For the first time in 10 years, there’s a totally new Range Rover model in town. Its name is Velar, it slots between the Evoque and the Sport and it really, really hopes you don’t mind touchscreens.
The 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar (I’m only typing that all out once) uses the same aluminum chassis as the Jaguar F-Pace, but the two look fairly dissimilar. The Velar is a good mix of current Range Rover design, with a few extras, like deployable door handles and available copper detailing on the hood vents, bumper blades and fender vents. Its 0.32 drag coefficient makes this the slipperiest Land Rover ever built.
Inside, the look is largely the same as other Range Rovers, with an emphasis on simple horizontal lines and attractive layering. Morrissey fans will enjoy the optional sustainable seat material that replaces the standard leather. It packs optional 20-way adjustable massage front seats, and a dedicated five-person setup means there’s usable space for cargo — 34.4 cubic feet, to be exact.
The biggest interior change is the addition of Land Rover’s new Touch Pro Duo infotainment system. It uses two 10-inch touchscreens, the bottom working climate control and off-road modes while the top focuses on media, navigation and telephony. Two physical controller knobs help manipulate the bottom screen’s settings, and they contain inner screens that change based on its use (e.g., changing interior temperature).
The upper screen can tilt up to 30 degrees to maintain visibility. Inside, there’s online destination search and a Wi-Fi hotspot that can cover up to eight devices. The navigation system can send an ETA to chosen contacts, and it can also recommend new routes on the morning and evening commutes.
Since it’s a Range Rover, it’s still plenty capable off the beaten path. Max ground clearance is 9.88 inches with the optional air suspension, and it’ll wade up to 25.59 inches of standing water. V6 models get an optional locking rear differential, and the infotainment system’s rotary controller can be used to back the vehicle up when a trailer is attached.
Paranoiacs will rest easy, since the Velar is also loaded with active and passive safety systems. Adaptive cruise control is on offer, as is autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, reverse traffic detections and a speed limiter that changes when road signs signal a raised or lowered speed limit.
The Velar will launch in the US with three different engines. The base model starts at $49,900, and it packs a 247-horsepower, 2.0-liter I4. If you aim for thrift, there’s a 180-horsepower diesel I4 that starts at $56,200. Sporty buyers will want the 380-horsepower, 3.0-liter V6, which starts at $64,200. There’s also a First Edition variant, which is limited to 500 units and packs more luxury than any other trim, but its price tag is a whopping $89,300. The Range Rover Velar goes on sale later this year.