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Our Velar arrived in HSE trim, which a lot of buyers will consider a minimum requirement for a car that looks like it has not long stepped off of a motor show stand.

HSE brings you the 21in wheels that would have seemed ludicrously large just a few years ago but fit the Velar’s concept-like looks to a tee.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
The positioning of the lower touchscreen has been extensively talked about, but you wouldn’t be any more distracted than by a button-rich control panel

Car makers talk about identities and design languages: the Velar looks like the ultimate and most successful interpretation of how much more dynamic Range Rover has been trying to make its range. It feels like the zenith; as if Range Rovers hereafter will need a new set of guidelines.

Beneath the skin, the Velar is an entirely logical extension of the Range Rover line-up: more rugged than an Evoque, but less so than the Sport or full-fat Range Rover.

Put simply, the mostly aluminium monocoque it sits on is the same as the F-Pace’s. There’s a longitudinal engine in the front – we’ll come back to that – driving through a ZF eight-speed gearbox to all four wheels.

Predominantly, the driveline is the same as in Jaguars: it’s a rear-drive car first and foremost, with a clutch at the gearbox that can push power to the front wheels as and when necessary. Which, in a car like a Range Rover, is a lot more than it ought to be necessary in ‘lesser’ off-roaders.

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There’s no low-ratio gearbox, but there is respectable ground clearance, approach and departure angles and wade depth, particularly on the optional air suspension this car has fitted.

All of those numbers are worse than full-sized Range Rovers but also superior to any other car in this sector.

What you won’t find on a big Range Rover, mind, but you will here is a four-cylinder diesel engine from the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR)Ingenium line-up.

Yes, it makes 237bhp and 369lb ft, which is impressive for a 2.0-litre engine; but, at 2089kg, the Velar is a heavy car for a 2.0-litre engine. We’ll see how it fares in a moment.

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