- Wide range of engines covering power and economy
- Can tow up to 2,500kg, with up to 700Nm of torque
- Large number of driving modes for every terrain
For the many who will buy the Range Rover Velar based on looks alone, engine performance may be almost inconsequential. However, there is a wide spread of choice that will help tailor your Velar depending on whether you value efficiency or performance.
We’ll deal with fuel economy separately below, but suffice to say no Velar is what you’d reasonably describe as slow – but some are considerably faster than others.
Range Rover Velar diesel engine choices:
- D180 – 2.0-litre, 180hp, 430Nm of torque, 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds, 125mph top speed
- D240 – 2.0-litre, 240hp, 500Nm of torque, 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds, 135mph top speed
- D300 – 3.0-litre, 300hp, 700Nm of torque, 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds, 150mph top speed
The 2.0-litre engines are four-cylinder turbodiesels, and as you can see, even the slowest Velar gets from 0-62mph in just 8.4 seconds.
The 3.0-litre engine is a V6: note the massive 700Nm of torque, which is great for towing and challenging off-road work (not that we imagine many Velars will see much of the latter).
Range Rover Velar petrol engine choices:
- P250 – 2.0-litre, 250hp, 365Nm of torque, 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds, 135mph top speed
- P300 – 2.0-litre, 300hp, 400Nm of torque, 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds, 145mph top speed
- P380 – 3.0-litre, 380hp, 450Nm of torque, 0-62mph in 5.3 seconds, 155mph top speed
Again, the 2.0-litre engines are four-cylinder motors – these turbo petrols are the newest engines fitted in the Velar. This modernity helps make the slowest-accelerating petrol model almost as quick as the fastest diesel.
However, note that even the most powerful 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol – the P380 – is almost out-gunned for torque by the least powerful diesel Velar. So if towing is a priority, a diesel is your best bet.
The P380’s raw performance is unmatched, though, taking just 5.3 seconds to sprint 0-62mph, while the 155mph top speed is electronically limited.
Four-wheel drive and eight-speed gearbox as standard
Every Velar comes with four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard.
While we are impressed by the Range Rover’s performance, if it has a weak area it’s this gearbox. Though similar to units used by other carmakers, in the Velar it often seems indecisive, hunting around for the optimum gear on twistier roads.
It’s also far from being the smoothest transmission we’ve ever experienced – proving particularly jerky when called upon for a sudden downshift due to hard acceleration. It somewhat undermines the intended luxuriousness of Velar travel as a result.
You can take manual control using paddle-shifters on the steering wheel, either temporarily in the regular Drive mode or permanently if activated in the Sport setting (simply hold the upshift paddle to revert to automatic).
Manual shifts are reasonably responsive, but again not the smoothest. And sadly the paddles are made from plastic rather than having a more tactile (and premium) finish, such as cool aluminium.
As for the four-wheel drive system, this delivers good traction on and off-road, which means that no matter how powerful the engine you’ll rarely find the Velar struggling for traction in regular driving.
In fact, a vast array of driving modes mean you’re unlikely to struggle whatever the circumstances. We’ve covered these in the Handling section below.
- Adaptive damping as standard
- Plus air suspension on V6 models
- Very capable on and off road
If you want the most satisfying SUV to drive in this segment, it’s simple: buy a Porsche Macan.
That said, while the Range Rover Velar can’t match its German rival for precision and depth of handling talent, it is nonetheless an engaging steer, and not just for a vehicle of its size. You can genuinely have a great deal of fun driving one of these.
All Velars come with what Land Rover calls Adaptive Damping Technology as standard – essentially meaning the shock absorbers have variable levels of response that can be selected for different kinds of driving and terrain.
At this stage we have only driven V6-engined models, though, which also get the addition of air suspension as standard, enabling variable ride height and a greater spread between comfort and control.
What is the Range Rover Velar like to drive?
Taking that air suspension caveat into account, this is a fundamentally well-sorted machine.
The control weights – such as the steering and the brakes – are typically rather light, and don’t offer a great deal of feedback. But they didn’t leave us feeling completely out of touch, and suit the generally laid back nature of what is after all supposed to be a luxurious vehicle.
Throw it at a country road, however – or even a sequence of roundabouts – and the Velar is happy to respond with enthusiasm; body roll is present but not excessive, and combined with a powerful engine you can make rapid progress.
But this is a large, relatively long vehicle, and you never completely escape this impression of substantial bulk from behind the wheel. We were always conscious that there was a lot of Velar behind us, for example, and threading it through tight streets can be a slightly nervous affair.
Parking is made easy by the available cameras; we’d recommend this as rear visibility is a little limited.
A huge range of driving modes available
Range Rovers have famously employed a Terrain Response system for many years – which adapts to different types of surfaces and driving. What’s potentially confusing is that there are three systems with similar names available on the Velar.
Basic Terrain Response comes as standard on all models, and this includes Eco, Comfort, Grass-Gravel-Snow, Mud-Ruts and Sand settings – plus an additional Dynamic mode if you opt for a sporty R-Dynamic version of the Velar.
