To the first really tricky question the Velar must answer, then: does a four-cylinder diesel engine have any place in a £64,000 Range Rover?
To be fair to Land Rover, this isn’t the first luxury SUV priced in excess of £50,000 to rely on such an engine – and we can expect a growing proportion of luxury cars, whose antecedents probably had richer powerplants with more cylinders, to adopt similarly downsized ones.
But, here and now, does this engine do this car the kind of service needed to really distinguish the Velar? Cue the awkward silence. In some ways, JLR’s higher-output Ingenium diesel just about earns its place in the car, but in others, it falls quite a long way short.
The 237bhp motor is certainly quieter and better isolated from the cabin in the Velar than it is in a Jaguar F-Pace. It’s still a four-cylinder diesel, mind, and is inherently less smooth and hushed than the six-cylinder diesel is. But, overall, it does a respectable job on refinement, being a little bit vocal when cold and when revving hard, but never really disturbing the car’s occupants.
Less respectable is the Velar’s outright performance level. Compared with what else your money might have bought, it’s actually downright poor.
After several sets of attempts using different drive modes and transmission settings, the car recorded a 9.3sec 0-60mph two-way average, which is fully 2.5sec shy of Land Rover’s claim for it – and an even greater distance behind what we saw from an Audi Q7 3.0 TDI. For a new car to miss one of its key performance claims by so much is very rare.