The Range Rover Evoque was always more of a fashion piece than a proper SUV. While the Evoque can actually hand more off-road terrain than something like a BMW X3 or Audi Q5, it’s cramped interior and lack of cargo space made it more fashionable than practical. But the next step up from the Evoque was always the Range Rover Sport, which was always a bit bigger than the X3 and more X5-sized. So Jaguar Land Rover had a pretty big whole in the Range Rover lineup, where the X3 and Q5 were dominating. That’s why JLR decided to come out with this — the Range Rover Velar.
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Sized right in between the Range Rover Sport and Evoque, the Velar will compete with the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class and Audi Q5. However, it seems to be packing more technology, luxury and off-road tech than any of the aforementioned three. It also looks sleek and seductive, as well as aggressive.
Inside is where the big news is, though. The cabin of the Range Rover Velar solves the brand’s problem with convoluted and dated technology. All of the physical buttons have been replaced with very slick looking touchscreens. The graphics are very sharp and look great while two turn dials mounted to the lower touchscreen add a sense of physicality to them. Those turn dials can be customized to control different aspects of the screen, making life a bit easier for the occupants. Those touchscreens also seem to work far faster and better than any previous JLR system.
The Velar’s interior quality also looks very nice and seems like it could be a notch or two about its German competitors, though we’ll only really be able to tell when we get inside of one. It’s also packed with more tech than on other Land Rover products, such as a 4G LTE hotspot and the ability to lock and unlock the car from a smartphone. It will also learn your route to work and work out the best way possible.
But don’t think Range Rover forgot its off-road tech. The Velar will be capable of handling any sort of off-road situation short of Moab and can even wade in water up to 650mm (2.1 ft). While that’s not as impressive as the big-daddy Range Rover, it’s pretty damn good.
Engine options are actually quite good, with three diesel options and two petrol. There will be a 2.0 liter turbo-diesel as the base model engine with a twin-turbocharged variant available as an upgrade. The third diesel engine will be a 3.0 liter V6 turbo-diesel, with a healthy 295 hp. The petrols will be a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder, with 246 hp, and a range-topping 3.0 supercharged V6 with a very nice 374 hp.
Pricing for the Range Rover Velar starts a $49,900, which is a decent amount more than the BMW X3 xDrive28i’s $41,250. However, the Velar is the more stylish option, comes with some fancy cabin tech and is better off road. BMW is working on a new X3, which will be debuting later this year, so we can’t comment on how it will stack up but you can be sure we will as soon as the new X3 drops.