02 Mar The Range Rover Lineup Expands With Velar
After recently releasing a teaser photo, yesterday was the day Land Rover provided a full unveiling of the new Range Rover Velar. I watched the livestream unveiling from London and immediately started checking for a list of specs and options. I always find it exciting to watch a company unveil a new model. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a huge Land Rover fan. I’ve owned two different models over the years. I’ve driven almost every model since 2000 and often recommend them to friends. With that out of the way I will try my best to be objective with my initial thoughts on this new model.
The name Velar comes from the original Range Rover prototype vehicle from 1969. The vehicle is designed to slot between the Evoque and the Sport in the Range Rover lineup. I think it accomplishes this goal nicely. It’s bigger than the Evoque which has been one of the chief complaints (although don’t forget the original version was a 2-door). The Velar offers 14 more cubic feet of cargo space than the Evoque.
The Velar is very stylish, modern and loaded with tech. You maybe also noticed the flush door handles which are borrowed from the Jaguar F-Type. Underneath it all is Land Rover’s lightweight aluminum architecture. After reading the list of options, it looks like you get a nice blend of tech and materials that can be found in much more expensive Range Rover models. When Land Rover releases a new model they have been known to equip it with the latest tech, regardless of where the price point lands. That means the big Range Rover and Sport may get a couple of Velar’s new features in the 2018 or 2019 model year. Features like the dual touch screens you can see in this photo below. They give the cabin a very sleek look while also bringing the functions of navigation, entertainment, climate and even seating to your fingertips. The touch screens also mean there aren’t 400 buttons to control everything. Speaking of features during yesterday’s livestream unveiling from London they mentioned Laser-LED headlamps which are insanely bright. They can illuminate the road ahead up to 1800 feet in front of the vehicle. If you haven’t driven a car at night with LED headlamps let alone Laser-LED headlamps the view of the road ahead is simply amazing. BMW offers a Laser light option on the i8 but sadly I don’t think the Laser-LEDs will be coming with the Velar across the pond. However, the standard full LED headlamps will still be an improvement.
I’m sure there are people who will wonder why Land Rover needs another SUV in their lineup. I think that Land Rover is a unique company because they only make SUVs. Right now SUVs are the hottest thing going. So why not offer an alternative to the lineup that already exists? BMW has gone from zero to five SUVs since 2000. Porsche has two and Mercedes has grown to five. Land Rover has the opportunity to steal more of the market share by offering something a little smaller than a Sport which is a little more affordable, but with plenty of upmarket tech. To me that combo, along with the legendary Land Rover off-road capabilities which the new Velar is packed with, makes it a great option for luxury SUV buyers.
I’ll go into more detail on options and features in another article, or perhaps in an actual episode of Phil’s Morning Drive. For now I’ll leave you with this. The starting price of the Velar is $49,900. The one you’ll likely want is probably closer to $70,000, but that puts it right in the sweet spot to compete with other luxury rigs. I think it will do quite well. Be sure to watch this video to get a better idea of what the Velar looks like inside and out.
Photos/Video Courtesy: Land Rover