TO some extent the Range Rover Velar sneaked-up on the automotive world.
There had been talk of a Range RoverEvoque‘plus' arriving on the scene.
Then came the Velar.
Its subtle and semi-secretive arrival was perhaps worthy of its name.
Land Rover said the origin of the Velar name - pronounced ‘vel-ar' - dates back to the first Range Rover prototypes of the 1960s.
When development engineers needed to hide the true identity of the 26 pre-production Range Rovers, they chose the name Velar, derived from the Latin velaris which means to veil or cover.
But the full story is fascinating and involves an element of industrial subterfuge worthy of MI5.
Paranoid about the press revealing its new projects, Rover actually formed a dummy company, located in the south east, purely to register its prototype vehicles.
This meant they wouldn't carry the distinctive Warwickshire number plates, monitored by the motoring press.
The Velar name came from a surprising source.
The Italian wife of a Rover senior manager suggested that the name of this company should be ‘Velar', coming from the Italian ‘velare' meaning ‘hidden'.
The Velar effectively bridges the very large gap between the Range RoverEvoqueand Range Rover Sport.
It's a handsome looking beast for sure, arguably the best looking vehicle in the Range Rover line-up.
I'd even be so bold as to suggest it has the makings of a modern classic.
Such a model also makes perfect sense for a growing car maker like Jaguar Land Rover as it seeks to expand its model line-up.
To all intents and purposes it is Land Rover's version of the Jaguar F-Pace and the two models share much in common.
However the two have very different characters visually and the designers have done a good job of setting them apart.
Jaguar Land Rover has specialised in some quirky design features over the years and the stand-out one on the Velar is its door handles, which pop out when the vehicle is unlocked.
It's also benefitted from a first for the car maker with the debut of the new duo-touch twin screen infotainment system.
This is a distinctly classy and stylish piece of kit that will no doubt be rolled out across the range in due course.
The opulent feel continues throughout the roomy cabin, with quality most definitely to the fore.
Engine-wise there's an array to choose from but the biggest seller is likely to be the 2.0-litre Ingenium unit which comes in two power variants - 178bhp or 237bhp.
Although the Velar has a road-going focus, like all Land Rovers it is a capable off-roader should the occasion demand it, though it's hard to imagine many will see use as mud-pluggers.
As an on-road driving experience the Velar certainly delivers. It has a big car executive kind of feel and is wonderfully comfortable on long journeys be they on A roads or motorways.
Compared to the Range Rover or Range Rover Sport it may be small but there's no escaping it is still quite a bulky and heavy vehicle and you'll experience some pitch and roll if you start throwing it around bends at high speed.