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The fourth Range Rover sets sail against the BMW X4 and Porsche Macan.

PROS

  • Guaranteed to be good to drive on the road
  • ...but still excellent off-road, too
  • It will be stylish and desirable

CONS

  • Could look too much like its sister cars
  • Likely to be expensive when optioned up
  • Will it be as stiff-riding as a Jaguar F-Pace?

Verdict

Land Rover has unveiled the new Range Rover Velar, an intriguingly-named premium SUV conceived to plug the gap between the Evoque and the Range Rover Sport.

As you can tell from the low-slung roofline and tightly sculpted aerodynamics, this is a very sporting kind of crossover, aimed squarely at the Porsche MacanBMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe.

It means that Range Rover will now encompass four models – Evoque, Velar, Sport and the full-sized Range Rover.

A new kind of sporting SUV based on Jaguar underpinnings

The new Velar is based on the same engineering platform as the Jaguar F-Pace, and will make extensive use of aluminium in its construction, all the better to trim fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, which start at just 142g/km.

It has permanent four-wheel drive, with lashings of clever technology to keep you going in the muddy stuff, although Land Rover admits this is a road-biased SUV.

Active differentials push the drive around each axle; unlike most Land Rovers, it can even act as a rear-wheel drive car in extreme cornering. And optional air suspension raises the ride height for off-roading to clear obstacles - or lowers the car to make it easier to climb in and out. 

The Range Rover Velar's knock-out interior

The svelte exterior is seductive enough, but step into the Velar's sophisticated cabin and prepare to be amazed. 

Flush door handles on Range Rover Velar

Flush door handles (above) appear to blend into the flanks; approach the car, pip the key and they pop out.

It's "concept car" cool - but has a practical advantage, too. They help make the Velar more aerodynamic, cleaving the air with minimal drag to waste fuel. 

Once inside, it's the most modernist interior yet conceived by Jaguar Land Rover.

Striking touchscreens - and very few buttons

There are just three physical switches on the dashboard - which has become two giant touchscreens. All minor controls are replaced by these high-definition screens and on first acquaintance it looks a very well resolved system with speedy, logical menus and pin-sharp graphics.

Quite whether we say that when we're driving five-up on a motorway and World War 3 breaks out among the kids in the back is a different matter...

The Range Rover Velar's knock-out cabin design

Note also the new wool-blend upholstery option, which Land Rover reckons will tempt many owners away from leather.

When can I buy a Range Rover Velar?

The order books opened on 1 March 2017 and the first customer cars are expected in dealerships by July.

Prices have been confirmed at £44,830, or £408 a month on a Land Rover PCP, with a £9400 deposit and interest charged at 6.9% APR. 

Which makes us think: the Velar is surely destined to be a runaway hit, rather like the cheaper Evoque...

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The new 2017 Range Rover Velar

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