Smartly revitalizing the past
"Unveiling the veil on the Road Rover."
"Chassis architecture and engine options for Velar are shared with the Jaguar F-PACE, and they are both produced on the same assembly line."
"It is perfect for a Range Rover shopper requiring extra space than an Evoque, but not having the pennies for the Sport," said Issam.
Interior cabin is rich with details."
Range Rover. These two words mean a lot in the automotive industry. Well basically the brand quality of Range Rover is itself beyond all. I love Range Rovers. I really do love them. What makes a Range Rover special is the blend of top-tier luxury and wrangler-like ability.
Here I am driving the new Range Rover Velar in Dubai for a whole week. Yes, my colleague Mark already tested the Velar back in Norway last year but I wanted to give you some insights and history from my personal point of view about this wonderful piece of art.
Flashback history of the Velar
What I personally love over the past twelve years of being a motoring journo is when an automaker uses his rich past to write its future. According to Land Rover, Velar is a name derived from the Latin "Velare," meaning obscure or hidden. The name was chosen to hide the twenty-six Rover pre-production vehicles in 1969. Yet this name appeared earlier, in 1967 to be exact. The first prototype of the Range, chassis number 100.1, still had the name mentioned in the late 50s: Road Rover. The clay model, which froze the lines of the Range as it carries the Road Rover name. In 1968 a second prototype, chassis number 100.2, was produced in LHD. During late 1968 to mid-1969, five other prototypes were built under the famous name Velar (100.3 to 100.7). This is the case of the copy that illustrates this article, chassis number 100.6: the lines of the Range are frozen and the name Velar is present on the hood and tailgate. This is the only known surviving unit.
Between 1969 and early 1970, twenty-five units of pre-series were produced and registered in 1970 (YVB 151H 175H YVB) number to number. They are actually often called Velar, but carry Land Rover logos. Why lose the ‘E’ in this case? Another explanation is less fashionable: it would be an acronym, Vee Eight Land Rover, referring to the V8 under the bonnet of the Range Rover. However, it seems that the seven prototypes and twenty-five pre-series were produced by the Velar company registered in London (not by Land Rover, for privacy issues precisely).
We therefore say that Land Rover simplifies history today when speaking of 26 (not 25) Range Rover pre-production called Velar.
During the whole week I drove the first-edition Velar on asphalt roads and on some mild off-road paths. So how does it drive, handle and feel?
It surely isn’t an asphalt abuser like any other SVR model; however the steering is accurately letting you know where the front wheels are heading. The strongest aspect in my opinion is the plush ride. The air suspension was perfectly fine, especially during a long highway journey on Sheikh Zayed Road. That’s where you appreciate its ‘magic carpet ride.’ If you try to push the Velar hard, you will get a minimal sense of body roll. I drove it in Sport mode and honestly speaking, that Sport mode changed the Velar’s dynamic performance quite noticeably.
Inside, there are flush, touch-sensitive controls, two high-definition screens and a power-retractable roof sunshade that’s activated by hand gestures. The Velar also offers a bracelet that acts as a key and a smartphone application to manage numerous vehicle settings remotely.
Being "ArabWheels Car of the Year 2017" I might be too subjective when speaking about it, but I can assure you that the Velar is a head turner and can surely win many beauty contests due to its attractive look and its dramatically luxurious cockpit. But keep in mind if you want an SUV that gives you pure pleasure in driving, only go and have a look at the Porsche Macan and Alfa Romeo Stelvio.
3.0L V6 supercharged, 380 hp@ 6,500 rpm, 450 Nm@ 3,500-5,000 rpm
8-speed ZF automatic, 4WD
0-100km/h: 5.7 secs, top speed: 250 km/h, fuel consumption: 9.4 L/100 km
Weight: 1,884 kg