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Auto Review: Uptown Rover

Nate Chapnick | October 12, 2017 | Story Travel

Without question, the recent vehicles masterminded by Land Rover’s Chief Design Officer Gerry McGovern are nothing short of rolling visual masterpieces. Few modern vehicles, especially sport utility vehicles, actually look better with age. Range Rovers, of course, have been the exception—with their stately look only becoming more dignified with time. Now, McGovern and his team of designers have created an all-new Range Rover, the 2018 Velar. Slotting between the compact Evoque and the 5+2 passenger Range Rover Sport, the Velar offers seating for five and go-anywhere Range Rover capability, all wrapped in shimmering sheet metal that’s as seductive as it is timeless.

Sitting on optional 22-inch rims, the Velar makes a powerful entrance with its broad stance and taut, clean lines. Flush deployable door handles add to the Velar’s minimalist look and contribute to its slippery profile, which, at 0.32 coefficient of drag, is the most aerodynamic Land Rover ever built. Superslim LED headlights make a lasting first impression up front, while burnished-copper body accents catch your eye from the side.

The Velar’s minimalist exterior design continues inside, where McGovern virtually eliminated physical buttons from the center console. Instead, a new Touch Pro Duo infotainment system debuts with two high-definition 10-inch touch screens, putting everything you could imagine at your fingertips. When one screen displays the navigation route, the lower screen can display climate control or vehicle settings. Likewise, a 12.3-inch instrument screen is fully customizable and works in tandem with a heads-up display to keep your attention fixed on the road ahead. What’s equally impressive is the Velar’s array of storage areas, from its oversize cooled glovebox to the large water bottle holders in the doors. Out of sight and out of mind, but close at hand.

Under the hood, the Velar First Edition packs quite the punch. A supercharged V-6 engine comes standard and develops 380 horsepower, which is routed to all four wheels through Land Rover’s updated Terrain Response 2 system. This latest version senses the surface area the vehicle is traversing, then automatically selects the ideal vehicle settings without requiring any driver input, resulting in sure-footed starts no matter the conditions. Mash the pedal from a complete stop and the Velar scoots to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds, the pleasant whine of its supercharger a reminder of its performance capability.

Look for the Velar First Edition to hit dealers later this fall. The lower-priced standard Range Rover Velars will also hit the market in fall, with prices starting at $49,900 for the base SE models.

2018 Range Rover Velar First Edition

Base Price: $89,300
Engine: 3.0-liter supercharged V-6
Transmission: 8-Speed
Automatic Horsepower: 380 hp @ 6,500 rpm
Torque: 332 lb.-ft. @ 3,500 rpm
Cargo Capacity: 70.1 cu. ft.
City Fuel Economy: 18 mpg EPA est.
Highway Fuel Economy: 24 mpg EPA est.
Fuel Tank: 16.6 gal.
Weight: 4,217 lbs.
0 to 60 mph: 5.6 seconds
Top Speed: 155 mph
Fab Features: Superslim LED headlights. Flush deployable door handles. Advanced Tow Assist for easy trailer reversing

Originally published in the September/October issue of Silicon Valley

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