Striking design meets cool technology – that’s the 2018 Range Rover Velar in a nutshell.
The new entry to the premium mid-size SUV segment was turning heads during our Toronto drive. My five-year-old niece called it “magic car” – after one look at the flush deployable door handles, a Range Rover first. These deploy when the doors are unlocked via the key fob.
The vehicle we tested was a striking grey – sharp, compact, sturdy, especially during the winding highway drives. One word that instantly came to mind was “balance” – a powerful, muscular exterior, like that winger on a winning hockey team, shorter in height, legs like Oak tree trunks, low centre of gravity. You can’t knock him off the puck. The Velar and its neck-turning silhouette is balanced by large wheels – up to 22 inches in diametre – floating roof and clam shell hood, which the brand is known for. Elegant and sporty.
A wheelbase stretching 2,874 mm again contributes to its stability, as well as giving the owner a more spacious cabin area and more than enough room for storage in the luggage compartment. We easily fit two large Rimowa suitcases and two carrying bags in the back.
Those highway drives? A 380 hp V6 Supercharged engine, smooth eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, is all you need – 0 to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds. Top speed is 250 km/h.
Inside the SUV, light oyster, ebony leather and every technology feature you will need. The head-up display information wasn’t as comprehensive as other vehicles in its class, but that’s nitpicking. Particularly noteworthy was the new InControl Touch Pro Duo infotainment system – two, 10-inch high definition touchscreens seamlessly integrated into the dash of the vehicle. Futuristic, while easy to use. The screen starts with three panels – navigation, media and phone. Interaction is as intuitive as your smart phone.
For the driver, everything starts with the seating, and the Velar doesn’t disappoint there either – 20-way adjustable with heating, cooling and massage functionality. Plenty of options to set specific functions off buttons on the steering wheel.
And like all luxury vehicles these days, the Range Rover Velar offers an array of advanced driver assistance systems – fitted as standard or offered as optional equipment, divided into two groups (Drive and Park). Drive Packs are features that make drive safer, like Lane Keep Assist and Blind Spot Assist. Park Packs contain features like Park Assist and Reverse Traffic Detection, particularly helpful in those tight, underground parking spots.
Price as tested: $95,000