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Car Review: New Range Rover Velar

We got an exclusive preview of the Range Rover Velar….

Ahead of its official launch, scheduled for October 2017, we were given the opportunity to take part in an exclusive media drive opportunity with the new Range Rover Velar at the South African Motoring Experience.

The Range Rover Velar is another one of Jaguar Land Rover’s most anticipated model launches this year, says Marketing Director, Lisa Mallet. When myself and nine other motoring journos gathered near the pit lane for its reveal, our eyes were glued to the covered Velar that soon made its glowing appearance, and boy, were we thrilled at what we saw. “It’s just so pretty!” I couldn’t help but say out loud!

Striking and contemporary

The new Velar’s exterior design is minimalistic and elegant. Although the car appeared to be a bit smaller than I expected after seeing various pics and video footage prior to its reveal, that wasn’t the case once I was sitting inside (see below for my thoughts on its interior). Its compelling exterior gives the it a more futuristic sort of look with cleverly executed details all around, such as integrated and deployable flush door handles, sleek lower body features and ultra slim LED head and tail lamps, to name a few.

A cabin of comfort and convenience

The Velar is aimed at stylish people with a taste for premium SUVs that shine on the road. Its premium theme continues inside with endless lush finishes like extra soft leather all around the cabin (doors, top of the dashboard, steering wheel etc,) a dual screen system and interactive driver display, and an 825-watt Meridian Surround audio system, on the top-of-the-range HSE R-Dynamic. Once in the driver’s seat, I got to really experience just how spacious (and ridiculously comfy) the new Velar is. This trim level is also fitted with an optional rear infotainment system to keep the passengers sitting in the back seats entertained on those long commutes or family road trips.

Nifty storage compartments of different shapes and sizes are found all over the Velar, and even accommodate those sitting at the back. Connections to the infotainment system and USB ports, as well as read climate control, will also come in handy for rear passengers. Sitting at the back still offers roominess with ample leg and headroom for even the tallest of passengers.

The Velar gets an automated tailgate and if you’re worried about the height of the boot base when lifting heavy things in and out of it, the car’s air suspension can also be both lowered and lifted to make things easier.

What is it like to drive?

The Range Rover’s flagship Velar, the R-Dynamic HSE, is fitted with a 3,0-litre supercharged V6 engine that produces 280 kW of power and a whopping 450 N.m of torque. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and All-Wheel Drive, making drivability on different terrains super easy and pleasant to handle. It’s based on the same chassis as the Jaguar F-Pace, but feels completely different…more like a Range Rover should, ready for any terrain, with a refined and poised drive quality.

With a claimed sprint from 0-100 km/h in just 5,7 seconds and a top speed limited to 250 km/h, we got to experience what the new Velar feels like to drive on Kyalami’s racetrack.

Superior and sporty! These were my initial feelings when behind the wheel of the new Velar. Even if a racetrack is not the place you would usually find an SUV, it still managed to highlight the Velar’s responsiveness and refinement. Different suspension settings to suit your environment can be selected via the lower screen just above the gear selection’s rotary dial and you’re good to go! It’s super quiet on the road even with its faint V6 growl when you put your foot down. With all the tech inside the cabin, sitting behind the steering wheel is a really exciting place to be. In fact, I felt like I was about to take off in celebrity’s private jet!

Pricing

The Velar will be available with a choice of petrol and diesel engines and we’ll have more details on this after its official launch in South Africa next month (mid-October 2017), but for now we can tell you that pricing for the new Range Rover Velar will start at R947 700. Start saving now!

The more I got to experience the new Velar, the more attached I became to it. I was constantly surprised by the discovery of each new functionality and, by the end of the day, I was convinced that Jaguar Land Rover had managed to make another SUV into something golden, with all its compelling and ultra stylish features.

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