Robert Browning and Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe must be required study at Land Rover these days as the design department’s “less-is-more” ethic takes a vice-like grip. These two historic exemplars of simplicity in words and furniture respectively (Browning is credited with first using the phrase) are nowhere more explicit in modern car design than the new Range Rover Velar.
This, the fourth Range Rover model, fits between the Evoque and Range Rover Sport in size and price. It’s also the acme of the stripped-down style evinced by Land Rover’s design department under Gerry McGovern. Even the door handles sink back into the doors and the headlamps are super-narrow LED slits.
“We wanted to elevate Range Rover’s design DNA to a new level,” says Massimo Frascella, Land Rover’s exterior creative director.
“We were looking for a new level of simplicity, with the flush door handles and slim LED lights. This will do so much for Range Rover.”
The Velar is a striking mid-sized, five-seat crossover vehicle, designed as family transport for the well heeled. The name, which is derived from the Latin for sail or veiled, was used on the 26 first prototypes of the original Range Rover designed by Spen King and Gordon Bashford, launched in 1970 and arguably the world’s first SUV.
While McGovern and his team say there are no outside influences for the car, they tip their hat at King and Bashford’s work.
“We wanted an emphasis on the classic Range Rover proportions,” says Frascella. “The short front overhangs and long tail give an incredible elegance, moving the emphasis rearward like luxury yachts…
“There’s nothing quite like it.”
Based on the aluminium-intensive body frame also shared by Jaguar’s F-Pace, the Velar will be on sale this summer priced at between £44,830 and £85,450 with a typical transaction price of £61,000.
You might think that this seems like a mightily expensive embellished F-Pace, which sells for between £35,000 and £52,000, but Land Rover’s marketing wonks claim the Velar parks in a £39,000-wide price gap between the £30,000-£48,000 Evoque and the £59,000-£97,000 Range Rover Sport.