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00  Month

Velar to see off rivals

Created on 08/02/2019 @ 10:44

Test Drive by Graham Breeze

Rivals keep stepping up the pressure but every time they do Jaguar Land Rover simply ups-the-game and the Range Rover Velar is a typical example.

Developed with style as top priority the Velar slots neatly in the gap between Evoque and Range Rover Sport and comes with new design language and a flawless’ leather coated cabin.

After a week behind the wheel of the HSE R-Dynamic D240 it’s hard to believe that Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is facing massive problems in the UK following the lower Chinese and European demand for diesel – with hundreds of jobs set to go in the Midlands.

JLR is set to build electric drive units at the Wolverhampton plant instead and create a new battery assembly centre down the road at Birmingham as it develops a greener range of vehicles to meet stricter emission rules.

I’ll take some convincing that the company, which is owned by Tata Motors, should move completely away from diesel. These things tend to move in cycles and after all it wasn’t so long that the Government was urging us all to go diesel.

Releasing the Velar is a clever move by JLR. With a starting price of £45,000 it targets a market where the opposition has been gaining ground between Evoque and Sport but you can expect to pay a lot more if you want to include the expected luxuries.

Our test model for instance clocked in at £66,580 with metallic paint, privacy glass, panoramic roof, and a black contrast roof adding another £3,000 to the overall bill.

The features list is endless including R-Dynamic treadplates, single speed transfer box, electric parking brake, terrain response, ABS, Adaptive Dynamics, hill descent assist, hill launch assist, gradient release control, electronic traction control, dynamic stability control and cornering brake control.

On the road the Velar grabs like glue thanks to roll stability control, power steering, low traction launch, col suspension, electronic air suspension and there’s even trailer suspension assist for those needing to tow the horsebox or caravan.

A heated windscreen proved invaluable during the heavy frost and automatic see-me-home headlights were also popular.

Outwardly the Velar is very different to the rest of the range standing on attractive 19.5 inch alloys, rakish roofline, unique front and rear bumper design, including integrated exhaust finishers, tailgate spoiler and flush door handles (which interestingly did stick on a heavily frosted morning).

But it’s in the cabin that Velar really stands out from the opposition. There’s leather everywhere, including the steering wheel, satin chrome gearstick paddles, shadow aluminium trim finish, bright metal pedals and the most comfortable seating you will encounter at this level.

The Velar is fitted with all the technology that JLR could throw its way. There’s analogue dials with a stunningly colourful display system, Bluetooth, DAB radio, voice control and power operated child locks together with six airbags.

The two-litre diesel was fed by an eight-speed automatic gearbox with all-wheel-drive with a top speed of 135mph and 0-60mph in 6.8 seconds. Despite the obvious diesel purr at low speed the Velar is virtually soundless on the motorway and the built-in speed warning alert is a valuable addition to avoid those speeding tickets.

JLR claim 48.7mpg on the combined cycle but we weren’t able to match those claims and CO2 emissions are clearly unpopular at 154 g/km.

There’s a wide model range available in the UK and we would have like to have tested the petrol version which is obviously going to prove a more attractive option to the UK buyer now.

The message to so-called opposition is clear – JLR dominates this sector and will continue to do so.

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