Review: Land Rover Range Rover Velar (2017)
Wonderfully plush and modern interior, latest touchscreen system is a vast improvement, as comfortable as you'd expect from a Range Rover.
2.0-litre diesel doesn't go with the premium feel, noticeable lean in corners despite the sporty pretensions. Build quality problems emerging.
Land Rover Range Rover Velar (2017): At A Glance
- New prices start from £70,250, brokers can source from £40,834
- Contract hire deals from £413.28 per month
- On average it achieves 80% of the official MPG figure
The Range Rover Velar is designed to bring a 'new dimension of glamour, modernity and elegance' according to Land Rover. Indeed, it describes it as a new type of Range Rover for a new type of customer. So who is the Velar aimed at?
Well, presumably it's someone who wants a car that sits inbetween an Evoque and a Range Rover Sport. This is the 'white space' (their words not ours...) that Land Rover has apparently identified.
Essentially what you're looking at is a more 'dynamic' Range Rover designed as an alternative to the likes of the Porsche Macan, Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe and ironically the Jaguar F-Pace, with which it shares much.
So does the Velar live up to all the hype? Well it does a pretty good job. It's certainly a lovely looking thing, even more so when you see one in the metal, so to speak, and there are some special details, like the retractable door handles.
Then there's the interior. It's a huge step forward for Range Rover in terms of technology and design. In fact, the cabin is one of the best around - of any SUV (or crossover or whatever this wants to be labelled as). It's a lovely environment to spend time in and feels genuinely luxurious.
Despite the more swoopy shape, there's also decent space in the back and a big boot too. This is still a practical family car and being a Range Rover it's also pretty handy off-road. But it's on-road where the Velar has been designed to excel.
Here it's something of a mixed bag. The steering is quick and responsive - and there's loads of front end grip - so you'd think it would be a recipe for decent handling. But the body control is still very much in Range Rover territory, which means it rolls a lot, especially compared to a Porsche Macan.
That said, it rides well enough and is very relaxing to drive. What we're not too keen on is the 2.0-litre diesel engine. The Ingenium unit is certainly quick enough but lacks the refinement and smoothness you'd expect of a premium car like the Velar. Luckily, there are also decent petrols available.
As for the name. Well 'Velar' dates back to the original Range Rover prototypes of the late 1960s. Back then Land Rover was limited to agricultural vehicles for farmers. However, keen to expand sales in the USA, it started work on the Range Rover in 1964. It used the Velar name to disguise the development of the prototypes on public roads between.
What does a Land Rover Range Rover Velar (2017) cost?
Buy a used Land Rover Range Rover Velar from £44,990
Land Rover Range Rover Velar (2017): What's It Like Inside?
The interior of the Velar is a big step forward for Range Rover. And it's a lovely environment to travel in. This is one car that impresses everyone who gets inside. It feels like both a genuinely luxurious and modern car - not something we've been able to say about a Range Rover before.
The real highlight is the new touchscreen system which does in fact include two screens, both with a lovely deep and clear display. And best of all? It actually works - properly. So when you touch the screen, it responds, instantly. It's a long way from the previous Land Rover system which looks very dated in comparison.
Called Touch Pro Duo, the new layout has two high-def 10-inch touchscreens on the dash above each other. The top one (which you can change the angle of) does all the navigation, radio and the like while the lower one has climate and the display for the Terrain Response.
Not only does it look up to date - and high quality - but this new system means the Velar can do without loads of buttons everywhere. Suddenly the interior of that Porsche Macan feels very old hat...
While the Velar may sit below the Range Rover and the Sport in terms of price, the interior feels equally as good as those two. The seats are supportive (and come with heating, cooling and even massage functions if you fancy...) albeit they're not as sumptuous as the bigger Range Rovers'.
But overall the level of finish is very impressive. It's not quite palatial - there are some cheaper plastics low down, but that doesn't stop this from being one of the best cabins we've experienced.
And practicality? Well it may be a bit lower and a bit more swoopy, but this is still a Range Rover, which means a very big boot - knocking on more than 630 litres which is not far short of a BMW X5. You can drop the rear seats with handes in the boot, plus a gesture-control tailgate (you can open it by kicking your foot under the rear bumper) is standard on all but the entry-level model.
Plenty of hat room in the back means you won't ruin your quiff plus there's decent legroom, although if you're six-foot plus and sat behind someone equally as long limbed, it's a bit tight.
Standard equipment from launch:
Velar comes with automatic transmission, Terrain Response Torque Vectoring by braking, adaptive dynamics, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, flush deployable door handles, Luxtec and Suedecloth seats, 8-way manual seats, heated front seats, cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, heated windscreen, keyless entry, DAB radio and InControl Touch Pro Duo (250W).
S has air suspension (6 cylinder engines only), 19-inch alloy wheels, auto-dimming exterior mirrors with memory, premium-LED headlights, auto high beam assist, powered gesture tailgate, perrforated grained leather seats, 10-way powered seats with driver memory, Meridian Sound System (380W), SSD Navigation, InControl Pro Services & Wi-Fi Hotspot plus a rear view camera.
