Glamour model: Range Rover Velar
Cool, comfortable and easy on the eye
Land Rover built its reputation on rugged cars for tough terrain, but the company is building its growing profitability on capable cars that are mostly seen in smooth places. The Range Rover is equally at home in Kathmandu or Kensington, and the chic chiselled elegance of the Evoque has made it a big seller with style-conscious urbanites. Now there is Land Rover’s newest model that slots gracefully between the two, just below the Range Rover Sport.
The Velar revives a name that was originally used as a code for the project that was to become the first Range Rover. After nearly half a century it has now become a model name in its own right. It might appear to be a step down from a Range Rover, but the Velar overlaps on price. Although it starts from just below £45,000, the range climbs steeply to over £85,000 for a top-spec three-litre diesel model.
The key business version is this D240 two-litre diesel HSE at £64,160. That buys a car that will probably never muddy its wheels on a mountain track, even though it is totally capable of coping with some pretty extreme terrain. More pertinent to likely owners is its eminently civilised road manners, 135mph top speed and 7.3 seconds 0-62 sprint time. The CO2 output isn’t modest at 154 g/km, although quite fair for the powerful 4x4 that it is.
The Velar is opulent inside with high quality furnishings and two large display screens, one of which swivels to reveal hidden stowage behind. It drives with panache, has strong body control and an agile feel on the bends, with especially absorbent ride quality if you choose a version with air suspension.
It is eye candy for the office car park, currently one of the coolest new models on the road. It reinvents the chic appeal of an Evoque, but with smoother lines and decent rear seat headroom. At a price, though, so it might be a while before you spot many Velars in South East traffic.
Business savvy: Volkswagen T-Roc
Dan the Ram’s choice of motor
These are interesting times at Volkswagen. The company has ridden the storm of the dieselgate emissions scandal and is getting on with business as usual. Not without an eye-watering bill though, reputedly 25 billion Euros and counting. Meanwhile VW’s UK sales were modestly up last year, by 0.69%, a warm spot in the chilly climate of overall new car sales down by nearly 6%.
In the two years since dieselgate, Volkswagen has given its range an overhaul, with new or updated models of the Polo, Golf, Tiguan and up! There is an additional seven-seater model in the Tiguan Allspace, and both a new Jetta and Touareg are on the way. There will also be a new small SUV, based on the Polo and called the T-Cross, arriving later this year.
For now Volkswagen’s newest SUV is the mid-size T-Roc. This is the car being advertised in TV commercials featuring a feisty little ram called Dan. He is VW’s cutesy new mascot, an animal with attitude that is meant to showcase the confidence of the new T-Roc.
At just over 4.2 metres long, and weighing around one-and-a-half tonnes, the T-Roc is the newest of a growing tsunami of similar models. It is pricier than some rivals, although also among the better examples for perceived quality and driving calibre. This doesn’t include the nicety of soft-touch plastics, however. Interior space is well packaged and the boot is averagely sized at 392 litres.
On-the-road T-Roc pricing starts from £18,950 for a one-litre, three-cylinder petrol model with front-wheel-drive, six-speed manual gearbox and base level S trim. It tops out at £31,385 for a two-litre, 187 bhp petrol all-wheel-drive with upscale SEL trim. This two-litre, 148 bhp is a prime choice as a company car, with a 124 mph top speed, 8.7 seconds 0-62 mph acceleration, a quoted 56.5 mpg combined figure and 142 g/km of CO2. The price: £28,345.
Photos: Sue Baker