Long-term report: Velar in NW Scotland....

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Arianne
Posts: 440
Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:39 pm
Location: UK

Long-term report: Velar in NW Scotland....

Post by Arianne » Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:09 pm

Evening folks, my annual blog documenting our Velar's pan-euro adventure to the Tirolean Alps has been scuppered this year for obvious reasons. So our plan for retaining the family's sanity involves taking a trip from the Scottish Borders to NW Scotland (by happy coincidence and a heavy dollop of good fortune, both being classified as Covid-19 level 1 regions - thereby allowing us to travel by permission of Nicola Sturgeon - Nicola being a woman that nobody up here chooses to mess with!).

It's around 6hrs journey time and I am pleased to say that our Velar has been brilliant. The boot was full to the brim with the Asda home delivery from the night before, Mrs A's homemade soup doubled-up as freezer blocks for all the chilled food and we just cruised north over the Forth suspension bridge, up the M90, and followed the A9 through to Inverness. Once over the Kessock Bridge and onto the Black Isle, we headed off into the wilds towards Ullapool and Gairloch.

The Velar's perfectly balanced suspension was wonderful. While the Velar is not the class leader in handling (that accolade for SUVs belongs to the Porsche Macan, followed closely by the Jaguar F-Pace), it is the ideal car for this type of long-haul. Serene on the fast motorways, cosseting on the A9 and sufficiently connected for the twisting roads across the Highlands. I enjoyed a bit of a blast for that final stint across deserted, flowing roads while keeping a close eye out for deer, sheep and .......... two dozen Asda eggs squeezed somewhere in the boot! Clarkson & Co's testing with raw eggs hanging over their heads came to mind. I've concluded after three years of ownership that, with the exception of external and internal aesthetics, the Velar doesn't really lead the field in anything in particular. But what it does achieve exceptionally well is being almost class-leading in everything else - handling, cabin space, comfort, off-road, on-road, luggage space, performance etc. etc. It's a truly fabulous all-rounder for an executive, luxury SUV. I mean, we had a full size, double pine wardrobe in the back of our Velar one weekend in early-December for Mrs A's elderly Mum.

Back to the winter break. After wall-to-wall rain beating against the windows of our Scandinavian styled house overlooking Skye and the Outer Hebrides (Isle of Lewis), we ventured out today to Gairloch Harbour and the Rua Reidh Lighthouse. For the latter, if we had been driving a FF Range Rover we wouldn't have made it because the width on the narrow weak bridges to the lighthouse would have prevented further progress.

All in all then, a perfect companion for our replacement to the cancelled skiing break in Austria. Our Velar is in a sweet-spot at the moment. No rattles, perfect music from the 7Digital FLAC music files, everything works as it should and she continues to look gorgeous (even with Highland salt and grit spattered over her Corris Grey paintwork). This is at 3.25yrs old and with 40k miles under her belt. Long may it continue (although we have invested in the JLR full extended warranty - you'd be nuts taking the risk with these expensive, complex cars unless you effectively self-insure against breakdown and failures - true of any big luxury SUV and not just JLR models). It hasn't been a perfect relationship as those of you who have read some of my earlier posts will know - the initial droning from the offside front half-shaft on the wheel, the faulty pre-ignition unit in sub-zero temperatures while in Austria last winter. But our dealer has been very good, even if their Austrian counterparts were truly awful. Overall, we continue to love our Velar as you can probably tell.

She's been the perfect companion for our trips to Catalonia and her other winter trip to Austria has been fine - albeit that the over-engineered door handles will be in all kinds of different positions in freeze-thaw-freeze conditions. They work, just not quite the way the JLR promotional video suggests in the R&D endurance test (there's a big difference between a technician spraying water onto a car panel at minus 12c and Mother Nature's unpredictable real-life adventure).

If the weather holds good, another adventure awaits tomorrow. The perfect antidote to the gloom & doom that dominates most of the news at present. Here's hoping that the second half of 2021 delivers better times for us all.

Best wishes fellow Velar owners, Enjoy the snaps, especially the 43mpg from a fully loaded 3.0 V6 diesel Velar heading north on the A9 :)

Arianne

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D300 R-dynamic with lots of optional toys. Corris Grey, sunroof, activity bracelet, configurable lighting, 825w Meridian sound, heated everything, configurable dynamics, full leather pack, summer / winter tyres & the important cup holder cover!

Pollo de muerte
Posts: 128
Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:57 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Long-term report: Velar in NW Scotland....

