July 19, 2018




2018 Range Rover Velar P380 First Edition Review

Some say Range Rover’s Velar is the “Fabio” of the car world.

Well OK, I’m the only one to have said that, but beautiful it is, and it is smart too. The special edition model is crammed full of useful goodies which are either smart or pretty, or both.

Exterior

Flux Silver is the $13,120 satin-finish covering the Velar in a moody blaze of matte glory. It looks stormy and brooding in a deliciously menacing way.

Flush door handles deploy as the inbuilt button is pressed. As the doors unlock, the handles pop out ready for a gentle tug.

The body sits high atop 22” 9 (split) spoke alloys, and lights are distinctive LEDs front and back.

Believe it or not, that’s not the limit of the coolness outside, but most of it you never see despite being in plain sight. Much of what you see is actually aluminium. In fact, 81% of the construction is aluminium.

The rear hatch is plastic, and is electrically operated. It has an incredibly moody “kick to open” function. See the video if you want a laugh.

If you think Velar looks like Range Rover’s baby Evoque, you’re not mistaken. Velar has the same dramatic sweeping roof and high angular waistline.

Interior

Range Rover does interiors like no-one else, except Jaguar of course. That’s no surprise considering Range Rovers are Jags on steroids.

There are heated and cooled massaging front seats. Not to mention power reclining back seats, and glass sliding sunroofs. Of course you expect this kind of attention to detail, so it is hardly noteworthy.

It’s the Star-Wars dashboard and console that is where it’s at.

Aston Martin had a whack at digital dashes in the 70’s, which were a colossal failure. Now, cabins are littered with touch screens and sensors. Touch buttons are now festooned with gay abandon hither and yon.

Torching the start button brings the inky blackness of the cockpit to life, in full living colour. Driver’s instruments being displayed on 12” LCD monitors isn’t such a big deal. Even a humble Golf can have that.

It’s the centre console that is a true celebration of tech in the late “teens”. In fact, this layout can now be found in the Range Rover Sport too.

The upper touch screen is power-adjustable and houses the infotainment system. The semi-auto parking, satnav, media, and phone can be displayed separately, but the HOME screen will show compact version of multiple apps.

The lower screen contains settings normally found in the myriad of buttons that litter interiors making them look messy and confusing.

There are virtual buttons across the top of the screen for vehicle, climate, seats and settings, which bring up the corresponding menu. The 2 large dials below will also change function depending on what menu is selected.

Entering the “seat” settings for example, allows you to select warming or cooling, and which part of your nether regions you’d like gently rubbed. Climate control functions can also be found on the large dials, but the full menu allows even greater control.

You’ll also find the air suspension height settings here. This car will squat so you don’t fall out upon egress, like Patsy in AbFab.

Features

  • Drive Pro Pack
  • Electric Parking Brake
  • Single-speed Transfer Box
  • Electronic Air Suspension
  • All Terrain Progress Control
  • Terrain Response 2
  • Configurable Dynamics
  • Wade Sensing
  • Torque Vectoring by Braking
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Speed Proportional Electronic Power Assisted Steering
  • Electrically Adjustable Steering Column
  • 22” 9 Split Spoke Alloy Wheels w/- Diamond Turned Finish
  • Matrix LED Headlights w/- Signature DRL
  • Front and Rear Fog Lights
  • Sliding Panoramic and Black Contrast Roof
  • Privacy Glass
  • Rain Sensing Wipers
  • Deployable Flush Door Handles
  • Heated Exterior Mirrors
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
  • Keyless Entry
  • Park Pro Pack w/- 360º Parking Aid
  • Cruise Control w/- Speed Limiter (145km/h)
  • Powered Gesture Tailgate
  • Power Socket Pack 2- 4 x USB, 3 x 12V
  • Electric Windows w/- One Touch Open/Close and Anti-Trap
  • Pro Services and Wi-Fi Hotspot
  • Navigation Pro and Touch Pro Duo
  • Luxury Pack Plus inc. Leather Steering Wheel w/- Chrome Bezel, Satin Chrome Gearshift Paddles and Full Extended Leather Upgrade
  • Ebony Morzine Headlining
  • 5” Display w/- Instrument Panel
  • Two-Zone Climate Control
  • Configurable Ambient Interior Lighting
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Remote and Activity Key
  • Air Quality Sensor
  • Auto-dimming, Power Fold, Heated Door Mirrors and Interior Rear View Mirror
  • Meridian Signature Sound System 1600W w/- 23 Speakers
  • Surround Camera System
  • Head-Up Display
  • Perforated Windsor Leather Seats
  • 20-Way Seats w/- Driver Memory/Passenger Memory, Massage and Heated/Cooled Front (incl. rear armrest and power recline)

