Audi Q5 2017 review
The new-generation Audi Q5 is difficult to fault as a premium SUV. All grades feel well-crafted, plush and high-tech. But how does it compare to its rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz GLC or BMW X3?
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Land Rover must have a giant reservoir of coolness just sitting in a tank at its Solihull HQ, ready for the Range Rover design team to pump into its new concepts. Because ever since the ground-breaking Evoque launched close to a decade ago, each new Range Rover arrival has sent the brand’s cool factor even further towards sub-zero.
The impossibly sleek SUV you see before you is the new Velar, the fourth member of the current Range Rover line-up, filling a space between the compact Evoque and the bigger Range Rover Sport.
It’s a five-seater that, in true Range Rover fashion, manages to combine top-shelf luxury with fuss-free functionality and genuine off-road capability. And we were invited to steer multiple models on the Australian launch, through the city and suburbs, on the highway, as well as a deep dive off-road.
|Land Rover RANGE ROVER VELAR 2017: D180 S|
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
The Velar’s slim LED head and tail-lights set the tone for the latest expression of Range Rover’s unique design language.
The smallest wheels you’ll find on the Velar are a sizeable 18-inches, and neat touches like the signature deployable flush door handles help the car record a surprisingly low drag coefficient (Cd 0.32).
A steeply raked and rounded-off nose combines with a high waistline, and a correspondingly shallow glass area, to give the Velar a strong yet dynamic look.
Subtle and carefully controlled curves across the bonnet and around the wheelarches soften the car’s appearance, with the slanted tail bearing a broad family resemblance to its current siblings, and earlier descendants (a connection heightened by the characteristic Range Rover script applied front and rear).
Range Rover calls its drive to reduce complexity ‘Reductive Design’ and a focus on large, clean surfaces inside the car has produced a stunning interior.
A major contributor to this borderline minimalism is the 'Touch Pro Duo’ system, a combination of dual 10-inch touchscreens working in unison to deliver everything that you'd need a battery of knobs and switches to achieve in a more conventional layout.
Add in the 12.3-inch configurable digital instrument display (standard on SE grade and above) and you’re looking at a beautifully pure, yet functional dash and console set-up.
A bewildering array of rich trim materials and lustrous inlay elements are available, while attention to design detail and the quality of its execution, in terms of materials and ergonomic efficiency, is hugely impressive.
Get in the car and you’ll never want to get out.
It’s hard to even think about the concept of practicality when the Velar’s interior is so luxuriously inviting, but practical and accommodating it is.
At just over 4.8-metres long, the Velar gives away only 47mm in overall length to the Sport, and just 41mm in the wheelbase, so no surprise, than, that cabin space is generous. But it’s the versatility of the layout that makes this five-seater so user-friendly.
For example, the folding cover for the (4.0-litre) storage box between the front seats is split longitudinally, and it can slide, allowing the driver and passenger to adjust each half individually.
There are three cupholders in the console (one sitting under a flush-fitting cover), and the (7.5-litre) glove box is cooled. Standard spec includes two USB ports and three 12-volt sockets up front, there’s a concealed oddments tray underneath the lower touchscreen in the centre console, and the door bins have been designed to hold 750ml bottles.
In the back, sitting behind the driver’s seat set to my 183cm position, I enjoyed ample legroom and heaps of headroom. Although the level of control varies by model, there are individual air vents, with additional USB inputs and 12-volt power offered.
Cargo space is generous, with close to 673 litres available with the 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat upright, and more than 1731 litres (only 30 litres shy of the Sport) opening up with it folded. A range of tie-down points, bag hooks, a sliding load cover, a decent light and more 12-volt power makes it a hugely useable space. Plus, a gesture-controlled power tailgate is standard.
The spare wheel situation is interesting, in that a steel (80km/h limited) space-saver is standard on all models… but, you can have an alloy space-saver for an extra $530, or a full-size alloy spare for $1020.
Which begs the question, who is vain enough to feel the need for an alloy space-saver (that won’t let you go any faster than a steel one), yet too tight to stump up an extra $490 for the real deal?
To give that person the benefit of the doubt, a full-size alloy spare raises the cargo floor height by 10cm, reducing base load volume to 558 litres. So, maybe it’s all about function rather than form.
With eight model grades, six engines (three petrol, three diesel), and a seemingly unlimited range of option packs available, cost of entry for the Velar stretches from $70,662, up to $168,250 for the limited run Launch Edition, which, as the name implies, will be available for the Velar’s first year of production.
