Range Rover knows what you really want, and with the new Velar you get it in a hellacious helping. It’s a heartbreakingly stylish ride that happens to look so tough you expect a squad of commandos to break out of it. At the same time it just reeks of luxury. That’s some combination.
You probably won’t scale mountain walls in it, like they do in the commercials, but homeowners along the Connecticut coast might be impressed that it’s capable of fording two feet of water.
The Velar provides sumptuous seating for four adults. It is way smaller than the big-gun Discovery model, and just enough smaller than the Sport model to give it around-town friendliness.
The ultra-sleek flash aesthetics continue inside with a dashboard that belongs in a museum for modern style. There are almost no buttons! Replacing these are two display screens; the upper screen handles navigation and audio, the lower does the climate and other yeoman duties. Some customers will zip through these screens like they would their smartphone. Others might take longer to adapt.
The lightweight aluminum chassis helps make this rakish bruiser a fine handler. The air suspension turns sharp potholes into vague shadows that you roll past. Passengers will feel like pashas borne aloft on clouds.
There are five trim levels, starting out with relative “econo” models powered by either a workhorse four-cylinder or a diesel, starting at $50,900. You’d probably prefer the muscular V6 edition. If zany hyper-power is desired, wait for the upcoming SVR model with its supercharged, 542-horsepower V8, intended to compete with the German bullies down the block.
All Velars come standard with a sliding, panoramic glass roof. And all Velars have the look that recalls the British gentleman’s school of toughness: The iron fist in a velvet glove.
Base Price: $65,000
Drivetrain: 3.0-liter V6, supercharged, 380 horsepower, 4WD
EPA Mileage Rating: 18 city/ 24 highway