ports, sim card, HDMI and a 12V charge point.
While the Range Rover Velar is positioned between the smaller Evoque and bigger Sports, it will carve its own path and cult following as the Sports has done. The entire package of the Velar ticks all the right boxes, stunning looks ,superior ride quality ,impressive power plants and street cred! It is that good . Well done Gerry McGovern and the Land Rover design team. It gets my vote for sure. Am sure SVO is busy cooking something HOT, I can see this in SVR Guise and with a motor to match.

Pricing starts from R947 700 for the entry level 132kw 2.0L Diesel,R1 010 400 for the 177kw Diesel, R1 089 900 for the 221kw 3.0V6 Diesel to R 1 539 800 for the top of the range 3.0V SC First Edition.

All Range Rover Velars are backed by a 5year/100 000km Maintenance plan and warranty.

Thanks to Nicola, Tina, Christo and entire Land Rover Team for an awesome experience at the launch.

Yours in motoring
Wezile Lorenzio Bonani

2 Responses to Range Rover Velar – Launch Drive

  1. Awonke Canca says:

    Article covers the new addition to the Range Rover family awesomely. One wonders how the Velar would do when put up against the Jaguar F Pace.

    • Lorenzio Bonani says:

      Tata, thanks for visiting the website , the Velar has would beat the F Pace off road and in looks, while they share engines I think the F pace would knick the Velar on road! my money would go to the Velar overall though.

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