What is it?
The Velar is the fourth addition to Range Rover’s burgeoning line-up that started with the original Range Rover in 1970. It fills the space between the baby Range Rover Evoque and flagship Range Rover Sport.
Described by Land Rover’s Chief Design Officer, Gerry McGovern as “the avant garde Range Rover,” the Velar is indeed one of the most striking SUVs to grace our roads. From the beautifully balanced design to generous proportion, the Velar oozes class and sophistication.
And thanks to its Jaguar XE-based aluminium-intensive platform, the Velar is more car-like in its demeanor than the Range Rover Sport, featuring sophisticated double-wishbone front suspension and an Integral Link rear axle.
It also retains the off-road prowess that Range Rover is renown for although the privilege comes at a price, as Land Rover charges $640 for its All Terrain Progress Control and $430 for Terrain Response 2; both of which bring the smarts to help you negotiate tricky terrains.
How much does it cost?
Prices start from $70,300 but stretches to $135,762 for the P380 R-Dynamic HSE. There are no less than 60 variants to choose from with powertrains ranging from a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel to a 3.0-litre supercharged V6, all featuring four-wheel drive and an 8-speed sports automatic transmission.
The Velar on test here is the SE D240 with a 177kW/500Nm 2.0-litre twin turbo-diesel four priced from $100,950 excluding on-road costs.
Standard features include Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Matrix LED headlights, auto-dimming and power folding door mirrors, keyless entry, Blind Spot Monitor, 360-degree reverse camera, cruise control and powered gesture tailgate.
Inside, the classy and minimalist interior features a fully digital and customisable TFT instrument cluster, Touch Pro Duo high-resolution touchscreens, Wi-Fi Hotspot, three 12V power sockets and 2 USB ports, satellite navigation, an 825kW, 17-speakers Meridian Surround Sound System, Bluetooth and two-zone climate control.
Most of the car’s functions are accessed via the low-mounted touch screen which functions like a tablet or smartphone using swipe and pinch gestures to scroll between menus or zoom in/out of the map. The upper screen can tilt through 30-degrees but returns to the flush position when the ignition is switched off.
To ease operation further, the touchscreens are complemented by two rotary controllers that adapt to the menu selected. It’s the same with the steering wheel mounted controls which changes according to the function selected.
Attention to detail is impressive, too. The plush and supple seats and speaker grills both feature the Union Jack motives, while the genuine wood veneer on the doors are particularly attractive, though a $440 cost option.
It’s not the only option, either. In fact, our test car is slathered with over $30,000 worth of pricey extras. Want heated or cooled electric front seats with massage function? That’ll be $7,730 good Sir. 21-inch alloys? That’s $1,430, thank you very much and the Head-up Display? $2,420.
How practical is it?
The Velar’s sizeable dimensions translate to an airy interior with plentiful head and legroom front and back. The rear seats can accommodate three passengers comfortably thanks to the wide bench and electrically recline backrest. Deceivingly however, the Velar is only a five-seater despite its generous wheelbase.
Behind its electric tailgate is 673-litres of luggage space that will more than double to 1,731-litres when the 40/20/40 split rear seats are tumbled down. Air-sprung models will lower itself automatically when parked for ease of access and loading. A boot-mounted button does the same trick when the car is on.
Like most foot-operated, hands free tailgates, it’s an annoying hit-and-miss affair with the Velar’s and it’s much quicker to just use the tailgate mounted button.
Inside, there’s plenty of storage including a sizeable 7.5-litres glovebox and door bins that are big enough to swallow a 500ml bottle. Underneath the split, sliding front centre armrest hides another 4-litres of storage space, while the storage behind the lower touchscreen is ideal of concealing smartphones and keys.
Front seat occupants have access to two USB ports and three 12V power sockets for charging mobile devices.
Active types can also specify Land Rover’s Activity Key, which allows them to lock and disable the car key in the car and gain access just by holding the Fit Bit-like Activity Key up to the Land Rover badge on the tailgate.
What’s underneath the clamshell bonnet?
The D240’s high-output 2.0-litre Ingenium twin-turbo diesel four-cylinder engine delivers a grunty 177kW at 4,000rpm and 500Nm of torque at 1,500rpm – 50Nm more than the 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol.
