2018 Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic Test Drive

2018 Range Rover Velar

This week we take a look at Land Rover’s newest offering, the 2018 Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic.  The folks at Jaguar Land Rover figured out they had a hole in their lineup between the Evoque and the Range Rover Sport and Velar was the answer.  The Velar is based on the same platform in Jaguar’s F-Pace SUV

Rovers have a reputation for having the best all-wheel-drive system in the industry, and they are known for stunning interiors with great attention to detail.  Such is the case with the Velar.

I find the Velar exterior to be very attractive with its floating roof, 20” wheels, large dual exhaust, and the black bottom that runs the length of the vehicle with a stripe running above it.  The front headlights and rear taillights are slimmer than other Rover models, but it still has the Rover grill and rear spoiler.

So, would you buy a vehicle just for its door handles?  You might when you see how these work.  When you hit the unlock button, the handles slide out.  Not only are there aerodynamic benefits to this, but you can tell at a glance if the vehicle is locked.

So, would you buy a vehicle just for its door handles?  You might when you see how these work.

Under the hood of my review vehicle sits a 2-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel that is hooked to an 8-speed automatic with shift paddles.  Together they put out a mere 180-horses, but a strong 317 pound-feet of torque.  Also available is a 2-liter gas 4-cylinder turbo and a 3-liter 6-cylinder that is Supercharged.

Trim levels start with the base Velar that comes as an S, or SE.  Then you move up to the R-Dynamic that comes as an SE, or what you see here, the HSE.  Finally, there is a First Edition model, but only 500 of those will be built.

When you pull on the cool door handle, you open the door up to a luxurious interior that really gets your attention.  The 20-way massaging power seats are inviting, the steering wheel is among the prettiest I’ve ever seen, even the door panels look great with Meridian speakers and aluminum trim.

When you push the start button, a 12.3” High-Definition Interactive Driver Display comes to life.  It is extremely configurable in the actual layout of the display, and there is a lot of settings you can change, it even displays the speed limit for you. 

All this is operated from a round button on the left side of the steering wheel.  What’s cool about that is the large button changes appearance as you scroll around the driver display.  I can’t say I’ve ever seen that before.

This is as vivid a touchscreen as I’ve ever seen.

On the center console is your round gear shifter that rises up when you start the Velar.  There are two armrests that slide forward and back independently.

As you look up, you see not one, but two 10” touchscreens.  The bottom screen allows you to focus in on climate settings, your heated and cooled seats, the vehicle itself, and your vehicle settings. This is as vivid a touchscreen as I’ve ever seen.

Under the vehicle tab on the lower screen is the heart of the all-wheel system.  You can change the systems settings from Eco, Comfort, Grass Gravel and Snow, Mud, Sand or my favorite, Dynamic.  As you change the drive modes, the picture also changes.

The upper screen, which you can adjust in case of glare, is used for navigation, your media choices, and Bluetooth.  Everything is easy to operate after a little practice.  To add to the greatness of this interior, the glove box is cooled.

Back seat room is fairly limited, but the 40/20/40 back seats have a power recline button for comfort.  Cargo area is about average, and as usual with Rovers, the second-row seat does not fold flat, something they really need to work on. 

Just a couple of warnings.  If you are tall, this vehicle may not work for you.  I’ve hit my head a couple of times getting in.  The other issue is what I consider to be an unusually small rear glass.  It looks good but limits your vision versus some other SUVs.

As usual with Rovers, the second-row seat does not fold flat, something they really need to work on. 

Notable standard features include power tailgate, panoramic moonroof, rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, emergency braking, park assist, and adaptive cruise control.

The Velar drives great, and you can’t hear the diesel engine.  There is a little bit of a turbo lag, but it’s tolerable and you can turn off the Auto Start/Stop system.

If you turn the gear shifter past Drive to Sport mode, I really like the change in the transmission and steering, it’s much more responsive.

Fuel economy is good at 26 city and 30 highway, for a combined 28.

MSRP is $75,415 as my tester is equipped, but the base S model starts at $49,900.

There is a lot to love about the 2018 Velar, and it is extremely capable both on and off the pavement.  If it were me, however, I’d opt for the 3-liter supercharged engine.

2018 Range Rover Velar

  • What I liked most:  The interior quality and the door handles!
  • What I would change:  I’d like to see the diesel supercharged.
  • MSRP: Base price $69,100 as equipped $75,415.
  • Fuel Economy: 26 City/30 Highway, 28 combined, doing slightly better.
  • Fuel Tank: 15.8 gallons with filler on the passenger side.
  • Dimensions:  189” long/84.4” wide/65.5” high.
  • Weight: 4217 Pounds.
  • Trailer Towing:  N/A 
  • Miles When Tested:  1200 miles.
  • Official Color:  Byron Blue outside, Light Oyster inside.
  • Spare tire:  Full-sized spare tire and wheel.
  • Final Assembly Point:  Solihull, United Kingdom.
  • 2018 Velar in a few words:  Great SUV, just not a big fan of this diesel.
  • Warranty:  4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper with roadside assistance.
  • Manufacturers website:  www.LandRoverUSA.com
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