Post by Pollo de muerte » Tue Dec 22, 2020 7:37 pm

Nice writeup as usual.

Thanks for sharing.
2019 Range Rover Velar HSE P380 ("Posh")
2019 Jaguar I Pace HSE FE ("Greebo")

Arianne
Posts: 440
Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:39 pm
Location: UK

Re: Long-term report: Velar in NW Scotland....

Post by Arianne » Tue Dec 22, 2020 8:05 pm

Pollo de muerte wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 7:37 pm
Nice writeup as usual.

Thanks for sharing.
You’re welcome. BTW, the address on the LandRover remote is not our home address but just a waypoint where we stopped for a driver changeover. A fellow forum member kindly PM’d me just in case.

Have a nice evening folks, Arianne
D300 R-dynamic with lots of optional toys. Corris Grey, sunroof, activity bracelet, configurable lighting, 825w Meridian sound, heated everything, configurable dynamics, full leather pack, summer / winter tyres & the important cup holder cover!

putt4par
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2020 6:07 am
Location: Kent

Re: Long-term report: Velar in NW Scotland....

Post by putt4par » Wed Dec 23, 2020 6:38 am

Great read, thanks for sharing.
2019 3.0 D R Dynamic HSE, in Fuji White, Black pack , Pretty much fully loaded.

Arianne
Posts: 440
Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:39 pm
Location: UK

Re: Long-term report: Velar in NW Scotland....

Post by Arianne » Wed Dec 23, 2020 4:54 pm

Apart from a few photos of our trip to Red Point Beach, this post focuses upon the 'Connected Apps, SatNav and 4G hotspot' technology in the Velar and where I am at with it all after three-years of ownership. I recently read a series of What Car articles from early-2020 in which they purport to provide a long-term test of their D300 Velar across six months. My first reaction was that six months is hardly my definition of long-term, reinforced by the fact that the sixth and final article wasn't even about their long-term Velar - JLR had chucked them an SVR version for the concluding article.

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I've said before that settling down with a new car, especially one as complex and feature-laden as the Velar, takes time. In my case about 12 months - I am clearly a slow learner! What I am talking about here is the four stage process from (1) unconscious incompetence to (2) conscious incompetence to (3) conscious competence and then finally (4) unconscious competence. Stick with me here folks, there's no charge for this life lesson which applies equally to owning a new car, moving into a new house or learning to drive like Lewis Hamilton https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_competence. If you embrace this insight into how our brains work then the tricky initial phases of newness will be easier to overcome, even prepare for.

Stage 3 is my lived experienced just after taking delivery of the Velar. It's exciting, novel but quickly evolves into frustration. I need to think about everything - whether this be the touch screens, tsunami of data, handling characteristics or learning how the paddle shifters work in real-life. It takes me about a year before I migrate to stage 4. At this stage, I'm no longer thinking consciously about driving the Velar. It's become second nature, just like breathing. You don't think about breathing, blinking or the minor miracle that is walking. It just happens. Unconscious competence with 90% of our life systems taking place in our brain's background processing. Which is why, for me, a three-year PCP is just too short. Three years is fine for 'white-goods' cars (aka Kia, Hyundai) but not for an average guy like me buying a Velar. It's not about money, it's about bonding and a Velar is not a simple, disposable lump of metal.

Anyway, back to the connected live apps. At launch in 2017, all Velars came with connected apps but no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, not even as an option. Serious omission! AA and ACP came later but, in a stroke of unexpected generosity, LandRover reverse engineered our Velar with AA and ACP at no cost. If you're a BMW owner reading this then I need not remind you that your annual subscription to your ACP, albeit wireless, is coming around soon! Not so with JLR - a 'no-cost' upgrade for everyone in the UK and free thereafter. Fabulous. We can complain about many aspects of JLR but this particular decision, taken before the accountants assumed control upon arrival from Tata Group and McKinsey's, was a great bonus for us all.

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Those of you who have read my earlier posts will be familiar with the native JLR SatNav's shortcomings. Two instances vie for primacy here - either the decision to reroute us off the A8 autobahn and through the German city of Pforzheim during the Friday evening rush-hour in December 2019 or the unexpected off-roading across sand tracks and bracken in Catalonia. Okay, the latter was due to the 'unpaved roads' option being selected but that was only because of the recent software upgrade that had silently and unexpectedly reset everything to factory default. You want to watch out for that hideous trick since the thorns from the Spanish bracken left me needing to polish out several tiny scratches down both sides of our car. On the other hand, one can fall in love with the soothing voice of the native SatNav but, like most Sweet Talkin' Women (ELO - Out of the Blue, 1977), she leads you into trouble! https://youtu.be/NNjrBUzXDJk

In reality Google Maps is better by far. That includes the fact that nobody will fall Head-Over-Heels (Abba, The Visitors, 1981) in love with the 128kbps electronic voice of this system. No straying off the beaten path with her then! But seriously, the re-routing is just so much more superior and reliable. Best of all, JLR can't reset my Samsung Galaxy S10+ to factory default off-roading mode whenever they ping a fresh Software Over the Air (SOTA) update - we should all be on version 20c now?

