Is there anything interesting about its design? 9/10
Can you believe there’s actually somebody out there who doesn’t think the Velar is stunning? It’s true, I’ve met him. And for fear of retribution I’ll keep his identity a secret, but let’s just say he’s more of a Suzuki Jimny man. And while I can appreciate the aesthetic ruggedness of the microscopic Jimny, the Velar could not be more different.
The Velar’s design is also vastly different from the traditional giant-brick Range Rover styling.
The Velar’s design is also vastly different from the traditional giant-brick Range Rover styling with its swept-back profile and smooth, almost line-less surfaces. Look at how those head and tail-lights sit almost completely flush with the panels around them – phwoaar, this is pure car porn.
When the Velar is locked the door handles sit flush against the door panels, like a Tesla’s, and deploy when the car is unlocked - another theatrical hint that the Velar’s designers wanted this SUV to look slipperier than a bar of wet soap.
The Velar’s designers wanted this SUV to look slipperier than a bar of wet soap.
The images I’ve taken don’t really do the Velar justice. The side shots are with the air suspension at its highest and the front- and rear-three-quarter ones are taken with the Velar on in its lowest setting giving it a tough stance.
The Velar I tested had an HSE badge on the back which means it’s the top grade in the range. If you look closely there’s another plaque, a tiny one, which says R-Dynamic which is a sports pack that adds the air intakes at the front, the vents in the bonnet and gives them 'Burnished Copper' colouring, which looks like a rose gold. Inside the R-Dynamic pack brings bright metal pedal covers and treadplates.
The Velar R-Dynamic HSE’s cabin is beautiful and modern. In Land Rover style the cockpit looks robust with large dials and a clear layout, but the double-decker displays and multi-function switchgear are technologically sophisticated.
The 'Light Oyster' (let’s call it white) 'Windsor' leather seats top off a prestige interior and if you look closely at the perforations a Union Jack will jump out at you. Not literally, that would be very dangerous while driving, but the pattern in the shape of the United Kingdom’s flag will become apparent.
The sliding panoramic roof, the tinted glass and the 'Santorini Black' paint were all options and you can read about how much they cost along with the list price of this Velar below.
Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with? 7/10
The Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic lists for $126,554. Coming standard are the exterior elements brought with the R-Dynamic pack I mentioned above, plus matrix LED headlights with DRLs, a power/gesture tailgate and 21-inch 10-spoke wheels in a 'Satin Dark Grey' finish.
The Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic lists for $126,554.
Also standard is proximity unlocking, the 20-way power adjustable heated and cooled front seats, Windsor leather upholstery, electrically adjustable steering column, leather steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, Meridian stereo, sat nav and the dual touchscreens.
Optional features on our Velar included the sliding panoramic roof ($4370), the head-up display ($2420), the 'Driver Assist Pack' ($2223), metallic black paint ($1780), the 'On/off road Pack' ($1700), the 'Convenience Pack' ($1390), electronic diff ($1110), digital radio ($940), privacy glass ($890) and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto ($520).
The Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic gets 21-inch 10-spoke wheels.
The prices as tested for our car was $144,437, before on-road costs.
You don’t need all those features and often Land Rover specs up our test cars to showcase what’s optionally available, but that said, charging for Apple CarPlay is a bit cheeky when its standard on a $30K hatchback.
How practical is the space inside? 7/10
The Velar looks large, but the dimensions show it to be 4803mm end-to-end, 1903mm across and 1665mm tall. That’s not enormous, and the snug cabin is a cozy reminder that this is a mid-sized SUV.
The snug cabin is a cozy reminder that this is a mid-sized SUV.
Space up front is good for the driver and co-pilot, and while things become a bit tighter in the back, even at 191cm tall I still have about 15mm of legroom behind my driving position. Headroom in the second row is excellent, even with the optional sunroof the test Velar sported.
The Velar is a five-seater SUV, but that uncomfortable middle space at the back wouldn’t be my first choice of places to sit.
Headroom in the second row is excellent, even with the optional sunroof the test Velar sported.
Air suspension is standard on Velars with the D300 engine and not only does this provide a comfortable ride it also allows you to lower the rear of the SUV so that you don’t have to hoist up your bags so high into the boot.
