The blurred lines between Range Rover and Land Rover are set to become a bit clearer with the introduction of the all-new Range Rover Velar. Representing the AA, I attended the New Zealand launch of this new mid-size SUV which enters the model range between the Evoque and the Sport.
Refined, elegant and packed with technological advances, the Velar represents the future of the British manufacturer's model range, but it's equally a robust and sporty vehicle becoming of its heritage. Exceptional safety assist are available as standard, while up-spec options include a state of the art HUD, Drive/ Drive Pro and Parking Packages.
Here are three of my key take outs from the launch.
1. Appearances are deceiving
The Velar is sleek, sporty and boasts an air of luxury - its appearance is so eye-grabbing, it gives the presence of a much larger SUV than it actually is.
Flush door handles pop out so you can get inside; a function to date that I’ve only seen on a much more expensive EV. Once behind the wheel, my eyes were instantly drawn to a jet black void that blended into the centre console - when ignition was activated, the void illuminated, revealing itself as the main screen.
2. Tailored to your needs
Range Rover know that those looking to shell out a minimum of $134,950 for a new SUV are likely to want a car that can be tailored to some extent. The Velar offers its owners a range of choices.
The interior décor is available in nine different colour and textile options. My personal favourite was the Vintage Tan and Ebony colour combination.
Once all 3 screens were turned on (SE and HSE), I felt like I was in control of a spaceship with the amount of information and control available at my fingertips. Displays can be dragged and dropped so that prominence is given to preferred functions, with others displaying in secondary positions.
Also intriguing are the steering wheel controls featuring hidden-until-lit, touch-sensitive switches. These too can be tailored to your personal preferences thanks to a programmable personalized switch.
3. Energy and environmentally considered
To say the Velar is lit, is an understatement. Energy-saving LED lights are deployed throughout the car, with multiple headlight options available and advancing as the range moves up. Premium LED with signature DRLs kick off the range and graduate to Matrix and ultimately Matrix-Laser LEDs, the latter delivering 550 metres of high-beam illumination!
The advanced lightweight properties of the body's exterior are made up of 82% aluminium. This contributes towards the vehicle as a whole becoming 85% recyclable and reusable, and 95% recoverable at end of life.