The Velar is the fourth SUV in the Range Rover family and without a doubt the most stylish yet. And it hasn’t taken too long for the car to come to India after its global launch. India is a market that loves its SUVs, irrespective of the segment it comes in and Land Rover knows that pretty well. Derived from the Latin word Velare meaning “to cover’”or “veil”, Velar is a direct reference to the code name used on the original, pre-production Range Rovers of the late 1960s. The SUV is placed between the Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Sport and the starting price of approximately Rs. 80 lakh explains that.

The brand Jaguar Land Rover has been getting rave reviews in recent times when it comes to design of their cars and the Velar is no different. In fact it looks the most contemporary design of the lot. The proportions are beautifully balanced exactly how you want them to be on a luxury SUV. The signature grille and the sleek headlamps are design hallmarks of the brand. The flush deployable door handles is an innovation worth applauding as they add so much glamour to the car.

On the rear once again there are sleek LED lamps along with an integrated rear spoiler for improved aerodynamic efficiency. The vehicle’s design is distinguished by quad tail light signature elements with the iconic Range Rover script. The entire vehicle is 4.8 meters long which just seems right for a luxury SUV in India. And all this has in fact resulted in the Velar winning the World design car of the year awards held recently.

Range Rover’s interior design architecture, with its strong elegant horizontal lines is on display inside the Velar. It blends well with innovative features and that enhances the driving experience. The materials are top notch including the optional windsor leather with a signature cut Diamond pattern throughout the cabin and it adds a contemporary twist to the car. The touch pro duo infotainment system is quite a unique feature.

The upper touch screen is rake-adjustable and gets features that are used more frequently while the second screen retreats to a solid, opaque darkness until required. However, the system misses out on Apple car and Android Auto compatibility something that might disappoint the buyer. The windows especially on the rear are small but the big sunroof makes up for it. Also both rear seats can be reclined and get separate climate zones.

There are three engine options here, two diesel and one petrol. The diesel mills are 2.0 liter and 3.0 liter respectively. They give power outputs of 180 bhp & 300 bhp. But sitting pretty between the two is the much talked about 2.0 liter ingenium petrol engine that makes its debut with the Velar. This is the variant that we drove and the refinement levels here are bound to impress you. The 8 speed auto gearbox is also tuned well with the engine and responds to the needs of the driver pretty well.

Yes, the SUV is on the heavier side and the 2.0 liter diesel engine might not be able to deliver the same linear performance but this ingenium petrol is more capable enough to handle all the demands. And in case the gearbox feels a bit jerky there’s always the option to use paddle shifts and take things in control. The 19 inch tyres also suit this SUV pretty well.

Ride & Handling
Where the Velar really surprises you is the way it handles. The fact that the SUV is not very tall plays a part there. It is also stable at high speeds and takes to the corners with a lot of confidence. The Velar also gets air suspension which provides an extremely comfortable ride to all the occupants.

But the petrol misses out on it as only the top diesel variant gets the feature. But to compensate for that are the driving modes that can deliver the kind of drive you want from the car in terms of sportiness, fuel efficiency or comfort. Settings of engine, suspension and steering wheel all can be changed to give you the desired ride.

We’ve all seen just how capable are SUVs from the brand when it comes to off-road conditions, and with the 3 off-road modes the Velar is sure to satisfy the adventure enthusiast within you. The torque-on-demand all-wheel-drive (AWD) system promises to deliver all-terrain performance and agility with good ride quality and composure. And then there are the famed Terrain Response 2 and All-Terrain Progress Control for the much needed control.

The Velar is a great example of what cars from the brand have been till now and what they will be in the future. By saying that we mean the famed technical capabilities that have defined SUVs from the brand and it also has all the modern gadgetry that will define cars from the future. The starting price is around Rs. 80 lakh but you keep going higher up and the top variants cost well over a crore. So this means value for money where it starts but not really where it ends.

Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars.