PICK ME UP

On the road in a Range Rover Ve­lar P250

Fashion Quarterly - - Contents -

When I heard the new Range Rover Ve­lar P250 had been named the most beau­ti­fully de­signed ve­hi­cle on the planet*, I had to get be­hind the wheel to ex­pe­ri­ence it for my­self. Be­gin­ning with day-to-day ac­tiv­i­ties like cof­fee runs and school pick-ups, and end­ing with a lengthy road trip to the top of the bot­tom of the world, Cape Reinga, I de­cided to put it through its paces for a week.

With its rel­a­tively mod­est two-litre en­gine, the Ve­lar is classed as an en­try-level Range Rover, de­signed to be more ac­ces­si­ble to Kiwi mo­torists. But if you think the words ‘en­try level’ mean cut­ting cor­ners on de­sign and com­fort, you’re mis­taken. Some­how, even with the re­duced price point, Land Rover has man­aged to de­liver a well-rounded, pre­mium-feel­ing ve­hi­cle.

The first words that came to mind when I laid eyes on the Ve­lar were ‘luxe’ and ‘expensive’, though it can be yours for an at­trac­tive $119,900. The ex­te­rior is cer­tainly on par with the rest of the Range Rover sta­ble. Its low ceil­ing de­sign — not too dis­sim­i­lar from the Evoque — feels sporty and mod­ern. It has the sig­na­ture Range Rover float­ing roof but is sleeker, lower and smaller than the Sport, and its flush re­tract­ing door han­dles give it a clean aero­dy­namic look, shav­ing a few inches off the waist­line. The de­sign also plays into my own in­ter­nal bat­tle around larger SUVs. As it’s just me and my son Paddy (plus Lockie the dog), I pre­fer to drive some­thing

on the pe­tite side. This car doesn’t seem ob­nox­ious or over­sized, and so feels more so­cially ac­cept­able in com­par­i­son to larger SUV op­tions. Plus, it takes up con­sid­er­ably less space when par­al­lel park­ing on the school run. The re­verse cam­era comes in handy here too, with a very wide per­spec­tive out the back, and bird’s-eye views so even a novice parker can ma­noeu­vre like a pro. Not that I need help.

Some­thing that ap­pealed as soon as I fired her up was the (op­tional) Head-up Dis­play, which shows key ve­hi­cle data in the wind­screen. There are also two 10-inch HD touch­screens (stan­dard). Chic, mod­ern and beau­ti­fully de­signed, the cabin feels like a jump from cat­tle class to busi­ness class when com­pared to other Range Rovers I’ve driven in the past. The ad­vanced in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem is mu­sic to my ears and I’m par­tial to a car that will play your Spo­tify or Ap­ple Mu­sic playlist from where you left off. An­other fea­ture I re­ally rate is the Ma­trix-laser LED head­lights, which pro­duce an ef­fect sim­i­lar to day­light, il­lu­mi­nat­ing ev­ery­thing in your path while re­duc­ing eye fa­tigue. Once you reach speeds of 80kmph or more, the light au­to­mat­i­cally bright­ens to in­crease vis­i­bil­ity. De­tect­ing on­com­ing ve­hi­cles, laser tech­nol­ogy ef­fec­tively cre­ates shad­ows around other cars, sav­ing them from the brunt of your beam, while you con­tinue to ben­e­fit from it.

An­other nifty fea­ture is the InCon­trol Re­mote app, which al­lows you to lock and un­lock, check fuel and lo­cate your ve­hi­cle, all from a smart­phone or watch. It’s even pos­si­ble to start the en­gine and set the cli­mate-con­trol sys­tem re­motely — very Knight Rider. Then there’s the op­tion to up­grade to Kvadrat-de­signed seats in New Zealand merino wool blended with re­cy­cled plas­tic bot­tles to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly faux suede, which adds some wa­ter­cooler talk­a­bil­ity.

Pro­vid­ing peak peace of mind on our drive from Auck­land to New Zealand’s up­per­most point, there’s a panic but­ton that can no­tify emer­gency ser­vices of the lo­ca­tion of the ve­hi­cle. And in the un­likely event of a break­down, Op­ti­mised As­sis­tance sends lo­ca­tion and di­ag­nos­tics to a re­cov­ery com­pany. Thought­ful and good-look­ing, this one’s a real catch. *Win­ner of World Car De­sign of the Year at the 2018 World Car Awards.

I’m par­tial to a car that will play your Spo­tify or Ap­ple Mu­sic playlist from where you left off.

The Ve­lar P250 was put to the test on a roadie from Auck­land to Cape Reinga (be­low).

FQ ed­i­tor Sally-Ann (be­low) ad­mires the ve­hi­cle’s eye-catch­ing yet low-key de­sign.

Paddy (right) and Lockie the dog both gave the in­te­rior their seal of ap­proval.

The re­verse cam­era curbs any con­cerns when par­al­lel park­ing.

From cof­fee to kids, the Ve­lar P250 takes care of the daily grind in style.

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