Semi-skimmed is how we’ve previously characterised the new Range Rover Velar.
But our preferred description refers to more than just the Velar’s dimensions. Unlike its full-sized siblings, the fourth addition to the Range Rover line-up is the product of something other than Gaydon’s full-fat approach to SUVs. Because this new Range Rover is unequivocally car-based.
Its predominately aluminium platform is the same architecture used by the latest Jaguar XE and XF.
The F-Pace is an even closer blood relative, despite starting at £10,000 less than the Velar.
Naturally, four-wheel drive and Land Rover’s Terrain Response system are both standard, even at the base of the line-up – but so, too, are four-cylinder engines, coil suspension and an usually low ride height for a Range Rover.
In this garb, perhaps even more so than the stoutly mechanical Evoque, the Velar smacks of a modern, immodestly expensive crossover – the kind of car many would describe as the antithesis of Land Rover’s usual off-road-capability-centric modus operandi.
Taking a view on the philosophy behind the Velar, and where it leaves Gaydon, will be one objective of this road test.
At the outset, it’s merely possible to acknowledge a few home truths: the Velar plainly looks the part, can be had with comparatively economical Ingenium engines and can also be bought in entry-level trim from around £15,000 less than a Range Rover Sport.
Taken without any additional context, those facts alone ought to guarantee the kind of feverish new-buyer interest that the Evoque generated in 2011.
Whether or not that level of attention is actually deserved on a fitness-for-purpose basis will be the second objective of this road test.