Range Rover Velar may not be anyoneís first choice to deliver
dozens of packages for a holiday party. Whereís the minivan when
you need it?
midsize luxury crossover is holiday-ready. It has a generous 34
cubic feet of cargo space in the rear with all seats up, and a very
generous 70 cubes with the three-way split rear seats folded down.
Thatís plenty of room to shovel in gift boxes containing books and
clothing, plus goofy stuff like the Spicy Shave Cream and Pooping
Pooches calendar. Seriously?
Turns out there are
surprises everywhere in the Velar, from snazzy pop-out door handles
that also improve aerodynamics to an optional air suspension system
that lowers the vehicle 1.6 inches for easier access. The Velar is
built to handle any surface: rocks, sand, mud, asphalt and, oh,
about 23.6 inches of water. Itís also equipped with a wade sensor
to make sure you donít get in too deep.
Inside, thereís a
first-of-its-kind seat fabric, a polyester blend made from
sustainable materials like recycled plastic bottles and wool.
Slotting in between
Range Roverís Evoque and Sport, the Velar has a simple but rugged
exterior with a sloping roofline that looks sharp but does hamper
visibility. The R-Dynamic version adds panache with a mesh grille,
hood and tailgate lettering, hood vents, black roof and other
accents. It also gets 20-inch darkened split-spoke wheels.
Velarís ride is
lively enough but few will call the 4,500-pound SUV athletic.
Standard power comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine
that gets 247 hp and 269 pound-feet of torque. Itíll get to 60 mph
in 7.4 seconds. Two V-6s, plus a supercharged version and a
turbo-diesel, also are available.
All three are mated
to an 8-speed automatic transmission that glides through the gears
smoothly and without issue.
Ride quality is
superb as the coil or air suspension works with a torque vectoring
system to control body lean on corners and absorb anything the road
dishes out. A standard all-wheel-drive system maintains a 50-50
front-to-rear torque ratio unless wheel slippage is detected. The
turbo four-banger can also tow a surprising 5,291 pounds.
Also standard is
Range Roverís Terrain Response system, which adjusts suspension
and height, throttle response and steering to handle varied
surfaces. Modes include Eco, Comfort, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts,
Sand and Dynamic ó the latter for more spirited driving.
While the Velar
isnít geared for hardcore off-roading, thereís not much it
canít handle. Air suspension can allow up to 9.9 inches of ground
clearance, and ďlow-traction launchĒ adjusts the throttle on
slippery rocks. In addition, Velar has an optional all-terrain
ďprogress control,Ē which is like a low-speed cruise control,
and an active rear locking differential.
Back at the mall,
Velar offers active park assist to help guide itself into a parallel
or perpendicular spot without a scratch.
Despite all these
features and a hefty curb weight, fuel economy is respectable. EPA
estimates give it 21 mpg city, 27 highway, for 23 combined.
Contributing to those numbers is a start-stop feature that,
unfortunately, is slightly jolting and intrusive.
interior is simply designed but sophisticated in its look, featuring
high quality materials like perforated Windsor leather and satin
chrome trim. Finding comfort is guaranteed with the optional 20-way
seat adjustment but, oddly, none for lumbar support. Seats can be
cooled, heated and have a massage feature for the driver. A nice
touch is an electric-powered headrest.
The brains of the
beast are in Velarís so-called Touch Pro Duo, an infotainment
system found on two 10-inch screens on the center stack. Itís not
the easiest system in town. It essentially works like a tablet; all
controls are integrated into the screens. Together they control
everything from AC and navigation (upper screen) to the vehicle data
and drive modes (lower screen).
A separate 12.4-inch
digital gauge cluster can be customized to highlight the numbers
most important to you.
Add a panoramic
sunroof, ambient lighting with a gazillion choices, and an 825-watt
Meridian sound system with 17 speakers and suddenly that road trip
to the mother-in-law doesnít seem so bad.
New for 2019 are more
standard safety features, including rear camera and parking sensors,
emergency braking, lane-keep assist and driver drowsiness monitor. A
Drive Pro package ($1,495) adds adaptive cruise control with
steering assist, blind spot monitor and traffic sign recognition.
Whether folks want
sophisticated style, off-road ability or high-tech instrumentation,
Velar delivers. And, you might expect some surprises.
2018 Range Rover
Velar R-Dynamic SE
As tested: $74,895
ó includes 20-way heated/cooled seats ($3,050), extended leather
($1,840), Drive Pro Package ($1,495)
Whatís all the
excitement about? Range Roverís all-new model is ready for mud,
rocks or the Ritz Carlton
turbocharged 4-cylinder engine standard; two V-6s available, one a
diesel; all mated to 8-speed automatic with satin-chrome paddles
performance? 0-60 mph in 7.4 seconds; well-controlled ride
What about fuel
economy? EPA-rated at 21 mpg city, 27 highway (23 combined)