AT first glance you might be forgiven for mistaking the new Range Rover Velar for the stable’s Evoque or even the Sport.

That’s partly because the Velar sits between the two in the small, prestigious Range Rover line-up.

What it brings to the table are new levels of refinement, elegance and technology. And that’s no mean achievement when you consider what else is on offer from Range Rover.

Priced from about £45,000, this fourth member of the family is instantly appealing and desirable.

Sleek looks, the tapered roofline, gloss black touches, a clamshell bonnet, superb silhouette and a muscular stance combine to make this the most attractive of all the Range Rover models.

There’s a party trick even before you step inside – pop-out door handles that retract fully into the bodywork.

Enter the cabin and you find a luxurious interior that the company calls a “calm sanctuary”.

Named after the Velar prototypes of the original Range Rover in 1969, this Velar is light years away from those early days.

There’s a state-of-the-art infotainment system, super-slim LED headlights and seating that can not only be adjusted electronically but also heat or cool you and give you a massage.

The dashboard is both glossy and ultra-modern, and virtually button-free. It incorporates the debut of the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, featuring two high-definition 10-inch touchscreens.

But let’s not get carried away with the looks and technology.

Customers will expect unrivalled capability on every terrain, and agility combined with outstanding ride quality and composure. And they get it.

Air suspension comes as standard on six-cylinder models, and all models get adaptive dynamics damping technology and all-wheel drive with terrain response, low traction launch, hill descent control and gradient release control.

With a wheelbase that sits between the Evoque and Sport, towing capacity of up to 2,500kg is complemented by the optional advanced tow assist function.

There are six powertrains to consider, ranging from a 180PS 2.0-litre diesel to the 380PS supercharged supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine.

The majority of customers will probably opt for the 240PS 2.0-litre diesel, tested here. Armed with two turbochargers and with a 0 to 60mph sprint time of 6.8 seconds, it is quick enough to satisfy most needs.

Once the Velar has settled into its stride, it provides a beautifully composed ride. An eight-speed automatic gearbox comes as standard, but you can take manual control using paddle-shifters and the rotary drive mode gives the option of a sport setting.

The suite of safety systems includes autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, reverse traffic detection and – perhaps most useful of all – a 360-degree parking camera.

On a practical note, the luggage compartment volume will cope with family needs, while the 40/20/40 rear seats are available with heating and electric recline options.

The Velar and Velar R-Dynamic core range comprises Standard, S, SE or HSE specification.

Four different LED headlight designs are available, culminating in the segment-first Matrix-Laser LED headlights that extend the range of full beam to 550 metres.

There are eight wheel designs, ranging from 18 to 22 inches, and even a choice of four premium audio systems.

Land Rover’s world-leading Terrain Response system allows the driver to adjust vehicle settings to suit prevailing surface conditions, with a choice of Eco, Comfort, Grass-Gravel-Snow, Mud-Ruts, Sand, and – on R-Dynamic models – Dynamic mode.

In a Land Rover-first, the Terrain Response systems are accessed not through a dedicated controller but using the driver’s reconfigurable infotainment system rotary controller, or directly through the touchscreen itself.

This most streamlined Range Rover is quite possibly the best yet. But don’t just take my word for it. Automotive journalists from 24 countries have voted it the most beautifully designed vehicle on the planet, winning the World Car Design of the Year title at the 2018 World Car Awards.