“THAT thing is bloody lovely,” reckoned Peter Elliott, WhichCar TV’s lead presenter. I’d lent him the Velar while I was judging Wheels Car of the Year and it’s fair to say he was fairly taken with it. Fairly taken with the loud pedal too, recording the Velar’s worst average consumption of 11.5L/100km during his tenure. That’s still not too bad for a 1900kg petrol SUV packing 221kW, but the overall figure’s since come back down to Sean Connery’s preferred racquet sport: tennish.
COTY aside, where the Velar was on camera car duties, it’s been an eventful few weeks. The Rangie was even pushed into service as an ambulance, rushing a fledgling peregrine falcon to surgery after its first flight resulted in a broken leg. It’s also taken a run up to this year’s Targa High Country event, the route from south east Melbourne up through Healesville, the Black Spur, the Cathedral Range, Bonnie Doon and Mansfield being about as pleasant a touring route as Victoria offers.
I encountered an exceptionally well-driven ND MX-5 on the return over the Black Spur, both of us safely enjoying our cars, although I hope I wasn’t curtailing the Mazda driver’s fun by holding him up. Having an energetic pedal through the twisties in the forest was almost as enjoyable as driving an Alpine A110 at Targa and while the Velar packs on a few more kegs than the French coupe, there’s something to be said for being able to adapt your driving techniques to the limits of your car.
Car of the Year: Range Rover Velar: 2018 Car of the Year review
The howling Pirelli Scorpion Verdes made the hairpins sound a good deal more dramatic than the modest speedo reading suggested, but the Velar’s body control – even with the suspension set to Comfort – was predictable and progressive. When was the last time you had a good-natured dice finished with a cheery wave? Good stuff.
Last month we reported on a couple of electronic issues that have since cleared up, replaced by other random quirks. The Velar cleared down all the memory settings for the seats and mirrors and then the touch panel that included the screen demister temporarily failed to function. Like its previous glitches, they’ve been transient, but could knock confidence with owners. We’ll continue to monitor them.