What is it?

Some cars demand attention.

Range Rover Velar is one of them, with its killer good looks and kick arse performance.

It’s just as exciting inside too, with plenty of toys to play with, including a configurable dash and stunning centre console with two large integrated touchscreens.

All this and it hasn’t left the security of the carpark yet, let alone gets its tyres dirty.

In terms of size, the newest addition to the Range Rover range sits between Evoque and Sport, and shares a platform with cousin the Jaguar F-Pace.

What’s it cost?

Prices for Velar kick off at $71,550 for the D180 diesel, rising through the ranks to $135,762 for the top of the line supercharged R-Dynamic HSE P380 — you guessed it — the one we’re talking about here.

Top dollar gets you a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol engine, eight-speed automatic with paddle shifts and a prodigious amount of off road ability — although few examples will ever see the likes of a dirt road.

No, sir. The Velar is all about looking good, sitting out front and eclipsing whatever family, friends and neighbours might be driving.

Standard kit includes the usual leather and climate controlled airconditioning, along with power adjust steering wheel, 20-way adjustable seats that are both heated and cooled and will even provide a massage if desired.

You can enjoy the aforementioned magic fingers while relaxing to the soothing tones from the 825W, 17-speaker Meridian audio system.

Our test vehicle has it all including a high-definition virtual instrument cluster that will captivate geeks and non-geeks alike, allowing the driver to prioritise key information.

You can select a two-dial layout with an information panel in the centre, a one-dial layout flanked by dual information displays, or navigation with a full side to side map — the speed camera database however is out of date.

Key information such as speed, turn-by-turn navigation instructions and active safety system warnings can also be displayed with the latest-generation full-colour head-up display, although it remains all but invisible to polarised sunglasses (they haven’t worked that one out yet).

A full armoury of safety systems includes Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, Reverse Traffic Detection, and Driver Condition Monitoring.

The standard car comes with 18-inch wheels, ours was fitted with spectacular 21-inch alloys, but even these can bumped up to larger 22s as an option.

This one’s got the lot.

What’s it go like?

The sense of drama starts with the flush-fit door handles that move gently away from the body to greet approaching occupants.

Getting in for the first time I found myself pausing to take stock. I’ve driven literally thousands of expensive cars over the years, but this one still managed to take my breath away.

The stitched, perforated tobacco coloured leather upholstery would do a Rolls proud.

But some could find the cabin a bit claustrophobic, with its high sides and dash, that combined with a narrow glasshouse — feels like you’re looking over the top.

Settling into the form hugging sports buckets, a push of the button and the 3.0-litre supercharged V6 springs to life.

The rotary gear selector has been retained, but most knobs and switches have been absorbed by the seriously impressive centre console with its twin  touchscreens.

Boasting 280kW of power and 450Nm of torque, there’s enough chutzpah to catapult the car from rest to 100km/h in a scant 5.7 seconds and on to an electronically-limited top speed of 250km/h.

At the same time fuel consumption is rated at a claimed 9.4L/100km (we were getting 10.5 after our stint behind the wheel).

Driving at night is a treat too, with the LED headlights some of the brightest we’ve encountered, lighting up the road ahead like searchlights, with a dash that lights up like a Christmas tree too.

Acceleration is rapid and smooth, and the car sits remarkably flat in corners — but whatever exhaust note they’ve crafted, it doesn’t do the experience justice — oh for a V8?

Air suspension is standard on this and other six-cylinder models, along with with Adaptive Dynamics damping technology.

Pumped up it delivers something like 251mm of ground clearance, but we’dve never been big fans of the pillows and would have been just as happy with coil springs — the ride is overly twitchy for our liking.

The steering wheel features touch-sensitive capacative switches, but they tend to be a little too sensitive at times, jumping to the next selection before you can hit enter.

The gesture-controlled power tailgate makes loading bulky or heavy objects easier and more convenient — like adaptive cruise, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.

What we like?

  • Wow factor
  • Looks boss
  • Advanced technology
  • Will make the neighbours jealous

What we don’t?

  • The price
  • Twitchy ride
  • Air suspension
  • Finicky wheel switches

 

The bottom line?

Looks amazing. Not to big and not too small, with a price to match — it really is the Goldilocks of Range Rovers.

 

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.