LAND Rover is looking to a cleaner, greener future with the arrival of plug-in hybrid technology for its flagship Range Rover Velar model.
As well as the Velar PHEV, a range of mild hybrids are also now available with new 3.0-litre straight-six Ingenium petrol and diesel engines.
These join a cleaner four-cylinder diesel engine - also with mild hybrid technology and customers have plenty of choice when it comes to trim levels.
The Velar line-up is priced from Â£47,205 and tops out at Â£71,020. Obviously, as is the premium car maker's way, you can personalise your vehicle with a whole host of optional packs and extra features, but expect the cost to rise quite dramatically along the way.
A new feature to Velar is the impressive Pivi and Pivi Pro infotainment systems featuring crisp graphics and fast responses via two integrated 10-inch touchscreens. All software updates are carried out over-the-air keeping the car bang up to date at all times.
Most features can be accessed quickly from the home screen and it's possible to pair two smartphones via Bluetooth at the same time. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard and expect to see features such as a 3D camera system, heated seats and steering wheel, a pitch perfect Meridian sound system and lots more besides.
Boasting a modern, sophisticated design, the Velar is on sale with an attractive new paintwork shade called Lantau Bronze, which is exclusive to the car.
Another improvement worth noting is the active road noise cancellation system which works similarly to noise cancelling headphones. The system detects the irritating sounds from road and tyre noise and calculates the cancellation signal required to remove the noise heard by occupants and then plays it back through the speakers. It also adapts the level and position of the sounds played back according to the number of occupants inside the car. Clever stuff.
Comfort levels are sublime and there is space in the back for three adults to sit comfortably. Storage options are impressive too with a boot capacity of 748 litres, increasing to 1,811 litres with the rear seats dropped. These limits are reduced slightly to 625 and 1,693 litres on the PHEV model as the battery pack is stored beneath the boot.
We tried the new Velar P400e PHEV in S specification costing £61,770. This model was powered by a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine with a 17.1kWh battery for plug-in hybrid technology, delivering 404PS and 640Nm of torque with an electric-only range of up to 33 miles.
With all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission, it could reach from 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds and has a maximum speed of 130mph. According to official figures, under stricter WLTP testing, it could deliver up to a combined 130.2mpg with carbon emissions from 49g/km.
Clearly the mpg figure would only be a realistic achievement if the vehicle were driven in EV mode for a high percentage of its miles so expect to see a much more sensible real life figure in day-to-day driving.
There are three drive modes called EV mode for pure electric-only motoring, Hybrid mode which automatically combines the petrol engine with electric drive to maximise efficiency and Save mode which prioritises the combustion engine to store the existing battery charge for later use.
When it comes to performance, the Velar PHEV is a beautifully balanced vehicle with a real edge for driving dynamics. The acceleration is smooth and very rapid as it reaches motorway speed limits in the blink of an eye.
The road holding is confident and the cabin is protected against any engine, road surface or wind noise.
The interior is comfortable, elegant and feature-rich with the all-new infotainment system proving very easy on the eye and user friendly.
The battery can be charged from 0-80 per cent via a rapid charger in just 30 minutes or 1 hour 40 minutes from a standard 7kW wallbox.
We also sampled the Velar D300 MHEV in R-Dynamic SE trim. This diesel driven model with a 3.0-litre, six-cylinder Ingenium engine with 300PS could complete the 0-62mph dash in 6.5 seconds, maxed out at 144mph and could achieve a combined 38.2mpg with CO2 emissions from 194g/km. It also had an eight-speed automatic gearbox and carried a price-tag of £63,105.
Once again, this car was a pure delight out on the open road with perfectly weighted steering and excellent driver visibility. We even had the opportunity to take both Velar models away from the comfort of the Tarmac and put them through their paces off road.
Although, it's not in the same league as the hardy Discovery, the Velar is very capable when it comes to traversing boggy trails, climbing slippery hills and descending muddy drops with confidence.
Safety specifications are comprehensive with the likes of lane keep assist, blind spot assist, rear traffic monitor, wade sensing, traffic sign recognition and the excellent Terrain Response system for dealing with any of Mother Nature's more severe mood swings.
All in all, the latest Range Rover Velar not only looks stunning in its styling, but it boasts state-of-the-art on-board technology and all the luxury you could wish for - all powered by cleaner engines.