Land Rover has just unveiled the Range Rover Velar fully for the first time at a special event at London’s Design Museum.
We now know that the range will start from £44,830 and rise to a buttock-clenching £85,450 for a supercharged V6 First Edition. It will use a brand new interior with a massively reduced count of traditional buttons. In a supreme piece of marketing invention, Land Rover is calling the process ‘reductionism’, simplifying the interior by ‘hiding’ many features until they are needed, at which point the relevant capacitive touch-sensitive buttons are lit from behind.
The interior is heavily digitised, with two 10-inch touch-screens and two rotary dials making up the infotainment system. We hope they’ve overcome the strange niggles that affected our long-term XE S. The upper of the two screens can be tilted by up to 30 degrees, allowing some control against glare.
The Velar, which sits between the Evoque and Sport models already in Range Rover’s line-up, will have the company’s now-traditional manual Terrain Response system for tackling the rough stuff. The more advanced Terrain Response 2 with its automatic grip-sensing mode and All Terrain Progress Control, which maintains a set crawling speed to allow the driver to focus on steering, are on the options list.
The new SUV looks a lot like a nine-tenths scale Range Rover Sport, except for the massive 22-inch wheels in the pictures that look a little too big and would be terrible off-road. There are apparently several designs of that size to choose from, so the Velar is clearly focused on winning buyers who want style and a world-leading off-road reputation rather than a mud-plugging workhorse for farm duties.
The press release is littered with words like glamour, agility, elegance and composure, of course, as these things have to be. Back on the straight and narrow, though, there will be six engines. First are the 177bhp and 236bhp Ingenium diesels, which will be the big sellers, followed by a 3.0-litre diesel V6 with 296bhp. On the petrol side are 246bhp and 296bhp versions of a 2.0-litre unit, while the most expensive will be the 375bhp supercharged V6 we know and love from cars like the Jaguar XF S and F-Type S.
If you want to tow, the Velar can haul up to 2.5 tons, and there’s a clever optional (again) Advanced Tow Assist system that computerises the reversing-with-trailer process, allowing the driver to control the angle of the manoeuvre by twiddling a rotary dial.
The Velar name harks back to the very first Range Rover prototypes in the late 1960s, which were badged with the same name. We look forward to getting to know the new kid better later this year.