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So here's the dilemma. I paid for the native SatNav. I like her voice and, being a typically shallow guy, fell in love with her. She looks better than Google Maps (both in reality on the upper screen and in my imagination). So despite all the logic, I stuck with her until........ the third anniversary. We're all emotional underneath that rational exterior aren't we? But then she wanted money, don't they all eventually? Subscription renewals for map updates, live traffic information etc. Then, in the last few days, my 4Gee, EE 12 month data sim expired. Hmm.

Do I use the on-screen web browser, the CNN news and just how important is the little panel with the weather forecast? And so the sweet talking. smooth voiced native SatNav was ditched in favour of the Commodore 64 / Sinclair Spectrum inspired personality of Google Maps and Android Auto. My Samsung smartphone comes with more monthly data allowance than I could burn through in the Velar and, when the signal is poor, I just might call upon the native SatNav. But in such remote locations as Red Point Beach here on the NW Scottish coast, I hardly need live traffic updates - not that there will be any data to collect anyway! And the road layouts haven't changed in decades.

Look, I know this next point makes little sense having shelled out over £70k in 2017 for the lead-balloon asset that is any car, but having acquired my heart's desire....... I am acutely aware that a £0.60 investment in my employer's AVC retirement savings scheme delivers a £1 contribution - an approximate 40% investment return even before the M&G asset management comedians have chosen to lay their bets in the lottery that is the stock market. As Tesco say, every penny counts! Tax free in, tax free out - subject to complex lifetime allowances of £1.05m, £40k p.a. annual allowance and the 25% lump sum drawdown rules here in the UK - well, at least until austerity kicks in, tax changes arrive or we all hope and pray that the UK Treasury has finally mastered the miracle of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) under the guise of Quantitative Easing (QE).

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And so that is the slightly sad tale of LandRover's 'King Canute' approach to software development (or MMT, the tale probably applies to this too). Even by 2017 it was obvious that this element of ICT was to be dominated by either Android or Apple. As an aside, Saab once welcomed a deputation from General Motors and showcased their home-crafted SatNav alternative to the okay(ish) GM version for the whole GM family of marques. Having blown a massive hole in the GM budget for Saab R&D, the boys from GM duly marked Saab as RIP and we lost the quirky car maker for ever more - a shame because any Saab 900 advertised alongside a Saab fighter jet deserves a long-term future https://youtu.be/PM3woO0AbCw?t=92. They don't make car adverts like that anymore!

The only functionality I will miss is the amazingly useful option of the native SatNav's ability to find me a car park in any strange European city, direct me to it and provide real-time data about the number of free car park spaces within it. That worked well in Germany , but then it would wouldn't it - that's Germany - everything works in Deutschland. To be fair, it even worked well in France, Strasbourg. But then some might argue that the status of Strasbourg (German or French) very much depends upon where we are in the stream of time!

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Anyway, enough. Whether you fork our for more data sims and subscriptions to JLR live services or not is a personal decision. I might yet invest in a fresh EE data sim but the native SatNav has been ousted by the Google Maps option, for sure. My family would never forgive me again if I let that sweet voice lead us astray and I can't really explain to Mrs A why I find myself irresistibly drawn to the JLR ICTpro system of navigation when it is clearly so inferior to the robotic sounding offer from Google.

As for today's expedition in NW Scotland to Red Point Beach - a superb, lonely and unspoilt spot overlooking the Torridon Hills and Isle of Skye. Wonderful. Unlike our recent Australian friend on this forum, there's no way I was taking our Velar onto the beach for a video shoot. Enjoy the pics.

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Have a lovely evening - Arianne.
D300 R-dynamic with lots of optional toys. Corris Grey, sunroof, activity bracelet, configurable lighting, 825w Meridian sound, heated everything, configurable dynamics, full leather pack, summer / winter tyres & the important cup holder cover!

