By Mike Torpey on 2018-07-08 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Range Rover Velar
D300 R-Dynamic HSE
THERE was a time when Land Rover really had something to hide.
We need to hark back to the tail end of Swinging Sixties when the brand was developing the original Range Rover - and wanted to keep its name a secret.
So they decided to call the model Velare which, appropriately, is Latin for hide. Now that name has been resurrected, minus the e on the end, and graces the most aerodynamic Range Rover yet.
The Velar bridges the gap between the popular Evoque and full-size Range Rover Sport but looks appreciably more elegant and streamlined than either of these stablemates - it's a real headturner.
With door handles flush to the bodywork, a press on the key fob sees them pop out as you approach the car, then retract at 5mph.
And if you think the car's exterior with its thin LED headlights looks striking, it's the Velar's cabin quality that really raises the bar.
A classy high tech but minimalist design sees most of the switches replaced by a pair of 10-inch touchscreen panels in the middle of the dashboard.
Press the start/stop button and the screens come alive with all the car's technology via full colour graphics and a 12.3-inch high definition digital instrument panel plus head-up display.
Driver and passengers are cossetted in perforated leather luxury - and if you have a bad back the massage mode will ease any knots - though space for a centre rear passenger is compromised by the wide transmission tunnel.
Otherwise there's lots of room for oddments and boot space, ranging from 632 to 1,731 litres, is top notch.
While the entry grade version, from Â£44,830, is powered by a four-cylinder 2.0-litre diesel engine from Jaguar Land Rover's Ingenium family, our tested variant came with the stronger 3.0 V6 oil-burner that suits the car extremely well.
This may be a mid-size vehicle but it's still quite heavy - a weightiness you can feel through the steering - and the V6 is both strong and economical.
It is also near silent and works well with the Velar's eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox, while the car feels smooth on the road - even when featuring the 21-inch wheels included on the upmarket HSE trim grade.
Tech like four-wheel drive, hill descent control, adaptive damping and Land Rover's multi-mode terrain response set-up are standard on every Velar and higher spec models also get air suspension.
In Comfort mode the ride is compliant and cossetting, ironing out bumps with ease, while the Dynamic setting stiffens the suspension.
Ground clearance is more than eight inches, almost 10 inches with the variable air suspension and the Velar has a safe wading limit of around two feet.
Range Rover Velar D300 R-Dynamic HSE
Mechanical: 300bhp, 2,993cc, 6cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 150mph
0-62mph: 6.5 seconds
Combined MPG: 44.1
Insurance Group: 46
C02 emissions: 167g/km
Bik rating: 37%
Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles
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