A stylish test drive in collaboration with Muscats Motors
The new Range Rover Velar one of the most desirable SUVs you can buy is now here in Malta – and I got to test drive it three days before the official launch event by Muscats Motors. When I arrived to the showroom on Monday morning, a gorgeous Corris Grey 3.0 litre Diesel HSE model was there waiting for me. The sales manager Carlos gave me a quick briefing about some of the cool applications and gadgets it comes with and I was given the green light to take it out for a spin. After working in the automotive field for many years, feels just like home driving these beasts .. and yet why do I always get palpitations when about to drive a beautiful machine like this? Do you blame me though!
About the Range Rover Velar
The Velar was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show back in March, and named after the original prototypes of the Range Rover from five decades ago, it slots in the small gap between the Evoque and Range Rover Sport but claims a character of its own. Based on the same chassis as the Jaguar F Pace, it is physically in the middle. If we take wheelbase measurements, for example: Evoque 2660mm, Velar 2874mm, Sport 2923mm and it is similarly placed in the middle in terms of pricing – forget the listed base price, no-one ever orders a base-spec Range Rover.
Land Rover has the ability “to do things people wouldn’t expect it to do”, said chief Gerry McGovern during the launch in Geneva. “We’re still the best in off-road capability. We can use that authenticity to do other things — the most capable vehicles in an urban environment, for example. If Bentley can do an SUV, why can’t we do a luxury saloon?”
Design, Luxury & Technology
On luxury, technology and design, it’s Land Rover’s most audacious statement yet. It comes almost as long as a Sport, it sits lower and with the proportions of a limousine: long bonnet, extended rear overhang and huge wheels up to 22 inches. The sides are beautifully sculpted while slimline lights employ the latest LED technology. It feels like a fashion statement too with little detailing the likes you see on beautiful designer hand bags and shoes. Flush door handles contribute to the look and help make this the most aerodynamic Range ever. Retaining brand signatures, such as the clamshell bonnet and that kind of “floating” roof, means you won’t mistake it for any other car brand.
It has a clean and uncluttered style with subtle detailing, such as the crease line running from the front light to the back through the elongated side vents. And it’s proof that design director Gerry McGovern is to minimalist car design what Mies van der Rohe is to minimalist architecture. Land Rover calls it ‘reductionism’ and that’s even clearer in what is one of the most stunning interiors we’ve ever seen on SUVs. The traditional, clean horizontal dash is intersected by a central section running from the centre console, up to the all-new Touch Pro Duo infotainment system
Soak up this info too guys and girls as it left us wowified! Inside, switchgear has been almost eliminated in favour of two sleek touchscreens. One is curved slightly to run seamlessly with the dash, the other flows down between the two front seats. They come to life with the car’s ignition, revealing a control system that moves Land Rover a huge step forward. Needless to say, the graphics are cool, the functionality is clear and well thought-out, and the sound system is awesome .
We had endless options to choose from including massage on both my seat and the passengers so during our test drive we were purring with not only the drive but also we were being massaged on the way! That was a first for both me and photographer Carlo Jourdan who also test drove the car in the afternoon.
You do sit slightly lower than usual in a Range Rover, almost immersed in the car, and it does feels sumptuous, classy and rich especially in my opinion in the interior like we had it – in this cream interior. Love love loved it.
With regards to seating space, there is comfortable space for four persons, at a stretch five, plus a cargo area that can swallow 558 litres. I do wish that the boot space was larger as I always need more space with prams and kids toys plus loads of shopping bags every day.
Some Safety Features
On safety systems, the Velar moves into line with rivals. It brings automatic braking if the car detects an imminent collision. Clever software also helps when you need to hitch the horse float or speedboat. Feed in the trailer’s dimensions and it will steer into a parking space, too.
The Velar lacks the dual-range gearing of hardcore off-roaders but its credentials include all-wheel drive, of course, a locking rear differential and a suite of the brand’s off-road software, which means you set a dial to suit the surface and the car sets itself up to cope.
Our test drive was spread across an entire day and it included our coast road, some offroad in Mellieha and also some difficult manoevering in tricky village roads.
The Velar doesn’t break pace. Its ground clearance, frequently the limiting factor in off-roading, is a usable 213mm with coil springs or up to 251mm with the air suspension standard on V6 models. It can wade through water 65cm deep. Not that I would dare to do it in this luxury beast, but you know you can if you fancy the dip in the ocean!
Altogether this could be Team McGovern’s masterpiece, one of the cleanest, tightest, most cohesive designs on the road today. Range Rover’s only problem is it makes everything else in the line-up look dated.
The Velar now in Malta at Muscats Motors showrooms will be offered with two body styles (standard and R-Dynamic), four trim levels (standard, S, SE and HSE) and six engines. The 280kW supercharged V6 petrol version is the performance highlight, hitting 100km/h in 5.7 seconds and reaching 250km/h flat out.
You probably get the feeling that I like the Velar. But I don’t just like it – I absolutely love it. I love how it combines the adventurous, go-anywhere connotations of the Range Rover brand with the sleek, long-distance confidence of a German supersaloon. beautifully proportioned with taut surfaces and ultra-modern detailing, it’s a Range Rover for the 21st Century
It comes to me as no surprise that you will be waiting more than three months if you order a Velar now – this is one of the most desirable SUVs you can buy. It is modern, super-stylish and will pamper you with impressive levels of comfort and refinement – as well as all the same off-road capability you’ll find on a Land Rover Discovery. Of course it is not cheap and many rivals offer just as advanced technology and greater space for passengers. Regardless, I have no doubt in my mind that the Velar will be another massive hit for JLR everywhere around the globe including our tiny island in the Mediterranean.
Thank you very much Muscats Motors for this opportunity and to all my followers out there if you are looking for a high-end vehicle, well this one should be on your list to test drive! This week I will be launching a cool GIVEAWAY on Facebook with Land Rover lifestyle products in collaboration with Land Rover at Muscats Motors!
I was wearing:
Muscats Motors Ltd are the official distributors for Land Rover in Malta.
Enquiries at tel 2326 4000