Home on the range

Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic HSE

Model on test: £73,330

Okay – confession time. In fact, a couple of confessions. Firstly, I don’t really know where the Velar is supposed to sit in the line up from Range Rover. It’s quite a congested line up, and I’m fully aware that others before me have posed the same question.

But I have a second confession that may explain my uncertainty. I’ve never driven a full blown Range Rover. I’ve tested the Evoque in a couple of guises, the Discovery Sport and I’ve driven a number of Defenders (back in the day…) but I’ve never taken the wheel of the iconic country classic. Maybe that’s next…

So from my perspective, this is the big boy in the garage from Land Rover. And with this model topping the price list at a shade over £73k, that’s a lot of car to live up to. Let’s start on the outside. Land Rover has made a good job of making the Velar sleek and sporty, while maintaining an air of class. The bonnet and grille look powerful and a little aggressive (which you kind of expect from a big Range Rover), but the narrow headlights and diffuser add a hint of speed and even sportiness.

The flush door handles are a lovely touch – recessing into the door housing when not in use meaning the lines of the body aren’t interrupted. It’s clear from those lines that this has come from the Range Rover stable – there’s an unmistakable bulk at the rear that just screams country offload vehicle (as opposed to Chelsea tractor), but once you move inside, that all changes – at first glance at least.

With a touch screen interface for all the controls in the centre console, all on a beautifully curved and high gloss glass panel, the luxury is abundant right there. But at the same time, the off road capability is clear. With touch controls for ride height, surface management and hill descent, the underpinnings of this car are clear to see – it’s more than capable off road and it’s only when you step back out that you realise the wheels are also more than ready for the rough stuff. they’re disguised by some glossy alloys, but definitely ready to green lane.

So sleek, capable, and a great user experience with the controls – as long as you never have an electrical fault – I suspect replacing anything to do with that panel will empty your wallet quicker than buying the thing in the first place. It’s also a very conformable vehicle. With heated and cooled front seats – with massage function built in – it’s a good long-distance cruiser with plenty of room for the family and all their luggage needs.

Any downsides? I think only the confusion every time you park next to a Discovery or a Range Rover and realise you don’t quite know what you’ve bought. But I think that confusion would vanish as soon as you sat behind the wheel – the comfort and quality really are everywhere and it’s a genuinely nice car to drive.

I wonder if my opinion will change when I review the big daddy from the Land Rover garage?

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