What is it?
It’s the chance to answer a burning question. When JLR launched the new mid-range Range Rover Velar, it made very clear that four-cylinder diesel models would be available, but there were none to test at launch. Now the four-pot Velar D240 is with us in the UK – so we took our first chance to discover how well the model worked when powered by JLR’s own-brand 2.0-litre, 237bhp four-cylinder twin-turbo Ingenium diesel engine.
Several weeks ago we declared the 296bhp Dagenham-built V6 diesel model beautiful, refined, capable – and bordering on the overpriced. Opting for the four-pot slashes £4000 off the total price, but what does that mean for performance and smoothness? And an SUV that still costs close to £70,000 isn’t usually powered by an engine as ordinary as a 2.0-litre diesel: would this D240 perform well enough to allow us to forget that fact?
We already had some experience. We’d tried this engine in the new Land Rover Discovery and found it to be extremely refined. But when my colleagues tried it in a Jaguar F-Pace (which uses a near-identical, all-aluminium body-chassis architecture) they were less impressed – even if experience has taught us that two models that use different sets of the same components can be quite different in character. Range Rover majors more on comfort than Jaguar-style sportiness, so only a decent drive was going to answer the question.