Range Rover Velar
The Range Rover Velar is an exquisitely designed vehicle that has already been dubbed the world’s most beautiful car. It boasts elegant styling, a raft of of-board technology and all the exhilarating driving dynamics and outstanding off-road capabilities associated with the Land Rover marque. Now available with PHEV powertrain.
The goodDesign, technology, driving dynamics and off-road capabilities
The badPricey when options are factored in
Range Rover Velar PHEV (2021)
Land Rover is gearing up for a cleaner, greener future with the arrival of plug-in hybrid engine technology for its flagship Range Rover Velar model.
And in addition to the Velar PHEV, there is a range of mild hybrids available with new 3.0-litre straight-six Ingenium petrol and diesel powertrains. These join a cleaner four-cylinder diesel engine – also with mild hybrid technology and customers have plenty of choice when it comes to well-equipped trim levels too.
The five-door Velar costs from £47,205 and rises to £71,020. Obviously, as is any premium car maker’s way, a whole host of optional packs and extra features can be added to personalise the car, but expect the cost to rise quite dramatically in the process.
One of the major new improvements introduced to the Velar is the impressive Pivi and Pivi Pro infotainment systems featuring sharp graphics and rapid responses via two integrated 10-inch touchscreens. All the necessary software updates are carried out over-the-air keeping the car bang up to date at all times.
Most on-board systems can be accessed quickly from the home screen and it’s possible to pair two smartphones via Bluetooth at the same time. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard and expect to see features such as a 3D camera system, a pitch perfect Meridian sound system, heated seats, a heated steering wheel and plenty more besides.
Boasting a modern, sophisticated design, the Velar is on sale with a striking new paintwork shade called Lantau Bronze, which is exclusive to the model and looks stunning.
Another new feature, that brings with it added refinement, is the active road noise cancellation system which works similarly to noise cancelling headphones. It detects the irritating sounds from road and tyre noise and calculates the cancellation signal required to remove the noise heard by occupants and then plays it back through the speakers. It even adapts the level and position of the sounds played back according to the number of people inside the car. Clever stuff.
Comfort levels inside the Velar are sublime and there is enough space in the back for three adults to stretch out. Storage options impress too with a boot capacity of 748 litres, increasing to 1,811 litres with the rear seats dropped. These luggage capacities are reduced slightly to 625 and 1,693 litres on the PHEV model as the battery pack is stored beneath the boot.
We tested out the new Velar P400e PHEV in S specification costing £61,770. This car was powered by a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine with a 17.1kWh battery for plug-in hybrid technology, delivering 404PS with an electric-only range of up to 33 miles.
With all-wheel drive, an eight-speed automatic transmission and 640Nm of torque, it could sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 5.4 seconds and has a top speed of 130mph. According to official figures, under stricter WLTP testing, it could deliver up to a combined 130.2mpg with carbon emissions from 49g/km.
Obviously, these outstanding fuel economy figures would only be a realistic possibility if the vehicle were driven in EV mode for a high percentage of its miles, so expect to see a much more sensible real life figure in day-to-day driving.
The driver can select from three drive modes called EV mode for pure electric-only motoring, Hybrid mode which automatically combines the petrol engine with electric drive to maximise efficiency and Save mode which prioritises the combustion engine to store the existing battery charge for later use.
All this technology sounds fabulous, but how does it all stack up when put to the test? The answer is very well indeed. When it comes to performance, the Velar PHEV is a perfectly balanced vehicle with a real edge for driving dynamics. The acceleration is instant and very smooth as it reaches motorway speed limits in the blink of an eye.
On country lanes, the road holding is confident and the cabin is well protected against any engine, road surface or wind noise.
The interior is comfortable, elegant and feature-rich with the all-new infotainment system and latest technology proving very easy on the eye and user friendly.
On a practical note, the battery can be charged from 0-80 per cent via a rapid charger in just 30 minutes or 1 hour and 40 minutes from a standard 7kW wallbox.
We also tested the Velar D300 MHEV in R-Dynamic SE trim. This diesel powered model with a 3.0-litre, six-cylinder Ingenium engine with 300PS could complete the 0-62mph sprint in 6.5 seconds, maxed out at 144mph and could deliver a combined 38.2mpg with CO2 emissions from 194g/km. It also had an eight-speed automatic gearbox and cost £63,105.
Once again, this Velar proved its worth and was a pure delight out on the open road with perfectly weighted steering and excellent all-round driver visibility. We even had the opportunity to take both Velar models away from the comfort of the Tarmac and put them through their paces off road.