Bottom
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2019 6:00 pm
Location: UK

Re: Long-term report: Velar in NW Scotland....

Post by Bottom » Thu Dec 24, 2020 12:16 pm

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I use Waze through Apple CarPlay, I don't care about live traffic updates (obviously, up here) but the roadworks alerts and speed camera alerts are handy. It seems to offer better routing than the built in JLR software too.

We're lucky to live in such a beautiful country, this was over near Dunnet Head in February BC (Before Corona!). Two very knackered Goldens at the end of that day, miles and miles of empty sands.

Arianne
Posts: 440
Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:39 pm
Location: UK

Re: Long-term report: Velar in NW Scotland....

Post by Arianne » Thu Dec 24, 2020 3:56 pm

Bottom wrote:
Thu Dec 24, 2020 12:16 pm


I use Waze through Apple CarPlay, I don't care about live traffic updates (obviously, up here) but the roadworks alerts and speed camera alerts are handy. It seems to offer better routing than the built in JLR software too.

We're lucky to live in such a beautiful country, this was over near Dunnet Head in February BC (Before Corona!). Two very knackered Goldens at the end of that day, miles and miles of empty sands.
Hi Bottom,

Waze is available through Android Auto too but it feels more complex which is why I use Google Maps. Looks like you came to terms with the facts and purpose of SatNav faster than me.

Dunnet Head. That's about as far north as is possible in mainland Scotland. I have been once to John O'Groats. The lighthouse near Dunnet Head looks to be an exact replica of that at Rua Reidh .....

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Scotland is indeed beautiful, wild and remote. On a sunny day the islands and peninsula rising from the blue sea are truly uplifting. On a dreich day it is quite the reverse! Never have I been so glad to explore these parts of the UK as I have been this year. In October it was the often-overlooked part of Cumbria that is Kirkby Stephen. That was a real treat - a converted barn in Crosby Garrett and walking in the Cumbrian Fells. I kid you not, we stumbled across an ice-cream van in the middle of nowhere on a unmade track at the top of Ingleton Waterfalls. Reminded me of the lyrics to Justified & Ancient (KLF, 1991) - https://youtu.be/0XXbgxWpTzI?t=84

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I guess we're all just going to have to hunker down for the next few months now, The whole of Scotland, except for the Islands, is moving to Level 4 from 26 December and I can't see that changing for a good while? I now know why the tourist board in my home county of the Scottish Borders markets the area as Scotland's leading short-break destination. During 2020, I have walked so many hills in the Borders and along river paths - in the end, they all begin to look the same!

Best wishes. Arianne
Last edited by Arianne on Thu Dec 24, 2020 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
D300 R-dynamic with lots of optional toys. Corris Grey, sunroof, activity bracelet, configurable lighting, 825w Meridian sound, heated everything, configurable dynamics, full leather pack, summer / winter tyres & the important cup holder cover!

MITO
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Re: Long-term report: Velar in NW Scotland....

Post by MITO » Thu Dec 24, 2020 4:31 pm

Thank you Arianne for the beautiful pictures and very interesting write ups. I always enjoy reading them. Happy Christmas and stay safe.

Spencerwilks
Posts: 160
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Re: Long-term report: Velar in NW Scotland....

Post by Spencerwilks » Thu Dec 24, 2020 4:39 pm

Great pictures! Thanks Arianne.

Christmas Eve wash completed before Jack frost arrives!
Happy Christmas everyone and lets look forward to a better 2021.

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2019 2.0 D 240 HSE Aruba/ Windsor Light Oyster heated and cooled 20 way seats, Air Suspension, Deployable Steps ,Matrix LED lights , Extended leather upgrade, Meriden 825W Sound, Heated steering wheel, Tracker. USA licence plate plinths.

Arianne
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Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:39 pm
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Re: Long-term report: Velar in NW Scotland....

Post by Arianne » Thu Dec 24, 2020 5:23 pm

MITO wrote:
Thu Dec 24, 2020 4:31 pm
Thank you Arianne for the beautiful pictures and very interesting write ups. I always enjoy reading them. Happy Christmas and stay safe.
A pleasure MITO. I find the process of settling down, reviewing the day’s pics and writing up an accompanying post rather therapeutic and a positive conclusion to the expedition. Best wishes to you and your fellow US Velar owners.

Arianne
D300 R-dynamic with lots of optional toys. Corris Grey, sunroof, activity bracelet, configurable lighting, 825w Meridian sound, heated everything, configurable dynamics, full leather pack, summer / winter tyres & the important cup holder cover!

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