(Pocket-lint) - Drive on any road around the world and you'll probably drive past a Range Rover Evoque eventually. The car, launched in 2011, has become one of the company's most popular models. But Range Rover has a problem.
The gap between the Evoque, which tops in price around the £45,000 mark, and the entry-level Range Rover Sport is too large. And that means the company has been losing potential customers to other brands.
Now it has a solution: the Range Rover Velar.
Dubbed by the company as the "fourth Range Rover", the Velar will launch this summer with prices starting from £44,450. It will offer customers something a little bigger than the Evoque, but smaller and cheaper than the Sport. It's an all-new vehicle in its own right, however.
"It's not just a bigger version of the Evoque or a smaller version of the Sport," Pocket-lint was told by Land Rover's chief design officer, Gerry McGovern.
Based on the same aluminium chassis used by the Jaguar F-Pace, the Velar has a very different look and feel, while still managing to retain its "Range Rover-ness" the company is known for.
It has been styled to appeal to those looking for something a little roomier than the Evoque, not as pricey as the Sport, but still appealing enough to be desirable to a snappier, snazzier car buyer.
It's an area that is growing in popularity. Other car makers have similar vehicles in their ranges, with the Velar going up against the popular Porsche Macan, the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, the BMW X6 and the company's own Jaguar F-Pace SUV.
However, Land Rover is hoping the new car will not only offer the usual off-road capabilities you would expect from a Range Rover, but also a car that "pushes the boundaries" of the Range Rover DNA in terms of design and style.
"We call the Velar the avant garde Range Rover. It brings a new dimension of glamour, modernity and elegance to the brand. The Range Rover Velar changes everything," added McGovern.
Range Rover Velar: Exterior design
Wider than the Evoque, the new Velar is perhaps curvier than traditional Range Rover design, but still retains the Range Rover spirit.
Design motifs specific to the Velar are flush deployable door handles similar to the Tesla Model S, super-slim matrix-laser LED headlights, and for the design aware driver, burnished copper-coloured detailing that is actually woven into carbon fibre elements.
All that rounding makes the Velar the most aerodynamic Range Rover yet. Thankfully though, this is a Range Rover, perhaps more akin to the new Land Rover Discovery in terms of design language, rather than something new and unrecognisable.
Range Rover Velar: Interior design
That fresh but familiar look carries on inside. Everything feels refined rather than renewed. There is an absence of buttons and switches, with the Velar instead opting for two large central screens to manage navigation, entertainment, climate and even terrain control.
But it's not just about making everything "technology focused". The company is looking beyond leather when it comes to cladding the big plush seats.
Alongside its traditional Windsor leather offering, buyers will be able to pick a new grey fabric from Kvadrat. If that name sounds familiar, it is because it is the same material Bang & Olufsen uses to cover its Beolit range of speakers.
The designers and engineers at Range Rover claim they've been careful not to fall into the pitfalls of using so much fabric in the car. It's been treated to withstand dirt and moisture.
Range Rover Velar: A tech dream
As mentioned above, the Velar ditches as many buttons as it can, in favour of the company's latest version of its Touch Pro infotainment system, Touch Pro Duo. It runs on two high-definition 10-inch touchscreens in the centre of the dashboard.
The top screen is gently curved to lie flush to fit in with the dashboard and can tilt through 30 degrees. This allows the driver to set it at the perfect position. The screen returns to the flush position when the ignition is switched off and automatically adjusts to the previously selected angle when the ignition is switched on again.
- Future electric cars: Upcoming battery-powered cars that will be on the roads within the next 5 years
Rather than opt for a giant touchscreen to control everything in the same way Tesla does with the Model S, the Velar focuses the second touchscreen usage on climate and terrain response controls.
Further customisation means you'll also be able to use one screen for navigation and the other for phone calls or music selection, for example. It also means that the company has been able to deliver a clean dashboard experience.
It is not completely devoid of buttons though. The car does feature two tactile rotary controllers that are "seamlessly" built into the bottom screen - this will no doubt appeal to those not completely ready to go button free.
Even the steering wheel is trying to get in on the act, featuring an array of capacitive buttons that can adapt and change depending on what's happening at that time.
Likewise there is a row of capacitive switches positioned below the rotaries to control maximum A/C and defrost settings, plus dynamic stability control and hill descent control functions.
There is a further 12.3-inch display for driving stats and, if that's not enough, there is the optional head-up display for the driver too.
Other tech in the car includes 4G connectivity, in-car Wi-Fi hotspot, a 60GB hard drive to store music and videos, and a remote smartphone app that can control the climate and lock and unlock the car. It can even set the satnav destination before you get in.
On the sound front, the Velar comes with a 1,600W Meridian Signature sound system with a whopping 23 speakers around the vehicle. Customers can also specify the fully integrated rear seat entertainment system, comprising two 8-inch HD touchscreens in 15:9 widescreen format, two remote controls and two sets of WhiteFire-connected wireless headphones.
Range Rover Velar: Driving specs
There will be six engine models available at launch ranging from a 180PS 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel engine to the potent 380PS supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine that sits at the top of the range. Sadly, at launch, there will not be any hybrid or electric model options, although mutterings suggest that the company is looking at electric and hybrid offerings in the future.
Range Rover Velar First Edition
For those that really must have the best, Land Rover has also created a "First Edition" model that will only be available for the first year.
It will feature specific exterior and interior options that include a satin finish paint. Many optional extras included in the range elsewhere will be added as standard.
The First Edition model, which won't be limited in terms of numbers, will cost £85,000.