Although, it’s not in the same league as the hardy Discovery or new Defender models, the Velar is very capable when it comes to climbing slippery hills, traversing boggy trails and descending muddy drops with confidence.
With a maximum five-star Euro NCAP rating, the safety specifications are comprehensive with the likes of blind spot assist, rear traffic monitor, wade sensing, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition and the excellent Terrain Response system for dealing with any of Mother Nature’s more severe mood swings.
All in all, the latest Range Rover Velar not only looks out of this world in its styling, but it boasts state-of-the-art technology and all the luxury you could possibly wish for – all powered by engines that are kinder to the planet.
Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic (2021)
The motoring world seems to be obsessed with SUVs these days and why not? They are practical, easy on the eye and very well equipped – but they can bring so much more to the mix.
And to prove that point, Land Rover has really spiced things up by introducing its mighty 5.0-litre turbocharged Range Rover Velar to the SUV sector, which delivers a whopping 550hp and a 0-62mph sprint time of just 4.5 seconds.
This five-door performance model still covers all the comfort and practicality bases but with 680Nm of torque, a top speed of 170mph and some jaw-dropping design cues, this isn’t just any old SUV – this is a Land Rover Velar SUV!
With the price-tag on the Velar in range-topping SVAutobiography Design specification showing £86,685, you will have to dig deep into the savings and privacy glass added £400 to the final cost of our car.
Now you could be forgiven for thinking that £400 worth of extras on such a premium model is very reasonable and it is. But that’s simply because this car has it all factored into the starting price.
But, you may need to sign up to a fuel card scheme because the Velar drinks petrol for fun with an official combined mpg of just 23.0, and the carbon emissions figure of 270g/km will keep the annual tax charge high too. But sometimes you get what you pay for and this is one of those times.
When approached from any angle, this sportiest of the Velar line-up is guaranteed to draw attention thanks to its dynamic design. It features Matrix LED headlights with signature daytime running lights, door handles that are flush to the bodywork, a black contrast roof, rear fog lights, four exhaust pipes, a sliding panoramic roof, 21-inch alloys and red brake calipers to complete the styling.
Move inside and the interior is high-end quality through and through with plush fixtures and fittings throughout. The powered seats are made from the finest Windsor leather with a quilted pattern – they have memory settings and can be heated or ventilated. They even have a massage function for extra pampering on longer journeys. The soft grain leather sports steering wheel can be heated and is also powered which makes finding the perfect driving position a simple process and the elevated seating results in excellent all-round driver visibility.
The list of on-board technology cannot fail to impress with Land Rover’s innovative Touch Pro Duo screens that provide quick and easy access to the many on-board systems. There is a Meridian surround sound system, full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a DAB radio, Bluetooth, four-zone climate control and plenty more besides.
The driver can easily flick through the various driving modes called Dynamic, Eco and Comfort as well as some off-road settings such as Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud ruts and Sand. And being a full blooded Land Rover, the Velar is very capable away from the comfort of the Tarmac should it be faced with more challenging weather conditions or demanding terrain.
My only slight gripe about the layout of the car is the positioning of the start button which is rather awkwardly tucked away round the side of steering wheel. But once you start up the Velar, that is very soon forgotten. That’s because the car starts up with a fearsome roar – you won’t find yourself on any neighbours’ Christmas card lists if you have an early start.
When it comes to the driving experience, this Velar is definitely not for the faint-hearted. The acceleration is blisteringly quick and the automatic transmission is perfectly timed as it fires through the gears with paddles if you fancy taking a little more control of the gear changes.
The road holding is ultra-grippy meaning tight bends can be attacked with complete confidence and there is minimal sign of body sway into long sweeping bends. The steering is nicely weighted too with ample driver feedback and after a few hours behind the wheel you soon realise this is a car of many moods. It can be mature, sensible and comfortable when necessary but, should a little excitement be the order of the day, it adopts are far more fiery, aggressive manner and is brutally quick.
And if you switch across to Dynamic mode, then expect even more volume with onlookers likely to hear the Velar long before they see it, thanks to the enhanced exhaust noise.
The Velar also ticks all the boxes on the practicality front with a boot that can swallow 558 litres of kit, increasing to 1,731 litres with the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. Elsewhere there is a lockable glovebox, a central cubby box containing the USB ports, a SIM card slot and 12V outlet, deep door bins, front and rear cup holders, seat back pockets and a secret storage compartment hidden away by the gear selector dial.