It all adds up to no less than 50 variants across that $100,000 price spread, and Land Rover is pushing customisation as a key driver in the Velar purchase process.
That is a six-step process, with customers to select the following; model (Velar or Velar R-Dynamic), engine (any engine is available in any grade), specification (base, S, SE, or HSE), exterior (roof style, paint colours, wheels), interior (seat style, materials, and finishers), and options (there are a lot of them).
The $70,662 entry price buys you the ‘standard’ Velar, with the P250 petrol engine, while the base D180 diesel equivalent weighs in at $71,550. The R-Dynamic bodystyle (branded treadplates, leather steering wheel with chrome bezel, unique bumpers front and rear, front fog lights, plus a range of special materials and finishes) adds $6000.
All Velars boast a healthy standard equipment list including, a gesture-controlled power tailgate, 18-inch alloy rims, LED head and tail-lights, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, heated door mirrors, electronically controlled eight-way adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, eight-speaker audio, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, auto headlights, keyless entry and start, voice controls, a tailgate spoiler, deployable flush door handles and the dual-screen 'Touch Pro Duo' multimedia system.
Step up to the S and you’ll receive 19-inch alloys, premium LED headlights with daytime running lights (DRLs), 10-way power front seats, perforated leather trim, 11-speaker sound, plus auto-dimming and folding side mirrors with puddle lamps.
Opt for the SE grade, and the wheels grow to 20-inches, the number of speakers rises to 17, the number of ways you can adjust the (now heated) front seats doubles to 20, you’ll have parking aids front and rear, plus the brilliant digital instrument display.
Go all-in on the HSE and you’ll be rolling on 21-inch wheels, piercing the darkness with matrix LED headlights and your seats pick up cooling and massage functions. Chrome highlights are sprinkled around the cabin, too, and adaptive cruise is added, as is an electrically adjustable steering column.
The top-shelf First Edition variant is available in the Velar’s first year of production, and given the car launched globally in August, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Australia says you’ll need to place your order by March/April next year to be sure of securing one.
Based on the HSE, the First Edition is offered with a 3.0-litre V6 engine in supercharged petrol or twin-turbo diesel form only. Tasty additions include full (extended) leather interior trim, perforated 'Windsor' leather seats in 'Nimbus' or 'Ebony', a 1600W Meridian Signature sound system, matrix-laser LED headlights and 22-inch split-spoke wheels with diamond-turned finish.
And if you want to talk options and option packs, there’s not enough room on the internet to list them all.
Multiple paint colours (including the roof), a million different wheels, ‘Design Packs’, multi-adjustable seats, trim materials, ‘Head Up Display’, ‘Interior Design Packs’, ‘Driving Aids’, ‘Climate Pack’, a wristband ‘Activity Key’, even two types of the ‘Power Socket Pack’… sheesh!
The Velar showcases JLR’s full range of 2.0-litre all-alloy ‘Ingenium’ petrol and diesel four-cylinder engines, using a range of technologies and materials to reduce friction and minimise vibration, as well as a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 diesel, and 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol.
Diesels range from the single (variable geometry) turbo D180, using common rail direct-injection and variable (exhaust) cam timing to produce 132kW/430Nm. The D240 picks up a second turbo to pump out 178kW/500Nm, and the parallel sequential twin-turbo D300 V6 summons up a whopping 221kW/700Nm.
If petrol power is your preference, options kick off with the turbocharged P250, using variable (inlet) valve timing and variable cam timing to produce 184kW/365Nm. The recently introduced P300 cops more boost, with its twin-scroll turbo developing 221kW/400Nm, and the (Roots-type) twin-vortex supercharged and direct-injected P380 V6 pushes out a not inconsiderable 280kW/450Nm.
All engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic with drive going to all four wheels via a single-speed transfer box managed by Land Rover’s ‘Intelligent Driveline Dynamics’ (IDD) system, which allows a simple switch between on-road and off-highway modes.
‘Typical’ front-to-rear drive distribution is 50/50, with 100 per cent able to be sent to the front or rear axle when required.
Claimed fuel economy for the combined (ADR 81/02 - urban, extra-urban) cycle ranges from a low of 5.4L/100km (emitting 142g/km of C02) for the D180 four-cylinder diesel, to 9.4L/100km (214g/km) for the P380 petrol V6.
Fuel tank capacity varies from 60 litres for the four-cylinder diesels, through to 63 litres for petrol models and 66 litres for the V6 diesel.
