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Auto Today|May 2018

Never Hide

There’s no shying away from all the attention the Velar attracts. We drive the 2-litre petrol-powered P250 SE to find out what’s hidden behind that pretty face

 

Simran Rastogi Senior

Veil. Hide. Keep a secret. That’s what the Velar’s name means, derived from the latin word ‘velare’. It’s also what Land Rover engineers called their top secret Range Rover prototype, back in 1969. That two-door off-roader, a big departure from the boxy Land Rover Series 2, simply bore a ‘VELAR’ badge to throw people off its scent. The next year the Range Rover brand was officially revealed.

Now, almost 50 years later the Velar takes another leap of design for the company. Land Rover’s design chief, Gerry McGovern, calls it reductionism. Looking at the Velar, you notice that there isn’t a line or crease or curve that doesn’t absolutely have to be there. And as a result, the design is pure, clean and all the better for it. Like several cars these days, the Velar has a rising belt line. But there’s nothing else that gets it so right. The roof drops down towards the rear of the car to create a glasshouse of decreasing visual weight. The designers have also, quite cleverly, made the bottoms of the doors fall away inwards. The plastic running boards also contribute towards making the doors seem less substantive. The doors themselves have flush door handles that pop out when you unlock the car. Something as simple as the rear wiper is hidden away under a functional roof spoiler, the first time we’ve ever seen one on an SUV.

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May 2018