Boot space is 558 litres, which is 100 litres bigger than the Evoque’s cargo capacity.
Storage throughout the cabin could be better, but you do have four cupholders (two in the front and two in the second row), four door pockets (small ones), a centre console bin (also little, but containing two USB ports and 12-volt outlet) and an odd square-shaped hole near the shifter. You’ll find another 12-volt power point in the second row and one in cargo area.
At this price point we’d like to see more in the way of power outlets such as USB ports in the rear and wireless charging for phones as standard equipment.
What are the key stats for the engine and transmission? 8/10
Land Rover offers a lot of choice when it comes to engines, grades and features… probably too much choice.
The Velar I tested was an HSE grade, but with the D300 engine (the most powerful diesel).
The Velar I tested was an HSE grade, but with the D300 engine (the most powerful diesel), a V6 turbo making 221kW/700Nm. You don’t have to step up to the HSE to have this engine, you can have it on the entry level Velar, too.
The D300 is super quiet for a diesel but it’s still clattery, and if you can see this bothering you then there are two petrol engines which make even more power. The thing is no petrol engine in the Velar range comes close to making the same mountainous torque as the D300.
The Velar is an all-wheel drive and it wouldn’t be a proper Range Rover if it didn’t have some sort of off-road capability – which it does. There are several off-road modes from which to choose from mud ruts to sand and snow.
The head-up display will also show axle articulation and the incline angle. Our Velar was fitted with an off-road pack which you can read about below.
The Velar has a braked trailer towing capacity of 2400kg.
An eight-speed automatic shifts beautifully, decisively, smoothly, but a little slowly.
How much fuel does it consume? 8/10
Land Rover says the Velar’s fuel consumption over a combination of open and urban roads is 6.6L/100km. I couldn’t match that, but measured 9.4L/100km at the pump. Still pretty good – if this was a petrol V6, that figure would be higher.
What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating? 7/10
What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered? 6/10
The Velar is covered by Land Rover’s three-year/100,000km warranty with servicing for the 3.0-litre V6 diesel variants recommended annually, or every 26,000km.
Twenty-four hour roadside assistance is also available for the length of the warranty. A five-year/130,000km service plan, capped at $2200, is available for the Velar.
What's it like to drive? 8/10
Plant your foot from a standstill and you’ll see the bonnet heave up and 100km/h rush up to meet you in 6.7 seconds. That was something I never go tired of during my week with the Velar R-Dynamic HSE. I also didn’t become bored with the light and accurate steering nor the great visibility.
The Velar R-Dynamic HSE D300 feels superb and easy to pilot.
But the ride, while comfortable on that air suspension when cruising along smooth motorways, had a sharp edge to it over speed bumps and potholes, which I think was the fault of the 21-inch rims and 45 profile Continental Cross Contact tyres.
The turbo-diesel engine is prone to a bit of lag at times and while that’s not a deal breaker, it sometimes spoiled the moment during a bit of sporty driving when the Velar shifted into a higher gear and I had to wait a moment for the mumbo to return.
That peak torque band is narrow, too (1500-1750rpm) and I found myself taking control of the shifting myself with the paddles to keep within it.
That said the Velar R-Dynamic HSE D300 feels superb and easy to pilot.
If you’re leaving the bitumen the Velar is a lot more capable that its looks may suggest. Our test vehicle was fitted with the optional 'Off-Road Pack' which brings 'Terrain Response 2' and 'All Terrain progress control'. A wading depth of 650mm is not too shabby either.
I think the Velar R-Dynamic HSE D300 is the most beautiful Range Rover ever made and one of the most stylish SUVs money can buy. It’s also fast, not too expensive and a proper Range Rover. It’s not big though, and if you’re looking for a seven seater you’ll have to step up to the big daddy Range Rover.
Do the right thing here, don’t skimp on the engine and go for the D300 diesel with its giant torque and the Velar will give you a driving experience as good as it looks.
I don’t think its essential to step up to the HSE grade at all and it’s a no-cost option to go for smaller wheels shod with higher profile tyres – just saying.