What is it?
You may have heard it’s possible to spend rather a lot of money on a Range Rover Velar – the model that slots into the marque's range between the Evoque and the Sport.
If you haven’t, here’s a reminder: the top-spec P380 costs more than £70,000, which is enough to put a well-equipped Range Rover Sport SDV6 – more refined, more capable but, we’ll admit, not as chic – on your drive with change for 30,000 miles’ worth of diesel.
It’s enough to have you panning down the price list wondering which would be the least compelling engine you can get away with. And, frankly, there’s nothing to stop you from saving £25,000 and choosing the entry-level D180. Nothing, that is, except the fact that the overall appeal of the motorshow-concept-made-real Velar is unusually susceptible to what lurks beneath its long aluminium bonnet.
Its aura of luxurious, long-legged athleticism – conjured by a formidably attractive design both inside and within – demands performance of a certain level and nature, and it should ideally be served with as little fanfare as possible. It’s why we’d steer clear of lesser diesel variants if possible and couldn’t bring ourselves to love even the moderately powerful D240 engine on its full road test.
In short, the Velar has so far needed six cylinders to make a genuinely convincing case for itself and stand out in the competitive luxury SUV category. But that could change with the introduction of the four-cylinder petrol-engined P300 tested here.