Range Rover Velar (Credit: Jaguar/Land Rover)
Most luxury carmakers try to broaden their appeal by offering everything from premium sedans to sports cars and crossovers. British carmaker Land Rover specializes in one thing, and one thing only: luxury SUVs. Luckily, such vehicles happen to be among the hottest-selling cars on the planet right now, one reason Land Rover saw record global sales of more than 434,000 units in 2016.
On Wednesday evening at London’s Design Museum, Land Rover unveiled its newest SUV, the sleek and thoroughly modern Range Rover Velar. On sale later this year starting at $49,900, the mid-sized Velar is the fourth model in the premium Range Rover family, filling a gap between the compact Evoque and the Range Rover Sport. The top-of-the-line flagship Range Rover completes the line.
With its avant-garde styling, the Velar signals the future design direction for the Land Rover brand, a philosophy the company calls "reductionism."
"I’ve always been of the view that less is more," says Chief Design Officer Gerry McGovern. "We’d strive towards a reductive approach, which allows you to create something that is much more pure."
The door handles, for instance, disappear into the clean and sleekly designed side body panels, adding to the vehicle’s taut appearance. They deploy with the touch of a key fob or discreet button in the door, and retract again at speeds above 5 miles per hour, improving not just the car’s looks but its aerodynamic efficiency as well.
In the new 2018 Range Rover Velar, less is more. (Credit: Jaguar/Land Rover)
The same approach is apparent inside the Velar, where controls are hidden-until-lit, providing a calming atmosphere. The centerpiece is a new infotainment system that incorporates two 10-inch high-definition touch screens that are flush with the leather-encased dash. The system, says Peter Virk, director of Connected Car & Future Technology, "learns from you and anticipates your needs, serving you what you want, when you want it – but never intrudes letting you enjoy the drive, while it takes the stress out of daily life, like any good butler or digital personal assistant should.”
The Velar is available with three powertrains: a 180-hp diesel four-cylinder engine, a 247-hp gasoline four-cylinder, and a 380-hp V6 gas engine that can go 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds. All are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and an intelligent all-wheel-drive system.
Prices range from $49,900 for the base model to $89,300 for the super-luxurious Velar First Edition, limited to just 500 units in the U.S. and available for one model year only.
Even before the Velar goes on sale, Land Rover this spring will launch another important SUV, the new seven-passenger Land Rover Discovery, making 2017 another huge year for the British carmaker. Talk about great timing.
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