As one would expect, the list of safety kit and driver assistance systems is comprehensive with the likes of adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, emergency braking, traffic sign recognition and adaptive speed limiter, advanced emergency brake assist, rear traffic monitor, a driver condition monitor, high speed emergency braking, park assist, six airbags and lots more besides.
All in all, this flagship Range Rover Velar is all the proof needed to show that by choosing an SUV you are not necessarily going down the boring route – I have driven many hot hatches that are far less fun to drive.
Land Rover Range Rover Velar 2.0L HSE (2018)
Few test cars that I’ve had the privilege of driving over the years have attracted as much attention as the all-new Range Rover Velar. In fairness, it looks stunning from every angle and has already scooped an award for being the best-looking car on the planet. But, when I told admirers it was a ‘Velar’ I was met with some very blank expressions.
As I began the explanation that it was the new Range Rover that plugged the gap between the incredibly successful Evoque and muscular Sport models the penny began to drop but judging by the quality of the car it should be a name that is instantly recognisable. Maybe that will simply take time.
In fact, the Velar name is not entirely new – it goes back to the 1960s when it was the codename for the original prototype Range Rover model, but the new Velar, which is based on the aluminium platform of the F-Pace, is as modern as they come.
The Range Rover Velar is guaranteed to stop on-lookers dead in their tracks thanks to its sporty profile complete with rakish roofline, sloping grille, 21-inch gloss black finish wheels, Matrix LED headlights with signature daytime running lights, panoramic sunroof, privacy glass and, in my case, Aruba Gold paintwork with black roof.
There appears to be a complete lack of door handles until you unlock the car and they slide out from the body in one ultra-smooth movement. These handles feature subtle illumination and retract back into the doors again when the car is locked or being driven at speeds above 5mph.
Take your seat inside the beautifully-designed cabin and it’s impossible not to be wowed by the modern interior with touchscreens and smooth surfaces galore along with a wealth of on-board technology to explore.
There is a Touch Pro Duo system that introduces a pair of 10-inch touchscreens which burst into life when the ignition is turned on and it’s from these screens that all the car’s systems, set-ups and infotainment functions are accessed. The top screen controls the likes of the sat nav, sound system and telephone while the lower screen, along with a couple of dials, is where you will access features such as the heating and terrain response system. Both screens are really simple to use and look amazing. It’s like taking your seat on a modern-day Starship Enterprise! On the downside, there is a lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which is a bit of a surprise, but mobile phones can be connected via the USB ports and Bluetooth.
Comfort levels within the car are sublime and there is ample room in the back for three adults to travel in comfort. The sloping roof design of the Velar does mean the rear headroom may be a little restricted, but only for passengers well over six feet in height. Up front, the driver and passenger are treated to seats that boast 20-way power adjustment, can be heated or cooled and even offer massage functions. I particularly liked the way the heater and cooler controls could be applied to either the seat section, the back-rest or both combined.
When it comes to practicality and storage, the range Rover Velar has a boot capacity ranging from 558 litres to an impressive 1,731 litres with the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat and there are numerous other storage compartments scattered throughout the car.
The Velar HSE test car, priced at £65,060 (£70,885 with options fitted), was powered by a 2.0-litre 300hp petrol engine and it could sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 6.0 seconds, topped out at 145mph and, according to official figures, can achieve combined fuel economy of 36.2mpg with carbon emissions of 178g/km.
When it comes to driving dynamics and performance, the Range Rover Velar is an absolute corker. The acceleration through the automatic 8-speed transmission is beautifully smooth and there are steering wheel mounted paddles if you fancy dabbling with the gear switches yourself. In busy town centres the all-round visibility is good thank to the elevated driving position, and despite its dimensions, the car is actually quite nimble and easy to manoeuvre.
Then out on the open road, the Range Rover Velar really bursts into action. The road-holding is confident and assured with minimal body roll even when pushed hard into bends. The steering is fine-tuned with ample driver feedback and the suspension successfully irons out any bumps and dips along the way. Very little engine, road surface or wind noise filters through into the cabin, but if it does, simply crank up the volume on the 16-speaker Meridian surround sound music system and all is forgiven.
Although we didn’t venture away from the Tarmac on this occasion, the Velar does feature Land Rover’s accomplished Terrain Response system along with a generous list of safety features and driver aids, so it certainly won’t be fazed by any sudden changes to the weather patterns.
All in all, the Range Rover Velar is a fabulous piece of kit. It looks gorgeous, is packed to bursting with technology, offers excellent levels of comfort and drives beautifully. Surely, it’s simply just a matter of time before the Velar name is as familiar to us all as that of the Evoque.