The engine seems to be quieter and better insulated in the Velar than it is in an F-Pace and does a good job on the refinement front.
Zero to 100km/h takes a respectable 7.3 seconds, however the powertrain tends to make you wait longer than you’d like at step-off before it response with any meaningful action.
Fuel consumption is rated at 5.8L/100km but our tested average is an unremarkable 8.1L/100km on a mix of urban, freeway and country driving.
How does it drive?
It’s a bit of a mixed bag and I’ll start with the good news first.
Thanks to the Velar’s car-based underpinnings, it behaves much like a normal car would if you don’t push it too hard. It’s steering is beautifully responsive and direct although a little aloof on centre.
It’s light enough at parking speeds to make manoeuvring easy in tight city car parks, yet weighted just right for sportier driving.
- READ NEXT: Range Rover Velar P380 Review
Ride compliant is good, too, with the optional air-suspension soaking up all but the foulest of bumps with ease in Comfort setting. But that’s where the good news ends.
While the suspension will firm up in Dynamic mode for a sportier handling, it ultimately lacks the composure we have come to expect from a modern premium SUV. There’s noticeable lean in corners and you are acutely aware of the Velar’s heft being thrown about when pushed hard, as its mass do catch up with your steering inputs.
Design and Comfort: 9.0/10
Performance and Handling: 6.5/10
Features and Equipment: 8.0/10
Classy, spacious, comfortable. The Velar ticks all the right boxes for the SUV buyer. However, its relatively unresponsive diesel drivetrain and slightly dispirited handling take the shine away somewhat from the driving experience.
- Striking good looks
- Classy and modern interior
- Innovative technology
- No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
- Expensive options
- Bewildering number of variants
2018 Range Rover Velar D240 SE pricing and specification
|Price (Excluding on-road costs):||From $100,950|
As tested: $131,840
· 20-way seats with Driver/Passenger memory, massage and heated/cooled front seats: $7,730
· Sliding Panoramic Roof: $4,370
· Interior Luxury Pack: $2,440
· Head-up Display: $2,420
· Premium Exterior Pack: $2,310
· Electronic Air Suspension: $2,110
· Perforated Windsor Leather Seats: $1,910
· Indus Silver Metallic Paint: $1,780
· 21” 5 Split-Spoke ‘Style 5047’ Alloy Wheels: $1,430
· Privacy Glass: $890
· Electrically Adjustable Steering Column: $890
· All Terrain Progress Control: $640
· Solar Attenuating Windscreen: $560
· Configurable Ambient Interior Lighting: $540
· Satin Blonde Linear Veneer: $440
· Terrain Response 2: $430
|Warranty Customer Assistance:||3 years roadside assist|
|Country of Origin:||United Kingdom|
|Service Intervals:||24 months/34,000km|
|Engine:||2.0-litre twin-turbo common-rail direct injection in-line 4-cyliner diesel:|
177kW @ 4,000rpm, 500Nm @ 1,500rpm
|Power to Weight Ratio (W/kg):||96.1|
|0-100km/h (seconds):||Claimed: 7.3|
|Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km):||Claimed: 5.8/Tested: 8.1|
|Fuel Capacity (L):||60|
|Body:||5-door SUV, 5-seats|
|Safety:||· 5-star ANCAP|
· Electric Parking Brake
· Single-speed Transfer Box
· Anti-Lock Braking System
· Torque Vectoring by Braking
· Autonomous Emergency Braking
· Lane Departure Warning
· Matrix LED Headlights
· Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
· Blind Spot Monitoring and Drive Condition Monitor
· 360-degree Reverse Camera
· Front and Rear Parking Sensors
· Cruise Control
· Powered Gesture Tailgate
· Space Saver Spare
|Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B) mm:||4,803/2,032/1,665/2,874|
|Turning Circle Between Kerbs:||11.6|
|Tare Mass (kg):||1,841|
|Boot Space (min/max) (L):||673/1,731|
|Towing Capacity (kg):||Braked: 2,500/Unbraked: 500|
|Entertainment:||· Touch Pro Duo with two 10-inch colour touch screen|
· Navigation Pro
· 825W, 17-speakers Meridian Surround Sound System
· Pro Services and Wi-Fi Hotspot
· 2x USB
· 3x 12V
Competitors: BMW X4, Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe, Porsche Macan