Culture / Cars

A New Must-Have Luxury SUV Emerges

Sexy Gadgets Will Make This Ride the Envy of Every Private School Carpool

BY // 03.09.17

From The Galleria in Houston to Highland Park Village in Dallas, brace yourselves for luxury’s new must-have SUV. Say hello to the new Range Rover Velar, the iconic British brand’s first new model in a decade. The quintessential modern hauler, it’s packed with gadgets galore.

The fourth Range Rover model in existence will pack the latest tech and advanced stylings to offer the best of the SUV in one mid-sized package. The Velar sits in that sweet (translation: lucrative) spot between the last new addition, the Evoque, but below the Sport in terms of size.

The bloodline is unmistakable. So what’s it bringing to the roads that makes it stand out?

The car itself is all about design perfection, even giving the popular Evoque a run for its money. But more than just looks it also comes with smarts like the first Touch Pro Duo infotainment system. This packs in two high-definition 10-inch touchscreen displays for some seriously accessible controls — there’s even a tilt for the perfect view. The option of 4G connectivity with a SIM mean the car can have its own WI-Fi hotspot, too.

There’s also autonomous driving smarts with options like smart emergency braking even for pedestrians, queue assist, adaptive cruise control, reverse traffic detection and the car will even monitor the driver’s condition throughout the journey too.

Outside the car that tech focus is clear from the slim Matrix Laser-LED headlights and flush door handles — looking like something from a drawing board of the future. The LED headlamps are reportedly the smallest units fitted to a Land Rover product yet, and their sleek design teams with flush door handles to help the Velar earn a coefficient of drag of just 0.32, making it the most aerodynamically efficient Land Rover yet.

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Note the floating roof, unbroken waistline and rounded corners that culminate in a tidy rear featuring nearly vertical cutlines from the roof to the bumper. Talk about serious sex appeal.

Model and Actress Poppy Delevingne with the Range Rover Velar at its launch at the Design Musuem, London.

Created from a clean-sheet design based on JLR’s lightweight aluminum architecture, which also underpins the F-Pace, the Velar’s construction consists of approximately 80 percent aluminum, the balance being primarily composed of magnesium and steel. With a wheelbase of 113.2 inches and a 189.0-inch overall length, it’s approximately two inches shorter than the Range Rover Sport in both dimensions and roughly 17 inches longer than the Evoque.

Range Rover says the interior design is the product of “reductionism,” which is meant to offer an uncluttered environment. “Hidden until lit” controls — they illuminate with a touch — add to the calming effect of the interior. That said, the materials are similar in weight and quality to those of pricier Rovers, with a singular exception: Besides the usual selection of supple hides, the Velar will offer optional seat upholstery woven from sustainable resources.

On the subject of off-road, the car features smart driving assistance here too. Terrain Response 2, All Terrain Progress Control, Low Traction Launch, Hill Descent Control and Gradient Release Control all add up to a confidence driving off-road as strong as when on the tarmac. As for towing, six-cylinder models are rated to lug up to 5500 pounds, and the Advanced Tow Assist function is available to help the driver maintain a shred of dignity at the boat ramp.

Essentially, it allows the driver to direct the trailer via a rotary controller, leaving the calculation of the required steering inputs up to the automated system. Think of it as partial autonomous assistance for drivers who suffer from trailer-backing anxiety.

The Velar offers a trio of engine choices including with a 247-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter gas inline-four from the Ingenium engine family and a supercharged 380-hp 3.0-liter V6. There’s also a 180-hp diesel 2.0-liter Ingenium four. A ZF eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard across the board. Land Rover is claiming a 5.3-second zero-to-60-mph run for the Velar when equipped with the V6 gasoline engine. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.

The Range Rover Velar will go on sale this summer starting at $50,895.

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