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REVIEW | The Range Rover Velar SVA is a 405kW luxury SUV

2020-01-23 18:00

Sean Parker

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Image: Motorpress

Niche - an opportunity to sell a particular product to a particular group of people. 

The car industry is a fan of niches, in fact, if they could they'd conceptualise a car for every conceivable niche.

Which brings me nicely onto a niche vehicle from Land Rover, who decided to build a convertible version of the Range Rover Evoque, a car that is a niche product in its own right. 

It doesn't make sense and frankly wasn't great to drive either. Now, Range Rover has produced a niche vehicle that does make better sense. 

The Velar Special Vehicles Autobiography (SVA) is a luxurious SUV powered by a rather snarling 5.0-litre V8 supercharged engine producing 405kW and 680Nm. 

The Velar is similar to Prince Harry, born into British car royalty, but isn't afraid of ruffling the establishment. Oh, and the proletariat adores him. He is not deemed to be a prancy royal like the rest of the family. 

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Image: Motorpress

If you're struggling to place the Velar in Range Rover's stable, according to the brand it slots between the Evoque and Sport models. 

Measuring in at close to five metres long and two metres wide, the Velar has bucket loads of presence. Its narrow windows and sleek C-pillar give it a rakish look in comparison to its siblings. 

But this isn't an ordinary Velar, the exterior has to match what the team at Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) have done underneath the bonnet.

Larger air intakes dominate the front bumper, there's a new grille and crazy-low side moldings in combination with a newer rear bumper that house the four exhaust tips. It features a variable active exhaust system that churns out a deeply satisfying rumble when switched on. 

The super SUV runs on 21-inch wheels and features massive brakes (395mm in the front and 396mm in the rear) to halt proceedings when needed. 

Inside, it's super lush and tech-heavy (Touch Pro Duo infotainment system) with touchscreens, a rotary gear lever and drive mode buttons. It still errs on the side of luxury rather than sporty. 

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Ímage: Motorpress

The Velar SVA's V8 dominates the experience like a slice of pepperoni on a mini pizza, it's loud and barges into any situation. All the while you're cocooned in ultra-luxury leather, wood, and high-quality materials. 

Its dynamic ability is hindered by the loftiness (1.6m tall) and not-so-super-direct steering. I also feel it has its place among the bevy of performance SUVs on the market. 

The Velar SVA fills the niche of wanting something super luxurious and commanding but also sounds like thunder and capable of scooting from 0-100km/h in less than five seconds. 

At just over R1.7-million, the Velar SVA delivers to a very particular niche and crucially one that's growing. 

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