The Velar is instantly recognisable as a Range Rover; the shared familial details, proportions and massing are all present. Yet look again and the calm simplicity of the design approach shines through. Under the watch of chief design officer Gerry McGovern, Range Rover has taken an approach that's best described by the word ‘reductionism’, stripping away any unnecessary complexity to lay bare the quality of design and materials. Such a philosophy can't be achieved in the design studio alone; it requires a commitment and an effort from both designers and engineers. For surfaces and radii to be as pure and unencumbered as possible and for elements like the flush door handles and copper-coloured accents to make the leap from conceptual flourish to production reality requires coherent, long-term collaboration and a shared obsession with the minutae of elegance.
The Velar excels at doing less. From the outside in, this is a singular design statement, appearing hewn from a single billet of aluminium. McGovern and his team have worked hard to exercise restraint, from the calm sanctuary of the modernist interior, with its elegant surfaces, minimal controls, effortlessly easy touch screen control surfaces and spacious, cosseting accommodation. The Velar also does things differently. For once, a premium car is proud to demonstrate that you don't need wood and leather to create a sophisticated ambience. Range Rover’s industry first collaboration with Denmark’s celebrated design textile manufacturer Kvadrat has resulted in a highly sustainable wool-blend textile that adds a tactile quality reminiscent of high-end modern furniture. Elsewhere, embossed and cut motifs subtly break up surfaces to add a premium feel.
Externally, the Velar offers instant Range Rover recognition, thanks to the long clamshell bonnet, shallow cabin-like glasshouse and long wheelbase with short overhangs. Slimline LED lights slot into the feature line that runs the full length of the car, while the pronounced shoulder line marks the distinct separation of cabin and body. Large wheels – up to optional 22” – fill the wheel arches with no loss of ability either on-road or off. Yet the Velar is also unlike any Range Rover that's gone before. The steep windscreen angle, millimetre-perfect panel gaps, sleek Matrix-Laser LED lights (optional) and flush-fitting door handles – which extend as you approach – give the car a svelte, shrink-wrapped look. The Velar’s smooth, dynamic profile that highlights Range Rover’s long experience of lightweight aluminium construction. Daylight running light and animated direction indicators further animate the car and emphasise its technology-driven character.
It's been nearly half a century since the first Range Rover arrived, instantly exceeding all expectations of what an SUV could be. Intelligence and innovation has created a worthy descendant in the Velar, a car that combines raw ability with elegance and grace, as intuitive and swift to operate as the latest smartphone and as desirable and accomplished as a piece of contemporary architecture. The Range Rover Velar is a luxury SUV for a new generation.