Drivetrain

  • Engine: 2,995cc Supercharged V6 Petrol,
  • Power – 280kw,
  • Torque – 450Nm,
  • Economy – 4L/100k
  • Transmission: 8 speed auto
  • Towing – 2,500kg

 

There are a couple of drive trains available to Velar. The First Edition P380 model comes with the superb supercharged 3.0L power plant mated to a flawless 8 speed auto.

There are several drive modes with Comfort being my preferred setting. There is a Dynamic setting, and a couple of off-road programmes for good measure. Weight savings see this Range Rover weighing a smidge more than a large sedan at 1884kg.

Despite the size, the V6 manages the sprint to 100 in 5.7 seconds. With 280kw and 450Nm, the claimed 9.4L/100k soon goes alarmingly north if you keep your loafer pressed into the Axminster.

Some complain about the floaty feeling air suspension gives this “mid size” Range Rover. Most of the time it is like riding on a magic carpet, but then bumps come and it all goes wrong. The suspension might be brilliant, but low profile tyres fight with all their might to ruin the experience.

Even minor transgressions of the road surface elicit unwelcome noise. As you “thunk” over irregular surfaces, you’re often subjected to nasty jolts as the schmears of rubber cope unsuccessfully to cushion occupants from the environment.

Although there is off-road height, these are not off-road wheels.

The AWD system is like that in the Evoque rather than the full sized Rangie which has proper 4WD. It would cope with light work off the bitumen, but a polo match car park is about as far as Velar will ever be taxed.

You sit very high up, and your seat will remember 3 positions. Those positions, along with radio, steering wheel, and mirror positions, will be set depending on which key is the hand bag of the person who unlocks the door.

While you’re wafting along in a rarified air of smug self-satisfaction, you’ll be doing so in a cabin where the loudest sound is the air coming from the vents. The sound deadening filters all but the fore mentioned road imperfections. 99% of the time you’ll won’t be aware of life outside the limits of the tinted glass cocoon.

Velar drives more like and SUV than Audi’s Q7 but there is no question as to which cr I’d rather be seen in. As beautiful as the Audi is to drive, it can’t match the street cred of a Range Rover.

Should you want to take Big Boy to the polo, your horsebox can weight no more than 2,500kg, just in case you were wondering.

Range Rover Velar

Safety

  • 5 star (tested in 2017)
  • Electric Parking Brake
  • Anti-Lock Braking System
  • Active Rear Locking Differential
  • Wade Sensing
  • Torque Vectoring by Braking
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
  • Keyless Entry
  • Cruise Control w/- Speed Limiter (145km/h)
  • Surround Camera System
  • Active key (disarms normal key and is worn around wrist)

Good Bits

  • Rear diff lock
  • Good looks
  • Superb interior

Not So Good Bits

  • Limited offroad ability
  • No Apple CarPlay
  • Price

 

Summary

The car is full of cool features. There is an “Active key”. You wear the rubber wrist band (leaving the disarmed keys in the car) while doing your outdoorsy-type things. When you come back to the car, you hold your wrist against the Range Rover badge and the system returns keys to normal function.

The looks can’t be beaten, so the only drawback I can find is the lack of car play, and the difficulty in streaming Bluetooth music. The latter can be fixed easily with Range Rover software update.

Velar loses ½ point for lack of Apple Car Play, and ½ a point for ride over bumps.

Facts and Figures

Engine:                 2,995cc Supercharged V6 Petrol, 280kw,450Nm, 9.4L/100k

Transmission:    8 speed auto

Safety:                  5 star tested 2017

Origin:                   UK

Warranty:            3 year/100,000km

My rating             9/10

Price:                     $168,862 (+$13,120 for Flux Silver paint)




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