SUV

Land Rover Debuts Range Rover Velar, A Bargain Porsche Macan Nightmare

It’s priced and styled to hit every luxury SUV sweet spot. Don't get trampled in the stampede to the Land Rover dealership.

Land Rover recently announced that its brand had become Britain’s largest luxury export, and that’s been pulled off thanks to the automaker’s recent and rapid expansion. In attempts to keep up the momentum, Land Rover has just debuted its newest SUV, the Velar. The Velar is the fourth SUV in the Range Rover lineup, slotting between the Evoque and Range Rover Sport. While the name was used on previous secret Land Rover prototypes for its Latin meaning, “to veil,” the word also sounds classy.

Class is certainly something Land Rover wants to convey with the Velar, and it did so elegantly with its styling. But like a General’s flashy coat of arms, the Velar is also capable of maintaining that level of class when the going gets rough. An aluminum-intensive body structure helps cut weight and emphasizes the Velar’s reductionist design philosophy, but the bulk of the conversation should be diverted to the exterior because looks like these are enough to put a serious damper on the Porsche Macan and Alfa Romeo Stelvio’s days. It’s tough not being the easy pick when everyone else in the room is just as attractive, but even worse so when you’re so good looking that you threaten to cannibalize your Jaguar sibling’s sales.

Aiding that are large 22-inch wheels that pair well with the powerful stance and sleek lines, all of which coincide with the function and comfort that the Velar’s dual purpose technology brings. Retracting door handles not only look great but help maintain a low drag coefficient of 0.32. The new Touch Pro Duo dual touchscreen infotainment system consists of two 10-inch touch screens and is the latest attempt at reigning in the power of modern computing into a package that can be easily used behind the wheel. Inside, Land Rover has continued the Velar’s upscale yet technological persona with the addition of a unique leather-like material and an open air feeling aided by the glass roof.

As a road-oriented Range Rover, the Velar has an optional air suspension system (standard on six-cylinder models) that soaks up potholes and corners while the 113.15-inch wheelbase and 34.4 cubic feet of storage make for ample real estate inside. When the going gets rough, an all-wheel drive system paired with Land Rover’s innate off-roading DNA (harbored in the Velar with a 9.88-inch ground clearance) is available, which is all controlled by Terrain Response 2 software. This helps ensure the Velar earns its Land Rover badge. Those with trailering needs can rest easy knowing the Velar has a towing capacity of up to 5,500 pounds and an Advanced Tow Assist Function that helps drivers back up when responsibility is extended by a few feet.

Powering the party are three available engines. First up is a 180 horsepower 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder from JLR’s Ingenium family. With 317 lb-ft of torque on hand, hill climbs will not be an issue even with the cargo bay loaded to the brim. An advanced 247 horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine, also an Ingenium unit, enables a 0-60 mph rush in 6.4 seconds. For those who like to be corrupted by power, there’s a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 gas engine available making 380 horsepower and reduces that 0-60 mph time to just 5.3 seconds on its way to a 155 mph top speed. All three engines come mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission sending power to the four wheels.

Each power plant can be optioned in either S, SE, and HSE trims with the range-topping V6 reserving 500 US-bound units for a First Edition model. This exclusive package brings with it all standard HSE trim options, extended interior leather with a copper weave carbon fiber trim, a 1,600 watt Meridian sound system, and a unique set of diamond-turned finish 22-inch wheels. Land Rover made sure not to spare a dime on driver assistance technology with autonomous emergency braking, pedestrian detection, reverse traffic detection, and driver conditioning monitoring being options. The best part is that it won’t command an absurd premium when it comes to the US later this year.

Entry level models start at $49,900 and the top-trim V6 HSE is priced at $77,100. We suspect that the combination of good looks, a Land Rover badge, and the fact that there is a massive market for good-looking SUVs larger than the Evoque but cheaper than the Range Rover Sport means selling the Velar will be like stealing candy from trust fund babies. Check out the video below to see more.

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