Range Rover Velar started with a clean sheet and the premise of less is more.
When they launched in 2017 they immediately became a segment leader with its beautiful design and driving dynamics.
Designed to slide between the Range Rover Sport and the urban sensation Evoque, the Velar introduces advanced technologies, a new design philosophy and styling innovation combined with maintaining the heritage of the brand.
There are a number of variants and engine combinations available. Here we road test the Range Rover Velar P250 SE model.
I hope the designers got a big bonus because the Velar design is simply beautiful.
From every angle the Velar maintains a simple elegance matched by few vehicles. The proportions are almost perfect.
Displaying a smooth rounded bonnet and grill contrasted with a sharp silhouette through to the accentuated curve of the rear, everywhere you look the design is sleek, emphasised by super-slim Matrix Laser-LED headlights and flush deployable door handles
It looks both well-groomed yet muscular and the 21 inch optional alloys facilitate the dual function of filling the wheel arch space and to accentuate the long wheelbase and proportions.
Look inside Velar’s interior and you will see elegant simplicity, sophistication and refinement. Like the exterior design, the interior is exquisite.
Front electric leather seats are firm and comfortable with enough seat slide for taller drivers, at the expense of rear seat passengers’ leg room.
The suede covered steering wheel is electronically adjustable for height and reach and has the usual controls on there. The touch control for the MFD sometimes is a little slow to react to touch.
The dash has two clear dials on the outside and a configurable MFD in-between. The ergonomics are spot on for the driver.
The centre stack debuts the state-of-the-art Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, featuring two high-definition 10-inch touchscreens for unrivalled functionality and intuitive operation and the screens are highly visible with excellent graphics. The screens also add to the minimalist design
The centre console bin has a two lid arrangement, is a reasonable size and houses a 12v plug as well as USB ports. In front there is a covered cup holder as well as an open one and a small bin where you can squeeze your phone in.
Other than that there are convenient storage spots everywhere, including a chilled glove box.
One thing that is pleasing is that visibility, especially through the ‘A’ pillars is better than most other similar vehicles. In fact the overall visibility with the 360 camera system is close to class leading.
The rear seats are sculptured more for two adults and a child. Sitting in them I noticed there was more than enough head and shoulder room and with a normal sized adult in front, I had adequate knee and leg room.
The boot is quite large and can accommodate enough luggage for a family trip. The tailgate opens high enough for my 190cm frame to stand comfortably under. Boot volume ranges from 673L to 1731L. Rear seats fold almost flat in a 60/40 configuration to allow a huge and practical storage area.
The list of features for the Velar is long and extensive as is the options list. However there are a couple of interesting features worth mentioning.
Some highlight features and options include:
- The gesture-controlled power tailgate option makes loading bulky or heavy objects into the luggage compartment easier and more convenient:
- Land Rover’s Activity Key – a waterproof, shockproof wristband with integrated transponder. Activity Key has no battery, so you never have to worry about changing it.
- For enhanced connectivity, Touch Pro Duo also features a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight devices.
- Premium black exterior – $4,500. This looks good but I seriously question the worth of spending $4500 on some colour bling.
- ON/OFF ROAD PACK (inc. Terrain Response 2, All Terrain Progress Control (ATPC), and Configurable Dynamics) 21″ 5 split-spoke ‘Style 5047‘ – $1,430. This option on the other hand is definitely worth the money.
- Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB+) radio – $940
- Suede cloth steering wheel – $940
- SMARTPHONE PACK (inc. InControl Apps) – $590
- Reduced section alloy spare wheel – $530
Drive and Engine
The Range Rover Velar P250 SE is powered by a 4 Cylinder Si4 petrol engine that produces 184kW/365Nm running through a responsive ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Fuel use is minimal, even with a heavy right foot and we got around town about 8.5L/100K on the freeway and around 11.0L/100K around town.
Velar features an efficient, torque on-demand all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, which provides the optimum torque distribution to suit the conditions.
In addition Land Rover’s stunning 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 or optional on other models– Dynamic mode.
The even more advanced Terrain Response 2, also automatically selects the best Terrain Response mode for any given surface.
Most of my time in the Velar was spent around town and on the freeway, with a modicum of dirt road thrown in. This was probably perfectly representative of potential buyer’s habits.
The P250 engine was okay. I don’t mean that in any derogatory way, it performed everything asked of it without excelling. If you are after a sports version, choose the P380.
The chassis dynamics far exceed the engines capacity and selecting the different dynamic options meant that you were extracting the most from the engine.
The true essence of the P250 Velar is that you almost forget you are driving it as it does everything so easily and without fuss. I found myself really enjoying the drive, which was more comfortable than engaging. It just felt relaxing.
As you would expect the Range Rover Velar has a 5 Star ANCAP safety rating. It’s full of features which include:
- Terrain Range AWD system
- Six airbags
- Lane Keep Assist With Driver Condition Monitor
- Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection
- Blind Spot Assist With Reverse Traffic Detection
- Dynamic Stability Control
- Electronic Traction Control
- Roll Stability Control
- Cornering Brake Control
- Torque vectoring
- Gradient Acceleration Control
- Hill Descent Control
- Electronic Brake-force Distribution
- Optional Park Assist – Parallel Park, Parking Exit And Perpendicular Park
- AWD capability
- Sophisticated style and presence
- Dynamic ride and handling
Not So Good Bits
- No standard electronic lumbar support
- Restricted rear leg room
- Long and expensive options list
The Velar is a mid-sized AWD SUV designed for those buyers that want style, luxury and sophisticated dynamics in a prestige vehicle. It give the promise of adventure, more than any other prestige AWD SUV, along with dynamic ride and handling.
As an urban prestige SUV it fits the criteria perfectly.
The Velar is one of those cars that the more you drive it the more it feels like a really comfortable pair of jeans. Put them on and everything just feels right.
There is an awful lot to like about the Velar. It does have, like all vehicles, some weak points, but overall it has so many positive qualities that it absolutely needs to be on the shopping list.
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Facts and Figures: 2018 Range Rover Velar P380 First Edition
- Engine: 2.0L Si4 Petrol, 184kw/365Nm
- Transmission: Eight-speed auto
- Warranty: 3 yrs/100,000km
- Safety: Five-star
- Origin: UK
- Price: Price as tested is from $99,592