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Range Rover Velar 2018 review: SE R-Dynamic D300

No ordinary Range Rover: The Velar is new high point in SUV design
EXPERT RATING
8
The Range Rover Velar is something of a cross between the Evoque and the Range Rover Sport and looks beautifully finished and sleek, like a sort of Rangie from the future. So what's it like to drive?

Range Rovers have looked the same forever: they’ve always had a prestigious and stately, yet tough and boxy presence. When the Evoque came along it looked cool but a little bit undercooked. The Velar is something of a cross between the Evoque and the Range Rover Sport and looks beautifully finished and sleek, like a sort of Rangie from the future. 

The Velar is also one of the most affordable Range Rovers – although the one we tested was getting up there in price because it was the SE grade, which sits reasonably high in the line-up and also because it had the V6 turbo diesel engine, and the sporty R-Dynamic pack. 

Like a Savile Row tailor, Land Rover prides itself on making Range Rovers that can be personalised to customer tastes and with a wide range of engines, grades and options to choose from there are a staggering 50 different variants of Velar. 

It’s as confusing as it is amazing, so consider this review as a kind of Velar decision-making hack – the SE D300 R-Dynamic could well be the perfect combo of grade and engine for you, or you may want something more, or less.

Either way you now have something else to consider against an Audi SQ5, Porsche Cayenne or Jaguar F-Pace

Land Rover RANGE ROVER VELAR 2018: D300 HSE
Safety rating
Engine Type3.0L turbo
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency6.4L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$110,000

Is there anything interesting about its design?   9/10

A long bonnet, a swept-back cabin and a roof-chopped appearance cut a profile that is super sleek. 

Mouldings, fittings and panels join together nearly seamlessly to form what appears to be one continuous, super-smooth surface.

  • A long bonnet, a swept-back cabin and a roof-chopped appearance cut a profile that is super sleek. (image credit: Richard Berry) A long bonnet, a swept-back cabin and a roof-chopped appearance cut a profile that is super sleek. (image credit: Richard Berry)
  • The panels join together nearly to form what appears to be one continuous, super-smooth surface. (image credit: Richard Berry) The panels join together nearly to form what appears to be one continuous, super-smooth surface. (image credit: Richard Berry)

That slippery minimalism is present in the cabin, too, with those damned gorgeous dual screens, virtual instruments and a clean design to the dash, seats and door trim. 

Fit and finish in the cabin in most places is impressive as well, all while feeling prestigious and special. 

There are some areas that I felt let the Velar’s quality down; the rear air vents felt cheap and a little basic, as do the “integrated exhaust finishes” at the back of the car, which is just a façade that the pipe hides behind.

How big is the Velar? It’s tricky to tell from looking at it. I’ve had people tell me it looks small and others say it appears long. That might be because it is fairly lengthy, at 4803mm end to end, which is 20cm shorter than a regular Range Rover Sport, but at 1903mm across and 1665mm high it’s not much wider or taller than the Evoque

The Velar is built on the same platform as its Jaguar F-Pace sister, but the Velar is 72mm longer. That platform is also used for the Jaguar XE and XF saloons.

The Velar is built on the same platform as its Jaguar F-Pace but is 72mm longer. (image credit: Richard Berry) The Velar is built on the same platform as its Jaguar F-Pace but is 72mm longer. (image credit: Richard Berry)

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

The Velar may appear long from the outside but its snug cabin is a cosy reminder that this is a mid-sized SUV.  Up front, head and legroom are excellent (I found the footwell of the F-Pace to be cramped) but those rear seats feel close, which was fine with my toddler in the back in his car seat, as I could reach him easily. That doesn’t bode well for rear legroom, however. Still, even at 191cm I could sit behind my driving position with about 15mm to spare, while headroom back there is excellent, even with the sunroof lowering the ceiling.

Despite the low ceiling, headroom for rear passengers is excellent. (image credit: Richard Berry) Despite the low ceiling, headroom for rear passengers is excellent. (image credit: Richard Berry)

The Velar has an impressively sized boot with a luggage capacity of 558 litres. That’s about 100 litres bigger than the Evoque’s and 100 litres smaller than the Range Rover Sport’s. Oh, and if you were wondering, the Velar’s boot capacity is 50 litres more than the Jaguar F-Pace’s.

The Velar has a boot size of 558 litres. (image credit: Richard Berry) The Velar has a boot size of 558 litres. (image credit: Richard Berry)

If you’ve gone for the D300 V6 turbo diesel, or the V6 petrol, that means it has air suspension and, apart from giving you a comfortable ride, it can also use its powers to lower its bottom like an elephant crouching down, to make lifting stuff into the boot easier. 

Elsewhere in the Velar, storage isn’t bad, with smallish rear-door pockets and larger ones up front. The felt-lined centre console bin is not huge and the square-shaped cupholder next to the shifter is odd. There are another two regular, circular cupholders up front and two more in the back row. 

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

Six engines, four grades, the R-Dynamic pack and a stack of different options adds up to 50 variations of Velar. Our test car, which was the SE grade with the 3.0-litre V6 diesel and the R-Dynamic pack, had a list price of $118,850.

I reckon this combination will be a popular one, and while the asking price is well on the way to being double that of the $70,662 base Velar, it’s still affordable as far as Range Rovers go. 

The standard features the SE grade brings make it both well equipped and good value, with the dual 10-inch screens, 17-speaker Meridian sound system, 12.3-inch virtual display, perforated leather seats, 360-degree parking camera, sat nav, auto gesture tailgate, dual-zone climate control, auto headlights, proximity key and 20-inch alloy wheels.

