Land Rover brought the Range Rover Velar to New York for its North American launch, following its debut at the Geneva motor show earlier this year. Positioned in the admittedly narrow space between the Range Rover Evoque and the Range Rover Sport, the Velar is a clean sheet design based on the new Lightweight Aluminum Architecture and the most road-oriented Land Rover model to date — since it shares bones with the outstanding Jaguar F-Pace, we expect the Velar to live up to its billing.
This doesn’t mean that the Velar won’t have off-road chops (once off-road tires are fitted), but the new model is aimed squarely at performance SUVs and crossovers from Team Germany, which have been multiplying at a faster rate than models from Land Rover’s own lineup. The Velar aims to be an agile performer — the new SUV will feature a double-wishbone front suspension up front and an integral link suspension in the rear for tackling corners — but it will also strive for off-roadability with an available four-corner air suspension that will offer a maximum ground clearance of 9.9 inches and a maximum wading depth of 25.6 inches.
When the Velar goes on sale late this summer, expect to see three engines on the menu: A 2.0-liter gasoline four-cylinder good for 247 hp is the base engine, available in four trim levels starting at $50,895. The middle engine in the lineup is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel producing 180 hp, offered in three trim levels starting at $57,195.
The Velar will offer an uncluttered interior in keeping with its minimalist exterior design.
The top engine in the range is the same supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that we’ve met elsewhere in the Jaguar Land Rover lineup, tuned here to pump out 380 hp. The base trim level, one of five with which this top engine will be coupled, starts at $65,195 and stretches all the way to $90,295 for the exclusive First Edition model. However, the top “regular” trim, dubbed R-Dynamic HSE, starts at $78,095, so there won’t be as much overlap with larger and dearer Range Rover models once the First Edition models are sold out.
All three engine choices get paired with a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission.
The Velar will be positioned between the Evoque and the Range Rover Sport in the lineup.
Range Rover’s newest SUV pays homage to the 1969 Range Rover prototypes named Velar with this design, offering something new and unusual while retaining the Range Rover family look.
The Velar’s calling card is a minimalist exterior and interior design, one that emphasizes clean surfaces and a dramatic, avant-garde ethos that wouldn’t look out of place on the set of a 1960s sci-fi show. The interior control panels and surfaces favor rectangular shapes, with the leather-rich surfaces giving the interior a warm, if somewhat strict, feel. On the outside, the Velar favors taut lines with little visual disturbance, and clean exterior panels that do not even permit door handles to break up the surface.
“We call the Velar the avant-garde Range Rover,” said Land Rover chief design officer Gerry McGovern. “It brings a new dimension of glamor, modernity and elegance to the brand.”
The Velar will go on sale in late August with the V6 model shipping first; 2.0-liter gas and diesel models will arrive later in the fall.