SE gets 20-inch alloy wheels, Matrix LED headlights, intelligent high beam assist, Meridian Surround Sound System (825W), 12.3-inch TFT full digital instrument cluster, 360 parking aid, blind spot monitor, traffic sign recognition, adaptive speed limiter, reverse traffic detection and a driver condition monitor.
HSE adds 21-inch alloy wheels, perforated Windsor leather seats, 20-way powered seats, massage and climate front seats, extended leather interior, satin chrome steering wheel bezel, satin chrome paddle shifts, power adjustable steering column, adaptive cruise control with Queue Assist and Intelligent Emergency braking, park assist, blind spot assist and lane keep assist.
R-Dynamic comes with satin dark grey finish alloy wheels, R-Dynamic exterior pack, front fog lights, gloss black mirrors with Narvik black scalps, Shadow Aluminium trim finisher, bright metal pedals, Ebony Morzine headlining, leather steering wheel with satin chrome bezel, satin chrome paddle shifts and R-Dynamic treadplates.
Child seats that fit a Land Rover Range Rover Velar (2017)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Land Rover Range Rover Velar (2017) like to drive?
The Velar seems to struggle with a split personality. While Range Rover has imbued this with a more dynamic (we hate that word) character in order to give it a sporty feel like the Porsche Macan, it still has the feel of a Range Rover.
Confused? Well, to make it sporty, Range Rover has given the Velar very quick and responsive steering. Surprisingly so in fact. Like the Jaguar F-Pace, it doesn't feel particularly natural, but it certainly makes you think the Velar would be impressive in corners. And indeed, there's plenty of grip when you tackle a bend. However, there's also a lot of body roll. And it's here where the Velar doesn't perform as well as the likes of the Macan.
The pay-off is an impressively smooth ride quality meaning the Velar is wonderful for long distances. You can happily pack this up for a few weeks away and drive across Europe in it. That's helped by the lovely interior and supportive yet cushioning seats.
But is it as dynamic as Range Rover would want you to believe? Not quite. The Velar promises much but doesn't quite deliver at the final hurdle. The F-Pace feels more planted in corners. Not that this is everything of course - how often are you going to throw your Range Rover into a tight bend? It's just that given all Land Rover's talk of how road-biased the Velar is, you naturally raise your expectations.
While we're pointing out some of the less than positive aspects, there's the issue of the 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel engine. There are two versions available in the Velar - badged D180 and D240 to signify their power output. At least the Land Rover badging system makes more sense than Audi's...
This is an engine that's used in everything from the Jaguar XE to the Discovery Sport and F-Pace. And it's not short on pulling power. The D240 version has no less than 500Nm of torque and hustles along very nicely indeed. For a 2.0-litre engine, the performance is very impressive.
What's not so good is the sound. The four-cylinder engine is noisy on start-up and sounds coarse when you accelerate. And we're not talking about thrashing it here, merely accelerating from around 30mph onto a dual carriageway. The standard fit eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox does its best, but it can't hide that sound.
With all the marketing of the Velar as a premium and sophisticated SUV, the 2.0-litre diesel engine just doesn't suit. The positives are of course fuel economy - the D180 has official economy of more than 50mpg - but when you're spending this much on a posh SUV, you'd expect a bit more.
There is of course the 3.0-litre diesel that's used in the big Range Rover and the Sport. This has 700Nm of torque and is our choice in the Velar. It's rapid, easy to drive and sounds good too.
But if you're not covering big miles, there's the option of a sensible petrol with the P250 - a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that has a claimed 37.2mpg. Want more power? There's the same engine but upped to P300. And the pinnacle of the range is the P380 which has the renowned 3.0-litre supercharged V6.
The latter comes with four-corner self-levelling air suspension as does the 300PS diesel (it's an option on the D240 and P300). This makes the Velar even more cosetting and drops the ride height above 65mph to reduce wind drag. All Velar models can also tow 2500kg.
|D180||48–49 mpg||8.9 s||142–156 g/km|
|D240||42–44 mpg||7.3–7.4 s||154–169 g/km|
|D275||42–43 mpg||7.0 s||175 g/km|
|D300||42–44 mpg||6.5–6.7 s||167–175 g/km|
|P250||35–36 mpg||6.7–7.1 s||173–189 g/km|
|P300||34–34 mpg||6.0–6.2 s||178–189 g/km|
|P380||30 mpg||5.7 s||214 g/km|
|P550||-||4.5 s||270 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Land Rover Range Rover Velar (2017)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What have we been asked about the Land Rover Range Rover Velar (2017)?
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I bought a Range Rover Velar from a dealer and discovered that it is a pre-production model - what do I do?
What Cars Are Similar To The Land Rover Range Rover Velar (2017)?
Key attributes of the this model are: Comfortable seats, Four-wheel drive, High quality interior, Large boot, Luxury finish, Modern technology, Motorway cruiser, Quiet cabin, Raised driving position, Refined ride, Room for a buggy, Petrol engine, Large premium, SUV and Premium crossover.
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