The 2018 Range Rover Velar falls into the mid-size luxury SUV category and lives up to worthiness as part of the Land Rover family, possessing some of the same ruggedly capable hardware. On the other hand is represents a bold departure from Land Rover craft of days gone by. The new styling is stunningly elegant with softer lines and overall form. It is no longer the boxy vehicle long noted for sojourns into the jungles and plains of the Dark Continent and other global challenging terrain. It is still quite capable of successfully traversing off road scenarios, while serving equally well as a transport to lofty social activities.
It is positioned between the Range Rover Evoque and the Range Rover Sport and represents a new perspective on glamour, elegance and modernity, while displaying an unquestionable DNA link to the Range Rover pedigree. The Velar?s design is revolutionary rather than evolutionary. Its smooth sides and impressive range of standard features such as deployable flush door handles and integrated rear spoiler all contribute to improved aerodynamic efficiency, while the foil-stamped grille strengthens the vehicle?s front profile resulting in a bold presence. Sleek LED headlights and rear lights are also standard. Matrix LED and Matrix-Laser LED headlights are available as an option.
In terms of its external visual appeal, the Velar showcases a superb balance, with optimized proportions. Its iconic Range Rover lineage is instantly recognizable, from the formal, powerful athletic form of the front end, through the smoothly flowing, continuous waistline that culminates in a taut and elegantly tapered rear.
The aerodynamic volumes of the lower body, with the integrated deployable flush door handles, draw attention to exquisite detail. At the rear, the vehicle?s design is distinguished by quad tail light signature elements within a full-width graphic incorporating the Range Rover script, skillfully blending the vehicle?s lines making an impressive statement. The Velar borrows from the Jaguar F-Pace?s form revealing its elements: a long hood, a sloping roofline, and highly pronounced and open wheel arches, so in many ways, the 2018 Range Rover Land Rover Velar bears similarities to the Jaguar F-Pace, which it shares its structure and powertrains with. In other respects, the two are quite different. Trim levels include: S, SE, HSE and a First Edition model
Entering the cabin is akin to entering a sanctuary that exudes elegant simplicity. The familiar Range Rover interior design architecture, with its strong tasteful horizontal lines, blends with innovative features that provide a feeling of calm, enhancing the driving experience. Two seamlessly integrated 10″ Touchscreens and minimalist controls are standard, allowing easy control of the latest advanced technology. Everything has been designed and crafted to promote a relaxed feeling. The twin sliding armrests that operate separately, aid in maximizing comfort. The new infotainment system is intuitive, sharp, and alluring, and points to the fact that automakers don?t necessarily need to look to Apple or Android to create desirable infotainment user interfaces.
A rich selection of quality materials, including optional Windsor leather with a signature Cut Diamond pattern throughout the cabin, add a contemporary twist. Modern premium textiles, expertly constructed in collaboration with Europe’s leading manufacturer of high quality and design led textiles, Kvadrat, is offered as an alternative to leather. The elevated position of the Sports Command Driving Position, enables extended vision down the road, while viewing surroundings with greater clarity promote control regardless of conditions or traffic. The option of Configurable Ambient Interior Lighting in a choice of ten colors helps to create the right mood. The optional sliding panoramic or fixed panoramic roof fills the cabin with natural light, pulling the outside in. Oddly, a cloth interior costs more than on with leather.
Powering the new Range Rover Velar are three sources inspired by Jaguar The base engine is a 2.0-liter gas-powered, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that delivers 247 horsepower along with 269 pound feet of torque. One may upgrade to a 2.0-liter turbodiesel inline 4 ?cylinder. The top choice however for most will likely be the supercharged V-6 that cranks out 380 hp, primarily due to the fact that it?s the only engine that comes with an air suspension availability. An 8-speed automatic transmission gears energy to the driving wheels.
