News

If the Evoque was Land Rover's first stab at a style-driven Range Rover, Velar is the next logical step. It's a big one, too.

When it arrives later this year, the

Velar will be the sixth vehicle in the Land Rover lineup. With record-setting sales in the U.S., Land Rover can't really be accused of slicing its SUV lineup too finely.

The 2018 Range Rover Velar slots between the steel-bodied Evoque and the aluminum-bodied Range Rover Sport. The body looks more like the former, is built like the latter—but the design is a harbinger for a range of new Rovers to come.

Range Rover Velar styling and performance

The slick, smoothed-over design of the Velar is a conscious effort to pare down a design language already short on frippery and frills. The Range Rover proportions adapt well to an even faster rear roofline than the one on the Range Rover Sport. It's a fashion-forward blend of formal lines and edgy details.

Those myriad details that set the Velar apart include trim LED headlights, flush-fitted door handles that deploy when the key nears the vehicle, very slim fender and door vents, and a rounded-off roofline that changes the mood visibly in black or body color, where it strikes a Mini-like chord.

Land Rover says it's the most aerodynamically clean shape it's ever produced, which gives you an idea of the Velar's conceptual distance from its muddy Land Rover roots.

The Velar's interior strikes out further in avant-garde directions. The spare lines are adapted from the Range Rover Sport and fitted with a pair of 10-inch screens, framed and unframed. Pared down from the switches and toggles of Range Rovers only a decade old, the Velar's center console has just four knobs. Touch, pinch, and swipe gestures take the place of almost every other function.

On the performance front, the Range Rover Velar veers less dramatically from its kin. A pair of 4-cylinder engines are available: a 180-hp diesel with 317 lb-ft of torque, and a turbo-4 gas engine with 247 hp that Land Rover promises can push the Velar to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds. An 8-speed automatic and all-wheel drive are standard.

The strongest Velar pairs the Jaguar Land Rover 380-hp supercharged V-6 with the same automatic and all-wheel-drive system. The 0-60 mph time drops to 5.3 seconds. Top speed is set at 155 mph.

The suspension is steel coils and springs unless fitted with an available air suspension. Should it ever encounter a challenging piece of turf, the air-suspension Velar has ground clearance of 9.88 inches, and can wade through more than 2 feet of water. The usual driving modes (sand, snow, rocks, ice) are selected from a console-mounted knob.

The Range Rover Velar can tow up to 5,512 lb. Wheel sizes range from 18 to 22 inches.

Range Rover Velar comfort, safety, and features

With a wheelbase of 113.2 inches, the Range Rover Velar is marginally shorter than the Range Rover Sport, at 115.1 inches between the wheels. (It's spot on the Jaguar F-Pace, which also has a 113.2-inch wheelbase.)

Land Rover promises a useful interior with seats for five passengers, luggage space of 34.4 cubic feet behind the rear seat, and total interior space behind the front seats of up to 70.1 cubic feet.

Safety equipment includes forward-collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and surround-view cameras.

The centerpiece of technology in the Velar is the twin-screen cockpit setup. Dubbed Touch Pro Duo, it twins two 10-inch screens with one devoted to secondary controls such as climate and seat controls, with permanent touch-sensitive icons devoted to functions such as fan speed and defrosting.

The Velar will be sold in base, S, SE, and HSE trim. A First Edition of 500 units will be loaded to the hilt with the V-6, an extended leather interior, a 1,600-watt Meridian sound system, copper-weave carbon-fiber trim, and 22-inch wheels.

Built in Solihull, U.K., the Velar goes on sale later in 2017, priced from $50,895 including destination. Stay tuned for our first drive.