2018 Range Rover Velar Review and Road Test By Larry Nutson
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2018 Range Rover Velar
World Car Design of the Year
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
Land Rover is in the SUV business. That’s all they make. And how perfectly fitting that is in these times when every month the new vehicle sales reports say that’s all people are buying. Or so it seems.
I had previously seen in person the newest entry in the Land Rover stable, the 2018 Range Rover Velar, and thought it to be quite good looking. It’s not so rugged looking as other Land Rovers and appears more suited for urban living.
Once getting behind the wheel in my Chicagoland environs, I quickly came to appreciate the Velar’s sporty handling, especially beautiful interior with lots of high-tech and attractive styling.
The new Velar is based on the same architecture as the Jaguar F-Pace, so you can easily see where the sportiness and refinement come from. I would describe the Velar as being on the large-end of the compact SUV segment. That’s a good place to be with more and more families choosing to live in urban, big-city neighborhoods.
The Velar comfortably seats five and has plenty of rear cargo area. My two offspring are grown and out on their own. However, as I go about my daily activities I often watch parents with young children loading the stroller and pack-n-play into the back of an SUV. It’s much more convenient and easy than in a traditional sedan.
With a lower ride height and nimble chassis I thought the Velar to corner well and have decent road isolation. It’s well composed although a bit stiffly sprung, but not to a fault. Granted I was on city streets, that do get pretty beat up in winter, and not traversing some gravel road out in the country.
The 2018 Range Rover Velar comes standard with a 247-horsepower 2.0-L turbo four-cylinder engine that is coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is the only way they come. It is also available with a turbocharged 2.0-L four-cylinder diesel or a 380-horsepower supercharged 3.0-liter V6.
Velar is offered in six different models with pricing starting at $49,900.
For my test drive I was fortunate to be in the Velar R-Dynamic HSE model. With a base price of $77,100 it comes very loaded. With the 380-HP V6 this model is also equipped with the On-Off Road, Convenience, Climate and R-Dynamic Black Exterior packages, plus a lot more.
With all that horsepower, and torque too, the Velar has really good acceleration and easily merges on a highway on-ramp and accomplishes passing with ease. The transmission in well matched to the engine with smooth up-shifts and down-shifts.
EPA test-cycle ratings are 20 mpg combined, or 5.0 gallons per 100 miles, with 18 city mpg and 24 highway mpg.
Entering the Velar you are greeted by flush-mounted deployable door handles that pop-out when you press the unlock button. Like many an SUV, there’s a high seating position affording good outward visibility. A quick glance reveals the high quality look and feel to the interior. There’s a decent bit of elegance on the inside of the Velar.
A twin-screen infotainment system sitting in the middle of the dash and center stack draws your eye immediately. The best approach with systems like these is to sit, stopped and parked for a while and simply play with the touchscreens. I’m used to high mounted touch screens, but the Velar’s second, lower screen for climate is a bit of a challenge to use. However I note, if I were driving this Velar everyday, how much would I really be changing with these touchscreens?
Overall the seating for five is quite comfortable and there’s ample cargo space in the way-back. The power lift gate has a gesture open feature. The engineers were nicely considerate and put the gesture sensors near the Velar’s corners rather than directly behind the lift gate. I also liked the lip on the interior cargo floor that prevents cargo that has shifted from falling out when you open the rear hatch.
The Velar has a solar attenuating windshield that requires toll payment devices such as I-pass and EZ-pass to be mounted in one specific designated location so that they can be detected.
A complete array of driver-assistance safety features are offered on the 2018 Range Rover Velar including low-speed automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection as well as blind-spot warning. There’s also a 360-parking aid.
More detailed information and specifications on the 2018 Range Rover Velar can be found at www.landroverusa.com.
The 2018 Range Rover Velar is very much a Land Rover. It’s a bit more refined and urbanized than other of its siblings, and yet it still has the creds to perform off-road. But than again, what are we all doing? Perhaps driving to a weekend retreat that may be down a dirt road or to a ski hill in winter with a bit of snow on the road.
Whether it be your hometown Main Street or a farm in the country, the Velar is a very nice vehicle to go about your business. If I were buying, I’d have it on my short-list. Velar is quite worthy to consider if you are shopping for a luxury SUV.
The Range Rover Velar has been judged the most beautifully designed vehicle on the planet, winning the World Car Design of the Year title at the 2018 World Car Awards.
And, the 2018 Range Rover Velar is a candidate for the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year award.
© 2018 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy
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