My test 2018 Range Rover Velar came in the R-Dynamic SE trim level powered by the 2.0-liter gas engine. The exterior wore a rich Firenze Red metallic finish, while the interior was executed in Light Oyster and Ebony with Piano Black trim elements. The base sticker was set at $60,100., while the list of options drove the final tally to $74,895. The optional fare included: 20-way seats with driver and passenger memory, massage and heating and cooling for the front; full extended leather; the Drive Pro Package; perforated Windsor seats in a Union Jack pattern; Climate Package; Surround Camera System; Park Assist; Dynamic Black Exterior Package; Sirius/XM satellite and HD radio; the Firenze paint; Power adjustable steering column; the Convenience Package; Heated windshield, heated steering wheel; illuminated front and rear treadplates; loadspace storage rails; Premium Carpet mats; illuminated loadspace scuffplate; chrome IP end caps and Destination Charge. No cost extras included: Shadow aluminum finisher; Meridian Surround System; 20-inch Gloss Black7-split-spoke alloy wheels; and an Ebony headliner.
SUMMARY: The 2018 Range Rover Velar may well be thought of as a new benchmark for the iconic luxury SUV company. It establishes a new heightened level for the way that SUVs should look outside and feel on the inside.
Every Velar comes with Land Rover capability, meaning that they can go virtually anywhere, although in reality, they probably won?t. Yes, there will be some owners who will push it to its limits, but most will not. Most Velars will draw their motive energy from the supercharged V6, which costs $9,500. more than the gas-fueled turbo four and is dimensionally the same size as a V-8 with the additional two cylinders are filled in and a balance shaft is added.
The Range Rover folks project that only one in ten buyers will select the available turbodiesel, which rings up at the register for an extra $1,500 over a like-equipped 4-banger. V-6 versions get an air adjustable setup that can raise or lower the Velar 3 inches, up to a total of 9.9 inches for ground clearance. Towing capacity for V-6-powered Velars is up to 5,500 pounds, 300 pounds more than the turbo-4.
The Velar seats five adults comfortably, dependent upon their size ? if all are much over 6 feet tall, the comfort level will take a hit.
The handling attributes are sporty on nature, especially with sport steering on, which generates more energy through the wheel, although some non-proponents will likely feel that it?s somewhat artificial.
Land Rover predicts that most consumers will choose the R-Dynamic HSE trim level, which starts in the $70,000 range. The R-Dynamic models come with parking sensors, blind-spot monitors, drowsy driver monitors, traffic sign detection, and adaptive cruise control as standard. Active lane control is optional on that trim level, but standard on First Edition models. First edition models begin at roughly $90,500., and the R-Dynamic HSE model can be equipped with all the same goodies, but the cost would be prohibitive for most.
Switchgear and controls are highly intuitive with some valuable redundancy. Two rotary dials flank the bottom touchscreen controlling different functions for the menu selected. A single volume knob is the only redundant hard key.
Aside from climate and seat controls, the second screen is the nerve center for Land Rover?s new terrain management system that toggles between Dynamic or sport, ECO, Comfort and off-road modes including Grass, Gravel and snow, Mud and Ruts, and Sand. Each separate icon has its own illustration that serves as a setting reminder, and is further configurable when used with the optional air suspension system.
There are a host of available seating configurations, and with the rear seats up, cargo space is 34.4 cubic feet, or 70.1 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat.
The 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic SE is without a doubt, the best SUV in the Land Rover family and perhaps the best in its segment considering price, content and capability ? no holds barred. It is indeed gorgeous, elegant, loaded with technology and highly capable in terms of performance both on and off-road. What?s not to like?
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic SE
Base Price: $60,100.
Price as Tested: $74,895.
Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve Turbocharged gas engine
Horsepower (bhp): 247 @ rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 269 @ rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with Overdrive and satin chrome paddle shifters.
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / Permanent AWD with intelligent driveline dynamics.
Suspension: Active Suspension System
Front – Double Wishbone
Rear ? Multi-link
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs with ABS, BA, TC, and ESC.
Tires: Pirelli Scorpion Verde A/S 255/50 R20 109w mounted on 7-slotted spoke gloss Black alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 113.0 inches
Length Overall: 188.9 inches
Width: 76.1 inches ? w/o mirrors
Height: 65.6 inches
Curb Weight: 4,217 lbs.
Turning Circle: 38.1 ft.
Approach Angle: 27.2 degrees
Departure Angle: 29.1 degrees
Fuel Capacity: 16.6 gallons ? approx.
EPA Mileage Estimates: 21 mpg city / 27-mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed
0 – 60 mph: Not tested
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.