Range Rover Velar road test review: Some say the Range Rover Velar is the best looking model in the Land Rover line-up – DAVID HOOPER has been putting one through its paces.
IN my book, this Range Rover Velar is the best looking car in the entire Land Rover stable, with its sleek lines, door handles which disappear into the bodywork, and almost fastback rear end… and if you agree that it looks great, just wait until you drive it.
It does everything superbly and is completely at home in just about any situation you can throw at it, be creating the right image in the company car park, cruising serenely on the motorway to your business meeting with limousine levels of comfort, or clambering up hills and over rocks with its wheels in the air on an off-road course and tackling unfeasibly steep lean angles which lead you to believe the car is about to roll onto its side. Anyone who’s done a Land Rover Experience Course will know exactly what I mean.
The Range Rover Velar range starts from £46,000, while our R-Dynamic SE model starts at £56,720 on the road, but add in a few choice extras and the vehicle tested here dents your balance sheet to the tune of a further £10,000!
You get a lot of car for your money though. This Velar features the latest Pivi dash with a 10in touchscreen display. You also get a central TFT display for your main dials behind the steering wheel, and a lower, larger touchscreen which controls most of the car’s off-road functions, climate control, heated seats, oh yes, and the massage function which will pummel your back as you drive along should you have a spot of backache! I liked the Dapple Grey textile and Ebony interior too, although I’m not sure it would be my choice.
The Pivi and TFT screens can be personalised to display your preference of information, but the defaults on the Pivi system show your nav system, phone and media choices. The options seem almost limitless, but the system crashed more than once when I connected my phone to it – even the tick-tock of the indicators stopped until I turned it off and back on again after I could stop.
Our test car features Land Rover’s latest D200 four cylinder turbocharged diesel engine which comes with 48-volt mild hybrid technology which improves its responses and economy – and I have to say I was hugely impressed with it.
In this application it delivers 204bhp, is smooth and refined, and gives the Velar plenty of get up and go, with a hot hatch worrying 0-62mph time of 8.2 seconds and potential top speed of 131mph. Its on road manners are excellent too – it wafts along the motorways, yet select the dynamic setting which stiffens up the suspension and sharpens the throttle and it does a good impression of a performance car and is impressively stable through the bends too with very little body roll through the corners.
But it was its economy which impressed me the most for such a big car. On a motorway and A road trip to Skipton it averaged 43mpg, and during my test, overall it returned 40.3mpg – impressive stuff.
My drive to Skipton took me to the Coniston Hotel where I was given permission to use the Land Rover Experience Course to get a few pictures of the Velar doing Land Rovery things. I’ve done a fair bit of off-roading in my time, but Land Rovers never cease to impress and the Velar was no exception. They can clamber up and down ridiculous gradients you’d struggle to walk up, traverse steep slopes, and wade through rivers, using various combinations of traction control, diff locks and electronic wizardry. If you haven’t done a course, you should – it’s a great day out and I promise you’ll be impressed with the car’s abilities.
Highlights of the options fitted to our test car include the Exterior Black Pack, privacy glass, a panoramic glass roof, 20in spoked gloss black wheels, electrically adjustable steering column and the star of the show, the Dynamic Handling Pack, which at £1,755 was the most expensive single option, but brings Terrain Response 2 with Dynamic Program, All Terrain Progress Control, Electronic Air Suspension, Adaptive Dynamics and Configurable Dynamics to the go anywhere party.
The Range Rover Velar is a lovely looking car, supremely capable on road or off, and a pleasure to drive and travel in. Like the rest of the range, it’s equally at home on the gravel drive of your country estate, or up to its axles in mud, and one thing’s for sure, it will have no trouble pulling your caravan or horse box off a muddy field during this year’s staycation!
THE VITAL STATISTICS
MODEL: Range Rover Velar D200 R-Dynamic SE
ENGINE: 1997cc, 204bhp four-cylinder diesel MHEV engine, driving four wheels through 8-speed automatic gearbox.
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 130 mph. 0-62mph in 7.7 secs.
ECONOMY: Combined WLTP: 45mpg.
Wheel World test average: 40.1 mpg
CO2 EMISSIONS: 165g/km.
FUEL TANK: 60 litres.
PRICE: £56,720 (£65,610 as tested)
WARRANTY: 3 years/60,000 miles
• All data correct at time of publication.