Land Rover’s interior designers have been winning plaudits for seminal interior designs since the early 1990s and the Range Rover before last, but even in the light of these, their new Velar cabin design looks like something very special.
Set aside for a moment the fact that Jaguar Land Rover’s florid descriptions of its own achievements are becoming something of a self-parody: these designers are undoubtedly better at deeds than words.
The simplicity and elegance of the Velar’s fascia treatment seems certain to go straight to the top of the class, and to apply urgent pressure in two directions: on brands that see themselves as Land Rover rivals (BMWs, in particular, are drab by comparison) and on every other Land Rover product, which must surely adopt the same philosophies as soon as production schedules allow.
What’s special? It’s the simplicity, really. Design chief Gerry McGovern is fond of the word ‘reductionism’, by which he means a move to keep the number of cabin switches to “an absolute minimum” and use two panoramic 10in TFT screens — one ahead of the driver, one in the centre console — to control most functions. The central console functions are handled through a pair of expensive-looking black knobs that light up magically as soon as you move them.
McGovern’s other achievement is to convey an impression of build quality and materials quality that are better than anyone else's.
You do this, he says, via relentless attention to detail, a technique he says has been applied to the whole of the cockpit design, including seats and trim. Bear in mind that we’ve seen only a couple of Velars so far, so what follows is quite a mouthful, but I’m tempted to say the Velar’s unique mix of elegance, simplicity, quality and functionality has lessons for literally anyone who puts a dashboard in a luxury car, including Rolls-Royce, Bentley and the rest.