2018 Range Rover Velar Review

Land Rover’s sexiest SUV yet. A futuristic interior seals the deal

By Shahzad Sheikh

Click below now to watch my 2018 Range Rover Velar Review now

This is the new Range Rover Velar. It shares its platform with the previously released Jaguar F-Pace (click here for the review).

2018 Range Rover Velar Review

So… er… Land Rover has taken a SUV platform from its sister company that took the whole notion of building SUVs from Land Rover in the first place. It’s all a bit incestuous and confusing, but not point fretting about it, as it’s the modern nature of the car industry.

2018 Range Rover Velar Review

I love both these brands, but if I was pushed on it, I’d pick Jaguar over Land Rover. Having said that… I definitely much prefer the looks of this Velar over the F-Pace. It’s sleek, smooth and very futuristic – and Range Rover fans better get used to, because all the future products will take these styling cues.

2018 Range Rover Velar Review

The Matrix Laser LED headlights make the front superslim and that trim look is replicated at the rear too. In fact follow the strong lines at the front through the concave sides and you’ll notice how they converge on quite a pert and attractive backside, which may be very un-Land Rover-like, but is practical because it does provide good ground clearance.

2018 Range Rover Velar Review

Plus check out those amazing flush door handles that pretty much disappear into the body when not needed, aiding both the style and the aerodynamics. What happens when the battery dies? I guess you just smash the windows. Just joking! Actually I have no idea what you’d do, it probably tells you in the owner’s manual, which would be locked in the car. Doh!

2018 Range Rover Velar Review

Anyway, forget that. Let’s turn our attention to the powertrain – there’s a choice of 3 engines across several levels of trim. You get a choice of two 2.0-litre Turbo 4-cylinder engines with either 250bhp or 300bhp.

2018 Range Rover Velar Review

And there’s a 3.0 V6 Supercharged motor putting out 380bhp providing a 0-100 acceleration time of 5.7 seconds, mated to an 8-speed ZF auto, obviously AWD and air suspension that adjusts to give you up to 251mm of ground clearance.

2018 Range Rover Velar Review

Prices start at AED246,000 ($67k) and go up to AED410,000 ($111k) for this range-topping R-Dynamic HSE with the beefy motors and in this case presented as a limited edition First Edition guise.

2018 Range Rover Velar Review

Is it practical? Well the boot is not quite as deep as you might expect for a family-sized SUV, but it’s long and wide enough to be usable. There’s a regular tailgate – not a Rangie-style split-folding job – but the strong flat floor does allow you to sit on the back, which somehow is a Rangie requisite.

2018 Range Rover Velar Review

Move to the rear cabin and there’s adequate space, with decent head and shoulder room, but knee space could be tight if you’re tall. You do get rear power supplies including a couple of USB plugs and A/C vents. It’s beautifully presented and trimmed though in this guise in particular.

2018 Range Rover Velar Review

Moving up to the front and you’re in the pilot’s seat of a space shuttle from Star Trek. There’s only a few buttons – and a volume knob, which is great – and lots of piano-black finishing. Start it up and two screens come to life. The top one tilts out towards you and another one below displays a Velar and drive modes. Sorry I should have said three screens because of course the instrument panel is also digital and configurable.

2018 Range Rover Velar Review

There’s a lot you can do through these screens, because there’s a lot of kit on here. Having said that it’s not always intuitive and easy to work and the touch-capacitive buttons on the steering wheel didn’t always want to respond to my touch – playing hard-to-get I reckon! Having said that, most owners will get used to it. Though in time I reckon Range Rover will figure this all out better.

2018 Range Rover Velar Review

Anyway turn the transmission knob to drive and plunge the throttle and it accelerates hard. Sounds good too. Visibility is better than you’d think, but putting your elbow lordy style on the door panel is not so natural anymore. Anyway forget that, and hold onto the wheel tight as you hurl it into corners. It grips hard and the body control is good too.

2018 Range Rover Velar Review

Surprisingly sporty then, and the ride at speed is good, but at very low speeds around town, particularly over speed bumps and ruts its can be a little hard – though that could be due to those massive wheels (though for once they do appear necessary to the style).

2018 Range Rover Velar Review

Where it does score as a city dweller is that it’s a very manageable in tight spaces – sure it’s got great 360 cameras, but the turning circle is compact too, making it handy in car parks. So it is both easy to drive at everyday speeds, but satisfying when you’re hard-charging.

2018 Range Rover Velar Review

This new Velar took me by surprise then. I didn’t expect to like it. I felt it was getting a little too pretentious for Range Rover. But in fact it’s doing exactly what Range Rover should be doing – paving the path towards the future (remember Land Rover created the whole luxury SUV segment in the first place, with the original Range Rover, A.K.A. the Velar!).

2018 Range Rover Velar Review

But it manages to do what it does with substance and, more importantly, charm, which is another essential Range Rover ingredient. So good is this new offering that by the end of my stint with the Velar, I’d not only heartily recommend it, but I’d consider one myself too!

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