2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar First Drive: Two Directions At Once

– Ålesund, Norway

If you were a car, what would you be? Me? Tough question. I’m a Pisces swimming in two directions at once. I’m one thing and also its opposite at the same time, meaning a blue-eyed, blond girl in a dress and also a tomboy who loves track days and mountain bikes. But somewhere along the 51,000 miles of twisting Norwegian coastline I’ve just discovered my car self behind the wheel of the 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar.

Derived from the Latin velare, which means to conceal, the name Velar was used for the original 1969 Range Rover prototype, a large, go-anywhere luxury SUV conceived in secrecy as the luxury extension of Land Rover. Secrecy was in order because who at that time would believe that a luxury SUV would fly? When it made its debut in 1970, the moniker Velar disappeared and the Range Rover was revealed. Nearly half a century later, the Velar name returns to fill a void for the British SUV-maker.

2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar: First Drive
2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar: First Drive
2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar: First Drive
2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar: First Drive
2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar: First Drive

The Velar nods to its Range Rover heritage while carving out new territory all its own.

Born of what the carmaker calls an exercise in “design reductionism,” the Velar at first glance you recognize, but can’t place it, like a wonderful bout of vehicular déjà vu. Neither a small version of the almost fullsize Range Rover Sport nor a large version of the Evoque, yet with irrefutable hints of both. The Velar nods to its Range Rover heritage while carving out new territory all its own.

For all of its simplicity, the Velar has a lot going on – like th...