Has the coupe SUV craze gotten too far out of hand?
Generations down the line will one day look towards our present day to see which automaker started the trend of building SUVs with coupe rooflines. It’s arguable that it all started with the Mercedes CLS, which was the first coupe/sedan remix that set the precedence for giving vehicles with four-door utility the ability to look as good as their two door counterparts. Now, according to Autocar, Land Rover will be next to join the ranks of the coupe/SUV family with the Range Rover Velar.
Jaguar Land Rover recently hit the streets with its new F-Pace SUV, which has been soaking up money for the manufacturer, propelling it to become the fastest growing automaker in 2016. While subsequent Jaguar-branded SUVs are set to follow, Land Rover, the builder of the first luxury SUV, has a bit of a problem in its lineup: the fact that it sells no sleek coupe-like SUV. While Porsche has the hugely successful Macan and Mercedes makes the GLC, there is no bridge between the small Range Rover Evoque and the mid-size Range Rover Sport. Arguably, no bridge is needed when considering size alone, but if purchasing trends are indicative of anything, buyers wouldn’t shy away from a sleeker smaller version of the Range Rover Sport.
Velar remains a name used by Land Rover for past prototypes, but originally the SUV was dubbed the Evoque XL, lending the imagination an idea of what it could look like. The Velar is set to be closely related to the Jaguar F-Pace under its skin thanks to the use of JLR’s IQ platform. It will also seat five, feature an aluminum body, and have high ground clearance paired with short front and rear overhangs for off-roading supremacy. The Velar will be a bit longer and roomier than the Macan it fights, and thanks to standard four-wheel drive, will feature longitudinally mounted engines. Speaking of which, it’s expected that Land Rover will debut the Velar at the upcoming Geneva Auto Show.
Given the short time frame, Land Rover will use the same Ford-sourced V6 engines that it currently uses before switching to its new range of Ingenium power plants. These include gasoline and diesel versions of its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a 3.0-liter inline-six. For the eco-conscious and performance freaks alike, Land Rover will probably offer a hybrid variant of the Velar along with a supercharged SVR version after launch. Despite having the Macan in its crosshairs, the Velar will focus more on luxury than on sportiness, though JRL seems to think its new offering will catch the SUV buying wave soon enough to sell more than half a million units worldwide in 2017, up from 427,122 in 2016. Best of luck, Land Rover.