Wait, what? Bentley confirms its first official entry in the ‘race to the clouds’
You are here
The Top Gear car review:Land Rover Range Rover Velar
For:Very stylish inside and out. Display and control system is something of a game changer. Relaxing and refined to drive. Good off-road – very good if properly optioned.
Against:Expensive. Some other SUVs are more engaging to drive.
What is it?
The Velar plugs a gap in, er, Land Rover’s range of Range Rovers. It’s bigger than the Evoque but smaller than the Sport. It also uses what is for Land Rover a new platform, sharing its underpinnings with the Jaguar F-Pace, which maybe also gives you an idea of is size.
It’s expensive, but it’s its good fortune to look and feel expensive too. It’s luxurious and has more off-road capability than most rivals – and than the Jag. In size, the Velar sits somewhere between a BMW X4 and X6, Mercedes GLC Coupe and GLE Coupe, and above the Audi Q5.
Smooth, pared-back and slimmed-down style takes priority over absolute space or off-road ruggedness. The Velar’s silhouette is quite fast, marked by a rising belt, falling roof, pinched tail and a lot of screen rake. The surfaces are pure as snow. Especially around the nose, it’s naked of step-lines, the grille, lamps and bumper meticulously flush. Which makes the numberplate plinth stand out like a flesh wound. Also the fake vents on the bonnet and below the door mirrors.
But in all it’s a very well-worked shape, and if you see it alongside a range Rover Sport you instantly see how the skin has been pulled tight, the roof dropped and the details finely slimmed.
The cabin is even more of a revelation, for the way style and function meet in an all-new glass-cockpit system for displays and controls.
It doesn’t have a low-ratio transfer box, nor the decoupling anti-roll bars you can get on the Sport. So it’s not fully specced to Land Rover’s outermost off roader level. But by most standards it’s massively capable in the wilderness.