We sampled three different drivetrain combinations, including the (D240) four cylinder and (D300) V6 turbo-diesels, as well as the (P380) 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol unit, but first impressions have nothing to do with the engine.
Adaptive suspension tech is standard across the range, with all six-cylinder models featuring full air suspension, and - even in the First Edition, rolling on huge 22-inch rims - the Velar’s ride quality, especially in the Comfort setting, is super smooth, without compromise to body control (well buttoned-down) and dynamic response (surprisingly agile).
The standard eight-speed auto transmission is super smooth, and mid-range thrust from the mega-torquey diesels is huge (maximum torque arriving at 4000rpm in both), while the petrol engine’s more linear power delivery (max torque 3500rpm/max power 6500rpm) is accompanied by a rortier engine and exhaust sound.
Land Rover claims 0-100km/h in 7.3sec for the D240, 6.5 for the D300, and just 5.7 for the supercharged P380. Not bad for 1.9-tonne beast.
If you expected the scales to spit out a bigger number, it’s worth noting the majority of the Velar’s body structure (more than 80 per cent) is aluminium, balancing its light weight with maximum stiffness, and the body panels are all alloy as well.
Steering that’s accurate, but overly light in Comfort, firms up to a weightier setting in R-Dynamic mode, although road feel remains modest. But even over patchy bitumen surfaces the car remains ultra-quiet and refined.
But if you really want to talk rough roads, the full-time four-wheel-drive Velar is ready to get stuck in with a slew of off-highway technology on board to help traverse tough terrain.
We attacked some steep, rutted and rocky forestry trails on the launch drive program, and driver-assist tech including Terrain Response (with comfort, grass/gravel/snow, mud and ruts, sand, eco, and dynamic modes), Hill Descent Control and Hill Launch Assist turning even rank amateurs into off-road heroes.
For the record, the Velar’s vital statistic for off-highway work (in off-road mode) are as follows: ride height – 251mm, approach angle – 28.9degrees, ramp angle – 23.5degrees, departure angle – 29.5degrees, and wading depth – 600mm (air suspension 650mm).
Maximum towing capacity is 2500kg, with ‘Trailer Stability Assist’ standard across the range.
3 years / 100,000 km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
All Velars feature AEB with pedestrian detection, traction control, stability control, Cornering Brake Control, Reverse (cross) Traffic Detection, tyre pressure monitoring, Lane Departure Warning, EBD, Roll Stability Control and Driver Condition Monitoring to keep an eye on the driver’s state of awareness.
Higher order features like Blind Spot Monitor, a 360-degree parking aid, and Rear Traffic Monitor are fitted to upper-tier models.
On the passive safety side, there are six airbags (head and side for the driver and front passenger, and curtain airbags covering the front and second-row seats).
There are three top tethers across the second-row seat for child restraints, with ISOFIX anchors on the two outer positions.
The Velar has not been safety assessed by ANCAP or EuroNCAP.
Land Rover supports the Range Rover Velar with a three-year/100,000km warranty, with 24-hour roadside assistance provided for the duration.
Recommended service interval for diesel four-cylinder models is 24 months or 34,000km, while the diesel V6 and petrol Velars should visit the workshop every 12 months or 26,000km.
A Land Rover Service Plan includes scheduled servicing for up to five years or 100,000km.
Always a subjective call, but we think the Range Rover Velar is one of the best-looking SUVs on the planet, setting new benchmarks for interior design and ergonomic efficiency.
It’s a super drive on the bitumen, and if you want to head bush, Land Rover’s off-highway DNA is there in abundance.
Range Rover is on a roll, and the super-impressive Velar throws down a big challenge to the likes of Audi’s Q5, the Jaguar F-Pace, Merc GLC and Porsche’s Macan.
|D180||2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO||$55,660 – 64,020||2017 Land Rover RANGE ROVER VELAR 2017 D180 Pricing and Specs|
|D180 HSE||2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO||$83,930 – 96,470||2017 Land Rover RANGE ROVER VELAR 2017 D180 HSE Pricing and Specs|
|D180 R-DYNAMIC||2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO||$60,390 – 69,410||2017 Land Rover RANGE ROVER VELAR 2017 D180 R-DYNAMIC Pricing and Specs|
|D180 R-DYNAMIC HSE||2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO||$88,660 – 101,860||2017 Land Rover RANGE ROVER VELAR 2017 D180 R-DYNAMIC HSE Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||8|
|Engine & trans||8|