Land Rover just squeezed another model into the Russian nesting doll that is the Range Rover lineup: The more-than-mini SUV Velar, a new entry-level model for the upscale maker of big, hulking trucks for rich people. The Velar is the Goldilocks of the lineup, a “just right” option for people who don’t need the enormous Range Rover or the funky Evoque but still believe they need a $50,000 truck capable of off-roading.
Being a Range Rover and all, the Velar promises power, off-road prowess, and pampering. Under the hood, you’ll find a 2.0-liter diesel with 180 horsepower, a 2.0-liter gas engine good for 247 horses, and, for the power-hungry, a supercharged V6 that knocks out 380 horsepower. If armageddon arrives and your escape route doesn’t include paved roads, the Velar helps out with driving modes for all sorts of terrain.
Of course you get the full suite of active safety technology, including emergency braking to keep you out of crashes. “Queue assist” lets you follow the car in front at slow speeds, so waiting to get into the shopping mall parking lot is less of a chore.
The color palette is definitely different: corris grey, silicon silver, and flux silver. Once you hop inside, prepare to get swaddled. The massaging front seats adjust in 20 directions, and you can choose from among 10 interior LED lighting schemes to fit your mood. The infotainment system features a pair of 10-inch HD touchscreens, and the driver gets a 5-inch electronic dashboard, plus a head-up display.
There’s even an “activity key” for that day you decide kayaking’s your new thing: hold it up to the tailgate the lock the vehicle, slip it on using the wristband, and get paddling.