REVIEW: 2018 Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic HSE – Range Rover’s Styling Evolves

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The all-new 2018 Range Rover Velar brings an even more impressive style to Land Rover’s already attractive lineup.

What is it? 

The Range Rover Velar is a low, long, highly styled five-passenger crossover from Land Rover. This new model is geared more towards on-road drivers looking for a crossover that makes an impression.

Pricing and trims

The Base Land Rover Range Rover Velar starts at about $50K. That makes it a much more affordable option than the Range Rover or Range Rover Sport. It even slots in under the Land Rover Discovery in price. For 2018, there is the Base trim, the R-Dynamic we tested which starts at about $61K, and the First Edition, which starts near $90K. Our Velar R-Dynamic HSE came fully-equipped at $90,170.

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Features in our loaded Velar R-Dynamic HSE included a full suite of active driving & Safety aids, perforated heated leather seats with massage, and a panoramic moonroof. The $3,060 Meridian Premium Audio System has 1.6 kW of energy and the sound you would expect in a $90K luxury vehicle.

The Velar has an air suspension and multiple driving modes. Land Rover didn’t skimp on the off-road and foul weather abilities in the Velar. During testing, we drove in nasty winter weather and came away wondering how any vehicle could be better.

Styling

Visually, the Velar is striking in person. It appears much lower and longer than most five-passenger crossovers. The Velar wears the company face and is very similar in many individual ways to the Range Rover and even the Evoque. However, the sum of its unique styling elements gives the Velar its own look. The Velar is one vehicle that images do not do justice. It has significant visual impact in the flesh.

Performance & Handling

When the weather is pleasant, the Velar is sporty and quick. It feels a bit like a version of the Jaguar F-Pace. The 3.8-liter supercharged engine and 8-speed automatic transmission are more than ample for quick getaways, and passing is a joy with an explosion of speed anytime it is warranted. On broken up New England roads, the Velar R-Dynamic HSE was compliant and comfortable, despite the 20″ low profile tires. As good as the Pirelli Scorpions were in all conditions, we might suggest winter tires for those planning serious winter traveling.

 

Seating & Interior

The Velar’s outstanding looks continue inside. The seats are attractive and comfortable. The dash is covered with premium soft materials and the new Land Rover infotainment system is not just outstanding in its operation, it also looks fantastic. There are two screens in addition to a large TFT center display in the gauge area. The top screen is the primary Nav and Audio screen. The lower screen is used for vehicle functions, such as seating and drive mode selection. It took us about a day to become completely familiar with all that the system offers, but the learning curve was steep and the time spent more an exploration than a chore. Land Rover and Jaguar have been making huge strides in infotainment over the past decade, and they are now among the best in the luxury market.

There are many small, but important details in the Velar that make it special. The door handles, for example, present themselves whenever needed, but then pull in flush to the body when the vehicle is in motion.

Overall

Land Rover’s Range Rover Velar is an interesting new offering that we think shapes the direction of luxury crossovers to come. Range Rovers have never lacked for style, but the Velar packs a punch visually and makes a statement. That it is one of the most affordable Range Rovers is also intriguing.

The Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic HSE is not a tall, boxy off-roader, and it is the better for it. This is a modern design that seems to recognize that Range Rovers should be first a luxury vehicle, second an off-roader. Shoppers who are looking for a highly-styled five-passenger luxury crossover should give the Velar a look. Literally. It is hard to convey just how visually striking and different it is from the rest of the handsome Land Rover line up.

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John Goreham

John Goreham