NO SOONER had you thought that Land Rover – read also Range Rover – had not an iota of room to fill in the luxury SUV market, than they come up with something called the Velar.

To sub it down, this is a half-way house between the Range Rover Sport and the Evoque.

However, that maybe dumbs down what is quite a distinct car in its own right. For certain customers, this could be an ideal Range Rover.

And it is a good looker – and that's not just my opinion as it has recently been judged 'the most beautifully designed vehicle on the planet' after winning the World Car Design of the Year title at the 2018 World Car Awards.

So, who would buy it. Well, for a start the Evoque is too small for some people and the Sport costs too much. The Velar, on the other hand, has quite liberal proportions both inside and out and costs from £40,000-plus – so it falls into quite a few buyers' brackets and pockets.

Central to the suitability of the Velar equation is the Ingenium four-cylinder diesel engine, which is used to good effect elsewhere in the Jaguar/Land Rover stable, especially in the Jag F-Pace – in fact, I'd say I preferred it in this particular Land Rover product.

At a time when diesel sales are falling off a cliff, this four-cylinder diesel engine – which comes with some pretty 'clean' environmental credentials – really does pose a dilemma for prospective buyers.

The two-litre always seemed to struggle in the F-Pace but did not seem to do so to the same extent in the Velar. Its twin-turbo set up seemed to be a great match for the superb eight-speed auto transmission and its 237bhp can do the 0-62mph timed run in a creditable 6.8 seconds. That's just about enough for anyone – though in practice, it felt as if it wasn't THAT quick.

So, there are times when the Ingenium engine struggles and for that reason I don't think this would make an ideal tow vehicle. It is, though, rated to pull a 2.4-tonne braked trailer behind it.

On the other hand, it has some official stats which show that you could expect to get near 50mpg on the normal running cycle, which is quite exceptional for a 1.9-tonne vehicle.

The other big selling point is the standard fare of Land Rover's excellent 'Terrain Response' system and some pretty smooth electronic air suspension. That said, the Velar is more pumped and pimped up estate car-like than the rest of the brand, with a clearance 'down below' of 213mm – which is quite un-Land Rover-like.

Inside the cabin, it's quite a strange beast, but not one to be terrified of. This is about as modern as a LR/RR can get and there is no doubt that the more tecchie buyer will find it appealing given the touch-screen controls for just about everything. You can even talk to it!

It took a bit of getting used to, but once you found your way around the twin-screen design of the panel, it was a dawdle. However, it struck me that there was a lot of capability in digitised instrument panel that would never see the light of day, unless the geekiest geek living in geekdom was driving it.

The Velar on test was the HSE version and the added fripperies on it meant that this particular model hit a night out in the pub's-worth above £64,000 which brought it dangerously close to the bottom end spectrum RR Sport.

As standard you get 18-inch 15-spoke alloy wheels (though 21-inch alloys as fitted to the test car are a 'no cost' option) fitted with all-season tyres, a heap of electronic driver assistance, electronic air suspension plus 20-way seat adjustment, with heated pads and massage capability in the front seats which proved a boon during some remnant weather from the Beast from the East! That was also the perfect weather to prove to me that a heated steering wheel is a particular boon.

The Velar shares a lot of the driveline componentry with the Jaguars – there’s no low-ratio gearbox, for instance, which is one of the limiting factors for any serious off-roading.

So, to sum up, this is not a Land Rover for serious towing, but it has an appeal for those who like a bit of style and electronic wizardry.

At £64,180, the HSE D240 on test had some extras on it, like a fixed panoramic roof (£1115), black contrast roof (£570), privacy glass (£390) and metallic Byron Blue paint (£725). However things like the rear view camera – which was excellent – the Meridian surround sound system and an extended leather upgrade came at no extra cost, as did LED signature headlights.

The facts:

Fuel consumption:

Urban 39.2mpg

Extra urban 55.4mpg

Combined 48.7mpg


0-62mph 6.8 seconds

Top speed 135mph