Range Rover Velar Ingenium: We try out the new Range Rover which offers more space and more luxury

The Range Rover Velar Ingenium is really two cars in one – a sharp hot hatchback and a luxurious people carrier. Steve Teale climbs behind the wheel and delivers his verdict.

By all accounts, the Queen loved her Range Rover. She was said to be a familiar sight in her 2004 model, traipsing through the grounds of Windsor where she took the wheel, rather than chauffeurs or police protectors.

This royal Range Rover was for sale at auction with an estimate of £50,000 to £60,000. Steep compared to a non-royal version but I’d suggest it’s still good value: it has 110,000 miles on the clock so it’s got plenty of life left in it and it has a 4.4 litre V8 BMW engine, plus a few extras such as dog guard to keep the corgis at bay.

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It went under the hammer last Saturday. Deadlines prevent me from telling you how much it went for but I’m confident the buyer will have landed a memorable bargain.

We try out the new Range Rover Velar, which offers a little more space and a little more luxuryWe try out the new Range Rover Velar, which offers a little more space and a little more luxury
We try out the new Range Rover Velar, which offers a little more space and a little more luxury

But tested here is an even more upmarket version of the RR: the Velar. It costs £75,400, which obviously is a lot of money.

But such is the staggering price of some perfectly unmemorable motors these days, I’d venture that this is a comparative snip for what could contend to be the best car on the road.

Captains of industry, footballers, showbusiness stars and lottery winners invariable turn to the Range Rover for it is simultaneously a highly practical motor and a status symbol which somehow manages to avoid being gauche.

Some £75,000 cars induce glares but not this one.

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OK, I know you can buy three-bedroom houses for the same money in some of the lesser-desired parts of our county but this really is a stunning vehicle which has come on leaps and bounds since Her late Majesty took delivery of her wheels 19 years ago.

It is an incredibly well-appointed motor. It has clean lines and a polish that sets it apart from other executive expresses. It might be palace-like in size, but it is exquisitely nimble: 130mph, if you have private parkland or relatives in Germany, and 0 to 60mph in just over five seconds.

Not that this is a car which demands to be driven quickly. Sometimes just knowing you could leave a Porsche in one’s slipstream is enough without actually having to do so.

Rather, you can elegantly skip through the miles with grace.

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So, what do you get for your money? Well, two cars in one – a pin sharp hot-hatch and a luxurious people carrier.

Well, this is Velar which is the smart Savile Row version compared to its more popular siblings.

Velar is in Land Rover world a new model. OK, so Velar was launched in 2017 but that’s still recent in Land Rover terms, and a new even sweeter version is coming.

Velar fills a niche. Those looking to purchase a Range Rover used to have three main options. There was the Evoque, representing the more affordable end of the spectrum, the Sport, which sat in the middle, and the standard Range Rover at the very top.

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Now, there's one more car in the family – the Velar. Designed to sit in between the Evoque and Sport, it's a mid-sized SUV for those who want a little more space and a little more luxury.

It’s a tad less rugged. Take the door handles, for example, which are concealed, creating a smoothness rarely seen in any car, let along an SUV. Yet it is a proper 4x4. You’d be foolish to take this around a quarry or through a river, but if you had to you could. I guarantee you would give up before the Velar.

The door handles, which electronically retract to become flush with the car's bodywork, are an extremely neat touch, and it all works together to create a car that looks more like a concept than a vehicle you can actually buy.

To succeed in the SUV segment, any car needs to be practical. The Velar is somewhat of a mixed bag in this respect. The boot space, for example, is impressive. There's 632 litres of boot space to be found with the rear seats raised, rising to 1,731 litres with them folded flat. It's a huge load area, and because it's square in size, it is very useable.

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Velar is designed to sit in between the Evoque and Sport in the product line-up, and as such you'd expect it to drive perhaps not quite as keenly as the car above it, but offer more involvement than the one below it.

It is exquisite to drive. A 2.0 litre engine? It feels much bigger. The eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox shifts without any fuss, and you can take manual control of switching cogs via the steering wheel-mounted paddles should you want to.

Prices for the Velar start at £54,045. For that, you get a base-spec vehicle fitted with the four-cylinder Ingenium diesel engine. As standard, all cars get Terrain Response, 18-inch alloy wheels and heated front seats – though they're only manually adjustable. Cruise control, autonomous braking and keyless entry is also included, as is the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system. This base trim is available with the four-cylinder only.

Mid-range SE cars benefit from larger 20-inch alloy wheels, a 360-degree parking camera and a full 12.3-inch screen replacing the car's traditional dials. You also get leather seats, of which the front two are powered and heated.

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The middle range cars offer excellent value for money as they come fitted with a good amount of standard equipment, and enough luxuries to keep even the most avid button-pusher happy.

Range Rover Velar Ingenium: £75,400; 2.0 litre four cylinder turbocharged petrol engine generating 404bhp and torque of 640Nm; Top speed 130mph and 0 to 60mph in 5.1 seconds; 112.3mpg as a weighted average because you can travel 29 miles under electric power; Four years warranty, 50,000 miles. Can be extended to seven years, 100,000 miles

Land Rover has just announced that the hybrid Velar has now been updated further and boasts a larger 19.2kWh battery, up from 13.6kWh, which allows it to travel for up to 40 miles on electricity, placing it in a lower company car tax bracket than before. There’s also a choice of a D200 or D300 diesel, both featuring mild-hybrid technology, as well as a P250 petrol version. In terms of design, the Velar gets a small refresh to bring it more in line with the latest Range Rover, including a revised grille and new slim LED headlights, featuring adaptive ‘pixel’ technology offering improved vision without dazzling others on the road. The cabin sees the addition of a 11.4-inch curved glass touchscreen, which debuts a brand new operating system for Range Rover, along with a more minimalist look.