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Review: Range Rover Velar D300 R-Dynamic HSE

2018-03-22 08:41

Sean Parker

Image: Warren Wilson

Cape Town - The latest SUV from the British/ Indian automaker is undoubtedly a looker. In fact, the new Range Rover Velar has more presence than 'The Rock' on a IMAX screen. 

But what is Land Rover offering with this model? We spent a week with the D300 HSE model to find out. 

Firstly, where does it fit in? 

It's slightly smaller than the Range Rover Sport, just 47mm shorter in length and 75mm shorter in width. It therefore slots in between the Sport and the Evoque. Well, that was easy. (It’s also arguably the best looking of the three). 

Which engines does it have? 

You can choose from a duo of four-cylinder Ingenium diesels; 132kW and 177kW variants, along with two petrol engines delivering 184kW/365Nm and 221kW/400Nm.

There's also a 280kW supercharged V6 petrol engine and a V6 diesel unit with 700Nm. 

                                                                   Image: Wheels24 / Warren Wilson 

The engine powering our test unit was a 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbodiesel with 221kW and 700Nm. It has sufficient grunt to overtake lethargic hatchbacks in Long Street. It uses an 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox that’s super smooth. For the record, it’ll hit 100km/h from standstill in a claimed 6.5 seconds. 

Our test car was fitted with optional satin chromed paddle-shifts and the only time I used them was on a blast around Signal Hill. Leave it in ‘drive’ and potter around the city and climb the pavement in Green Point when ColdPlay are in town. 

But it looks so fancy, can it even off-road bru? 

Totally. It’s fitted with the firm’s second-generation Terrain Response system as well as All Terrain Progress Control. Via the large touchscreen there are a myriad of modes that set up the vehicle to drive over sand, mud, gravel and road. I never took the Velar off the beaten track, mainly because it felt so at home in the city. 

So, it’s got air suspension as standard, which puts ground clearance at a lofty 251mm. You only drove it in the city? Isn’t that wasting a car with 4x4 capabilities? 

                                                       Image: Wheels24 / Warren Wilson

We’re city people, well most people are, because that’s where we live, work and mostly play. So, all I’m saying is, you’re more likely to see a Velar parked outside Shimmy Beach than trawling up an Atlantis sand dune. 

Cool, so it’s packed with features because it’s the HSE model, right? 

Correct. Let’s begin in the front: the seats can be manoeuvred electronically in 18 different directions, oh and they’re heated and cooled. Let’s not forget the massage function. Is this why affluent people always look so relaxed? 

There’s a long list of features on this model, including: a Wi-Fi Hotspot feature, adaptive cruise control that allows you to maintain the speed of the car in front, an electronic tailgate function that can be used handsfree, blindspot monitor, a navigation system and assistance via cameras for parallel and perpendicular parking. 

                                                   Image: Wheels24 / Warren Wilson

Alright, so it’s an impressive piece of kit, but it must have a hectic price tag? 

Well, yeah. It’s a premium product that is arguably all the car you need. Our test unit retails for R1.35-million, which is a chunk of change. That doesn't seem to halt South Africans from parking one in their security estate driveway. 

337 Velars found new homes in 2017, bear in mind the SUV was launched in November. In January (the poorest year of the month), 99 Velars were sold and in February that figure dropped slightly to 88. Not bad, not bad at all. 

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