Each setting makes adjustments to the engine, transmission, all-wheel drive, suspension and stability control in an effort to help you make the easiest possible progress wherever you’re driving.
As an optional extra you can upgrade to Terrain Response 2, which adds an Automatic setting so you don’t even need to touch the controls to get the benefit.
In addition to this there is also All Terrain Progress Control, which is described as a low-speed cruise control system intended to make off-road driving easier. The idea is that it allows the driver to concentrate on steering without having to worry about grip and traction, regardless of how tricky the ground is and whether you’re going up or downhill. Both these extras are reasonably priced.
Other driving tricks include things like Hill Descent Control, as you’d expect, but there’s also a system called Low Traction Launch, which helps you start moving on slippery surfaces – such as snow, where conventional stability control systems often struggle.
It will also wade 600mm of water, rising to 650mm with the air suspension package.
To say the least the Velar is comprehensive.
What’s more, most of these functions are controlled via the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system – which manages the remarkable feat of looking astonishingly good while still proving user-friendly, intuitive and minimalist.
More on this in the Behind the wheel section below.
- Amazing, cutting-edge minimalist cabin
- Most of it works very well, too
- Shame about some of the plastics
If you think the Range Rover Velar looks slick on the outside, just wait until you see the interior.
The clean, decidedly angular design does rather put us in mind of the 1980s, but we doubt many will complain. The majority of materials within touching distance appear high quality, and what’s more, despite a conscious effort at minimising the number of buttons, the Velar remains surprisingly easy to use.
The key to this is undoubtedly the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system.
How good is the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system in the Range Rover Velar?
We are used to carmakers shifting controls into touchscreens by now, but few have managed it as well as this Range Rover.
Upon first entering the car, design aside nothing appears too spectacular. But press the starter button and the whole interior comes alive – the obvious screen in the middle of the dashboard levers itself forward, the dark section of dashboard below this lights up and, where fitted, the sun blind for the panoramic glass roof automatically retracts.
It’s quite the display, particularly when you realise that lower dark section of the dashboard is also a touchscreen; here you control the more important secondary functions such as the climate control and the driving mode selection.
A row of tabs at the top of this display make it easy to switch between these functions, which are then controlled via responsive virtual buttons that are commendably easy to activate while driving or the rotary controls on either side.
Everything looks beautiful – the graphics for the different driving modes in particular – but more importantly it all actually works. It may take you a little while to get used to finding things, but once you do this is perhaps the first touchscreen control system that actually improves on conventional buttons.
Sat-nav still not perfect
Continuing this button-free form, the controls on the steering wheel are touch sensitive as well, while there’s another screen for the instruments in place of conventional dials, and a multi-function head-up display available as an option.
We did find the sat-nav system’s routing options occasionally curious – on one journey its optimum route was 45 minutes longer than the one suggested by Google Maps, and that’s not because it was doing anything clever with traffic alerts.
Some poor quality plastics
While the overall impression of the Velar is very high, there are some cheaper feeling plastics – particularly around the seat bases, as you’ll discover when you come to adjust the seats – and the lower door areas.
Considering top-end Velar list prices exceed £80,000 - with finance costs to match - this is bordering on the unacceptable. But we suspect most buyers will overlook these concerns given the exceptional experience elsewhere in the cabin.
- Air suspension makes for generally comfy ride
- Doesn’t completely smother bumps, though
- Refinement not as hushed as we’d hoped
As mentioned previously, while all versions of the Range Rover Velar have adaptive suspension – and a Comfort mode – as standard, we have so far only driven V6 models, which come with additional air suspension technology.
Air suspension is generally considered good news for comfort – trading away some handling decisiveness for this very advantage. They can often also feel a touch jittery, however, a problem that we’re glad to report does not afflict the Velar.
For the most part this Range Rover is a comfortable SUV; journeys of several hundred miles can be completed without any sign of physical complaint.
It doesn’t entirely sooth away rough surfaces, though, so you will find that lumps and bumps do send the occasional shockwave through the cabin, and it does come across as slightly jarring in response to these.
The large wheel choices – alloys up to 22 inches in diameter are available – don’t help with this issue.
Another slightly disappointing aspect is the refinement. Admittedly, the First Edition P380 V6 petrol we sampled was on very large 21-inch alloy wheels, but a lot of road noise was present in the cabin. Similarly, we weren’t especially enthralled by the engine’s bellowing sound effects when accelerating.
Any expectations of a hushed, isolated driving environment are quickly crushed – though this is relative, so in terms of cars in general, the Velar is still pretty quiet. It’s just not quite as quiet as the luxurious interior and premium exterior might lead you to expect.
The optional massage function for the front seats is also rather lame by the latest standards, so sadly you can’t seek solace in that.
The use of sustainable, premium textile upholstery as an alternative leather is a nice touch – this is a Dapple Grey finish co-developed with a high-end design textiles maker called Kvadrat. Leather does remain available to those who want it.