CHARM OF­FEN­SIVE

Style Magazine - - Motoring - BY CRAIG DUFF

The ar­rival of the Range Rover Evoque in 2011 sig­nalled a new de­sign di­rec­tion for the Range Rover brand, which in­spired the cre­ation of the Ve­lar.

The brand that built its rep­u­ta­tion on boxy but lux­u­ri­ous SUVS with se­ri­ous off-road ca­pa­bil­ity switched the fo­cus to a sleek, slick city ve­hi­cle that could eas­ily ven­ture down a bush road if re­quired.

More than 600,000 Evoque sales later, Range Rover is grow­ing the “ur­ban SUV” con­cept with a fourth model, the Ve­lar, which sits be­tween the Evoque and Range Rover Sport.

There are 50 Ve­lar vari­a­tions to choose from, rang­ing in price from $70,662 for the base 2.0-litre petrol turbo to $168,862 for the su­per­charged V6 First Edi­tion ver­sion.

Choose from four trim lev­els for each of the six en­gines (three diesel, three petrol).

Fi­nally, the six-cylin­der diesel and petrol en­gines can be or­dered in First Edi­tion guise, which is a Ve­lar “with the lot”. The price grows ac­cord­ingly to $168,250 for the oil burner and $168,862 for the V6 petrol.

Be­ing com­pe­tent on the tar­mac and ca­pa­ble on rut­ted fire trails is the Ve­lar’s party trick.

The car is the­atre quiet at free­way speeds, es­pe­cially on the 20-inch rims stan­dard on the four-cylin­der mod­els. The steer­ing is im­pres­sively di­rect and quick to re­spond to in­puts. The en­gine choice de­ter­mines whether progress is mod­er­ate or mean­ing­ful. The su­per­charged V6 petrol is pre­dictably quick off the mark; the turbo six-cylin­der diesel isn’t as fast ini­tially but cruises ef­fort­lessly up any in­cline.

This car will tra­verse trails that most sane own­ers will never con­tem­plate in their pres­tige wagon and it does it in a typ­i­cally un­flus­tered Rangie fash­ion.

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