Inside the SE grade Velar there are dual 10-inch screens. (image credit: Richard Berry) Inside the SE grade Velar there are dual 10-inch screens. (image credit: Richard Berry)

The R-Dynamic pack swaps the alloy wheels for 10-spoke 20-inch rims, more aggressive looking front and rear bumpers, black wing mirrors, fog lights, R-Dynamic metal treadplates, a leather steering wheel with chrome bezel, satin chrome shifting paddles, metal pedals and aluminium interior trim.

Our test car was fattened up with a few options including the $4370 sliding panoramic roof, $940 black roof rails, the black roof for $1260, $890 for the tinted rear glass and $890 again for the power-adjustable steering column, plus a tow hitch receiver for $1000, All Terrain progress Control for $640 and Terrain Response 2 for $430, configurable ambient interior lighting for $540 and $640 for the premium carpet mats.

All up, the tested car’s price, minus the on-road costs, was $130,450. 

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   8/10

The 3.0-litre V6 twin turbo diesel (also called the D300) is the big mama of the Velar engine range when it comes to torque – we’re talking 700Nm of it from 1500-1750rpm. It’s not low on power, either, with 221kW. It’s petrol sibling is also a 3.0-litre turbo V6 and while it makes more power, at 280kW, its torque peaks at 450Nm.

An eight-speed automatic shifts gears seamlessly, sending drive to all four wheels.

The 3.0-litre V6 twin turbo diesel produces we’re talking 221kW/700Nm. (image credit: Richard Berry) The 3.0-litre V6 twin turbo diesel produces we’re talking 221kW/700Nm. (image credit: Richard Berry)

How much fuel does it consume?   8/10

Land Rover says the D300 should consume diesel at 6.4L/100km, with a combination of various driving conditions. I doubled that with the trip computer reporting that I was averaging 12.9L/100km. How much fuel is used depends on you. I use fuel like I do shampoo and waste it when the tank is full, and then as I get to last quarter of a tank I suddenly get super frugal. Being a diesel, I managed to get amazing mileage out of that last quarter.

What's it like to drive?   8/10

Effortless is the word that comes to mind. It's a feeling communicated by the fact that steering is light and accurate. In performance terms, the torque from the 3.0-litre turbo diesel is colossal but never feels like too much. The ride is supremely comfortable on that air suspension and handling is impressive, thanks to adaptive dampers. 

This is more a cruiser than a hi-po beast, however. The steering can feel numb and disconnected – this is a Range Rover trait and helps in off-roading, but it’s not great for feel at higher speed on the road. Nor is the Velar the kind of car that needs to show an off-roading bias. 

You’ll also be changing gears often to keep the revs down and stay in that narrow torque band, which is great for towing (it has a braked towing capacity of 2400kg) but not so wonderful for the odd bit of dynamic driving. The V6 petrol, while not as torquey, is more suited to that type of thing.

That small back window is hard to see through but the wide angled camera is excellent and visibility elsewhere around the car is great.

The small back window is hard to see through. (image credit: Richard Berry) The small back window is hard to see through. (image credit: Richard Berry)

As with all Land Rovers, the Velar is capable off-road.  Equipped with all-wheel drive and an active locking rear differential, our car also came with the Terrain Response 2 system, to make it even more adept in the rough. A wading depth of 650mm is impressive, too. 

As with most Range Rovers, however,  Velar owners will most likely keep their beautiful cars on the tarmac.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / 100,000 km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   8/10

The Velar scored the maximum five stars from ANCAP in 2017. Along with an aluminium safety cell and an array of airbags, there’s advanced technology such as AEB, plus lane departure and blind-spot warning

You’ll find two ISOFIX points and three top tether anchor points in the back row, too.

A space-saver spare is standard and lives under the boot floor. If you want a full-sized spare – and the answer is yes, you do - then you’ll need to pay $1020 for it, which is a bit ordinary.

A full-sized spare will cost $1020. (image credit: Richard Berry) A full-sized spare will cost $1020. (image credit: Richard Berry)

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

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.

Verdict

This is a low-slung, sleek and beautiful creature that is effortless and rewarding to pilot. Despite the clatter and narrow torque band of the diesel I love it for its giant shove and the fact that it suits the Land Rover functionality ethos. A modern, comfortable cabin that’s just big enough for a small family, and with a great boot, makes the Velar practical as well.

Audi SQ5, Porsche Cayenne, F-Pace or Velar? Which one does the prestige mid-sized SUV thing best? Tell us what you think in the comments below.  

Pricing Guides

$109,999
Based on 103 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$79,990
Highest Price
$138,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
D180 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $63,690 – 73,150 2018 Land Rover RANGE ROVER VELAR 2018 D180 Pricing and Specs
D180 HSE 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $96,030 – 110,330 2018 Land Rover RANGE ROVER VELAR 2018 D180 HSE Pricing and Specs
D180 R-DYNAMIC 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $68,970 – 79,310 2018 Land Rover RANGE ROVER VELAR 2018 D180 R-DYNAMIC Pricing and Specs
D180 R-DYNAMIC HSE 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $101,310 – 116,490 2018 Land Rover RANGE ROVER VELAR 2018 D180 R-DYNAMIC HSE Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Design9
Practicality8
Price and features8
Engine & trans8
Fuel consumption8
Driving8
Safety8
Ownership7
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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