Jonathan Solomons - The Range Rover Velar exceeds expectations, breaks boundaries and brings together art and engineering, producing a masterpiece in design and performance. The Velar is unlike anything to ever have tread this earth on four wheels. The unveiling of the Velar suited every aspect and characteristic of the car down to a T.
After a scenic drive from Franschhoek to Stellenbosch, the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden was the setting for the launch.Touring the sculpture's huge garden where Lewis's artworks are placed strategically, you are taken on a journey until you reach the dining area on top of the hill, where the star of the night awaited, perched on her pedestal.
The first thing to catch your eye is the simplistic, yet tasteful and elegant design of the exterior. Staying true to the Range design, the Velar embodies a more modern and fresher feel than its predecessors.
Designed, engineered and made by over 15 000 people, the goal was clear – to create a car of timeless beauty. Gerry McGovern, chief design engineer, said the aim was to create something out of the ordinary, unique with its own character.
The concept of the Velar was shaped around reductionism, explaining a lot about its design aspects. “I've always been on the view that less is more, which strives towards a reductive approach which allows you to create something that is much more pure,” McGovern noted.
Exteriors creative director of the Velar, Massimo Frascella, shares those sentiments. “I believe in the purity of design. I believe in simplicity, which is the hardest thing in design, but is also the aspect that will give you timeless quality,” he said.
Another astonishing part of the exterior design would be the deploying door handles, which adds to the sleekness of the Velar, and can also break through several inches of snow, designed to withstand the harsh conditions of European countries such as Russia.
The design aspects do not end there. The luxurious leather seats in either black or white, are just the tip of the ice-berg. The fully touch screen infotainment system is an all new for Range Rover and adds a special touch concerning the interior design.
“What we wanted to do was make listening to music an enjoyable experience,” said new-generation, acoustic engineer Paula Murphy. Tasked with crafting the Velar's premium sound, Murphy had to deal with various surfaces which both absorb and reflect sound and find a way with balancing this.
Besides making the music sound good in the vehicle, the noise reduction on the Velar is phenomenal as the outside world is completely shut out, giving a moments of pure bliss while driving through the rainy conditions and heavy traffic the Western Cape has to offer. Coming to a standstill at a traffic jam, the massaging seats of the Velar took away the stress immediately.
Hearing the Range Rover name, you wouldn't expect anything other than optimal performance, on and off-road. The Velar lives up to that standard no doubt. On a rainy gravel road, the Velar shows no less quality.
Acceleration and brake force of the Velar is standard and comparable to most of the other Range Rover models, however adds has a more sporty and luxurious feel. Driving through green countryside is certainly a pleasure in this vehicle.
Having said that, despite it's off-road capabilities, is this vehicle really made for driving through the bush, risking getting scratches on the paint, or mud all over the interior? Perhaps not.
The Range Rover Velar is without any doubt, the most enjoyable and lovely to drive out of the family. It's design quality as well as performance capabilities make allow it to be an appealing vehicle for a broader spectrum of Range Rover enthusiasts.