Land Rover has announced a new midsize SUV, the 2018 Range Rover Velar, slated to arrive in dealerships this summer. The Velar will slot in between the Range Rover Evoque and the Range Rover Sport in Land Rover’s lineup both in size and price. The new Range Rover model has a sleek look that builds on Land Rover’s current design language and a new infotainment system that migrates almost all of the vehicle’s controls to two high-definition touchscreens mounted in the dash.
The Velar likely shares its bones with the Jaguar F-Pace, a crossover that’s been widely praised for its on-road driving dynamics. Land Rover is doing its best to distance the two vehicles by emphasizing the Velar’s off-road capabilities. This shared DNA should make the Velar an appealing all-around choice in the competitive midsize luxury SUV market.
Meet the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid—sort of a 918 with the engine relocated to the front to make room for big comfy chairs in back. Not really. Actually, no part numbers of consequence get shared between the hypercar and this sedan. But the decision to electrify the top dog second-gen Panamera leveraging 918 technology was made just as the Spyder was getting off the ground. Developing this sedan powertrain from scratch without copying off the 918’s homework would not have been practical—especially the complex control strategies for blending the combustion and electric power under acceleration and the regenerative and friction forces during braking. McLaren and Ferrari aren’t in the sedan biz, so it might be a while before a true competitor emerges.
The Velar’s body is instantly familiar as a Range Rover, but with a sportier look thanks to its lowered roof and extended hood and side vents. The full-LED headlights require less height, making them the slimmest headlights on any production Land Rover. The Velar also features Land Rover’s first deployable handles, which sit flush with the doors when not needed. All this adds up to an undeniably attractive SUV and the most aerodynamic Land Rover yet.
Land Rover made extensive use of aluminum in the Velar, and these weight savings, combined with the vehicle’s aerodynamics, should pay dividends in efficiency. No official EPA mileage figures are available yet.
Inside, the big story is the InControl infotainment system, which mirrors the sleek exterior by doing away with buttons on the dash and leaving just three knobs (aside from the now-familiar rotary gear selector). All controls have been migrated to the dual 10-inch touchscreens that make up the center console.
When the Velar is parked, the screens present a uniform piano-black surface, making for an exceptionally clean-looking interior. While driving, the bottom screen controls climate, seat and vehicle settings, while the upper screen controls navigation, media, phone and other infotainment functions. It’s a great look, but other automakers haven’t had the best usability results when removing physical buttons, so it remains to be seen how functional the new system will be in the real world.
In addition to standard luxury interior materials such as leather and wood, Land Rover will offer a more sustainable upholstery option that makes use of a woolen textile material and suede inserts.
With its 113-inch wheelbase — a number that fits neatly between that of the Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Sport — the Velar should offer ample room for five adults. And even with its aggressive roofline, the Velar still boasts 34.4 cubic feet of cargo capacity.
Under the hood, the Velar offers three engine options. The base engine is a 247-horsepower, 2.0-liter inline-four, with a reported zero-to-60 mph time of 6.4 seconds. A 2.0-liter diesel is also available, producing 180 hp and 317 pound-feet of torque. At the top of the range sits Land Rover’s familiar supercharged V6, making 380 hp in this application, and making the run to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. These engines are all paired with the same eight-speed transmission and AWD.
Properly equipped, the Velar has a claimed towing capacity of 5,500 pounds. The Advanced Tow Assist function will make backing up trailers easier by allowing the driver to aim the trailer where they want it to go and letting the vehicle do the steering.
A certain amount of off-road capability comes baked in. The Velar has 9.9 inches of ground clearance, and it can wade through up to 25.6 inches of water when equipped with the four-corner air suspension. These numbers (you guessed it) fit in right between the clearances of the Evoque and the Range Rover Sport.
A special First Edition, limited to 500 units, will be available at launch. The First Edition comes exclusively with the V6 engine and includes a host of upgrades, such as a two-tone leather interior and 1,600-watt sound system. Visual upgrades include copper weave carbon-fiber trim, 22-inch wheels and an optional satin silver paint finish.
The base Velar with the 2.0-liter gasoline engine will start at $50,895. At the other end of the spectrum, the First Edition will be priced at $90,195.