When we first laid eyes on the Velar back in September, at the luxury car weekend, it was love at first sight. Since then we have been counting down the weeks until we could get behind its wheel. This thirst was furthered after watching an episode of the “Grand Tour”, where James May choose it as his SUV, when enduring a challenge in Canada’s wilderness. That episode was a double delight for us: a vehicle we lusted over, with its coverage filmed in our own backyard. Fast forward, (with some sleuthing) we would later learn that the very vehicle used in the show was the one we would be driving this week. Another icing on our Range Rover cake!
Even though it slots under the “compact luxury crossover” class, the Velar is actually bigger than its in class competitors. Its proportions are pleasing to look at, everything flows seamlessly, making it, arguably the most stylish SUV on the market today. It has a sleek low roof line, flush door handles, and slimmed down LED headlights and taillights. It possesses the overall look of luxury with the associated value.
Inside, the Velar is just as spectacular. When my partner first took the driver’s seat, he spent a good 10 minutes in awe. Just sitting and admiring how modern and sleek it all was, and how the leather felt against his skin. He especially enjoyed how he looked amongst it all, a view enjoyed from the reflection of the rear view mirror. And with the right song playing on the “Meridians” sounds system, it was a scene out of a commercial.
The interior is quite roomy, considering that it is a compact crossover. There is enough room for two full size adults in the back, and the trunk is of a decent transporting size. Though one thing we wished that the Velar had, was more front storage spaces. More compartments to house all the essentials you would want at the handy as you drove. Tools and trinkets that you would need during an extended drive or road trip. It did have three cup holders, but the centre glove box was very small and therefore pretty ineffective. Above it, you can find two 10-inch touch screens. The upper screen handles most of the infotainment and connectivity features, while the bottom one deals in climate controls and driving modes.
Range Rover offers two engine types for the Velar: a 180-hp 2.0-litre turbo diesel, and a 380-hp 3.0-litre supercharged V6 that has been used in other Range Rover and Jaguar vehicles. If you haven’t figure it out yet, the name “P380” comes from the number of horsepower it makes. Range Rover claims that their Velar can sprint 0-100km in 5.7sec, which really isn’t too shabby considering the SUV weighs over 4600lbs . The Velar uses a 8 speed automatic transmission. We mostly drove in the r-dynamic mode (the sportiest mode) and because of it, the shifts were crisp and fast. But there is some negative feedback regarding how jumpy and unpredictable the transmission response can be at times.
The Velar’s body and seating positions are lower than that of the other Range Rovers. We did not test the off road capabilities of the Velar, but believe it would do just fine knowing it has electronic differential and adjustable air suspension, giving it some extra ground clearance. I mean, we don’t expect the Velar to conquer Everest or to perform in the same league as a Jeep Rubicon. But on pavement, the Velar drives like a dream. The suspension might be on the stiffer side for some, but it didn’t really bother us. As we mentioned earlier, we drove all week on R-dynamic mode and the Velar felt more like a big sporty sedan than a compact SUV. The steering was light, but accurate. It was easy to steer the nose into a corner, and the massive 265 wide 22inch tires gave the Velar plenty of grip.
In conclusion driving the Range Rover Velar P380 HSE R-Dynamic was a premium experience. It turned heads and got us looks of jealousy everywhere we rode within it. It handles like a sport car, but can also take on any surprises the road may throw your way. It was just a shame, that we only discovered the massaging front seat features on our last day with it. Had I known, I would been caught sitting in the parkade of our apartment building, just enjoying a deep tissue lumbar release. Having said all this: luxury, comfort, power, and prestige comes at a price. The base model of the Velar starts at $62000, by comparison the model we tested was over 90k. It may not be cheap, but given all that you get and how it made us feel, in our opinion it was totally worth it. Had I the capital, this very one would be in my possession now. Thank you for the drive Range Rover, looking forward to a road trip this summer with the Velar, and another chance to get behind its wheel again.
RANGE ROVER VELAR