TICK THE JEW­ELLERY BOXES Dar­ling! It’s easy to add $50K of op­tions to a Ve­lar

The Northern Star - - MOTORING - IAIN CURRY & JULES LUCHT

Range Rover’s Ve­lar has upped the style ante in the pres­tige SUV world, win­ning awards as one of the sharpest de­signs of re­cent times. A mas­sive model range with con­fus­ingly long names (such as Ve­lar R-Dynamic SE P300) plus seem­ingly in­fi­nite ex­pen­sive op­tions bog­gle the mind but our fam­ily of testers braved a loaded luxe-filled ex­am­ple to ex­pe­ri­ence the good life.

FIRST IM­PRES­SIONS

IAIN: This is the best-look­ing SUV in the world. JULES: Brave call but I’m strug­gling to think of other SUVs this glam­orous and el­e­gant.

IAIN: The Ve­lar won 2018 World Car De­sign of the Year, thanks to its coupe-es­que sil­hou­ette, slim LED head­lights, wrap­around rear lights — and how cool are flush door han­dles that pop out when you un­lock it?

JULES: Love them. Prob­a­bly wouldn’t if they broke though, lock­ing me out.

IAIN: British en­gi­neer­ing here, noth­ing to fear. I love the shape but not sure about how very gang­ster our one looks.

JULES: Black body, wheels, roof rails, door han­dles, badges and grille. My friends asked, in no par­tic­u­lar or­der, whether I’m a drug dealer, rap­per or English Premier League player now.

IAIN: That’s the R-Dynamic Black Pack, yours for $2180. Guess how much the op­tions cost on this Ve­lar?

JULES: Well, our one is $104,750 al­ready, so surely there’s not much to add?

IAIN: Wrong. A mighty $50K of op­tions here. You get rea­son­able kit as stan­dard but the luxe in ours adds the price of a range-top­ping Mazda CX-5.

JULES: Ouch. Who buys a Ve­lar? IAIN: Wealthy stylish types. They start from $70K but buy­ers al­ways spend more and they have 40 dif­fer­ent se­lec­tions. Lu­di­crous. The Ve­lar fits be­tween the Evoque and Sport in Range Rover’s line-up and ri­vals the Porsche Macan, Jaguar F-Pace and Mercedes GLE.

THE LIV­ING SPACE

JULES: It feels like a $150,000 car in­side; truly spe­cial.

IAIN: Wow fac­tor per­son­i­fied. If money’s no ob­ject, tick­ing the op­tions boxes makes you feel very im­por­tant.

JULES: With such a black body, hav­ing twotone colours in­side is ideal, with lots of tan and black leather and suede for seats, doors and dash­board.

IAIN: Pre­pare your­self. The cli­mate con­trol mas­sage seats move 20 dif­fer­ent ways for an ex­tra $8570. Wind­sor per­fo­rated leather and an ex­tended leather up­grade adds an­other $3110 and cabin car­bon-fi­bre fin­ish is $3020.

JULES: But it’s all so comfy, lux­u­ri­ous and the car­bon sparkles beau­ti­fully in the sun.

IAIN: It is easy to be wooed by the beau­ti­ful fin­ish. Two 10-inch touch­screens are bang on trend but com­bined with the pi­ano black sur­rounds the cabin is very re­flec­tive in the sun and shows up all the dust and fin­ger­prints.

JULES: Ve­lar own­ers have staff, I’m sure, to keep things clean.

THE COM­MUTE

IAIN: The screens and func­tion­al­ity are great when you get used to them but you have to learn quickly to nav­i­gate through ev­ery­thing.

JULES: The voice con­trol didn’t al­ways work for me so I spent a lot of time not watch­ing the road try­ing to ad­just ven­ti­la­tion and me­dia. I miss sim­ple but­tons…

IAIN: The drive is su­perb though. What a pam­per­ing place to go to work. With elec­tronic air sus­pen­sion ($2010) and whis­per-quiet in­su­la­tion, it is limou­sine-like for cruis­ing.

JULES: It’s prop­erly fast too — and just a four­cylin­der?

IAIN: Tur­bocharged, and good for 221kW/ 400Nm. It means you fly off the line and it’s all the per­for­mance you’d ever need.

JULES: One com­plaint — the in­di­ca­tors are clunky-sound­ing noisy things, ru­in­ing the seren­ity of the cabin.

THE SHOP­PING

IAIN: I no­ticed you headed off to the fancy shops in Bris­bane in the Ve­lar.

JULES: It looks bet­ter out­side bou­tiques than parked at Big W.

IAIN: With a power ges­ture tail­gate and de­cent 558L boot space, it is a prac­ti­cal thing.

JULES: It’s not a big SUV and easy to park with the sur­round view cam­eras, even if they were a bit slow to load.

SUN­DAY RUN

IAIN: Rangie re­fuses to make a car without of­froad nous. This thing has Ter­rain Re­sponse to cover you over ev­ery sur­face, will wade wa­ter to a class-lead­ing 650mm and tows 2500kg. You can op­tion even more hard­core off-road kit too.

JULES: Off-road? Re­ally? How many Ve­lar own­ers will go get dirty?

IAIN: None with the 22-inch rims and low­pro­file tyres (an­other $2860) ours has. But it’s nice to know you can.

JULES: It’s re­ally balanced for an SUV. I could throw it into cor­ners with con­fi­dence. My Sun­day drive would be on back roads as this en­gine is a rapid de­light.

THE FAM­ILY

IAIN: The boot’s good for kid­die stuff but the back seat’s not as wide as the ex­te­rior size sug­gests. No adult could fit be­tween our two kids’ car seats.

JULES: The safety kit is ideal with fam­i­lies in mind. We used 11L/100km, which isn’t great for the fam­ily bud­get.

THE VER­DICT

IAIN: Op­tion costs are com­i­cal but I’m sold on the Ve­lar. Stan­dard kit is good enough, there’s lux­ury in spades, it drives bet­ter than any SUV should and I don’t think I’d ever tire of the looks.

JULES: Stun­ning and el­e­gant in­side and out with the re­quired spe­cial el­e­ments pres­tige buy­ers de­mand. Our test Ve­lar may be hugely ex­pen­sive but feels worth ev­ery penny.

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