Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1

Range Rover Velar 2020 cornering

  • 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

What engine options are there?

There is a decent spread of choice petrols and diesels, as well as a plug-in hybrid, that will help tailor your Velar depending on whether you value efficiency or performance. No Velar is what you’d reasonably describe as slow – but some are considerably faster than others.

Every Velar comes with four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard. But it’s probably the Velar’s weakest area in an otherwise polished performance. Though similar to units used by other carmakers, in the Velar it often seems indecisive, hunting around for the optimum gear on twistier roads.

Petrol engines

Engine Power and torque
0-62mph time
Top speed
P250 250hp, 365Nm 7.5secs 135mph
P400 400hp, 400Nm 5.5secs 155mph

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The 2.0-litre engines are four-cylinder mild-hybrid motors. Their modernity helps make the slowest-accelerating petrol model almost as quick as the fastest diesel – and it’s hard to think of the P250 as an entry-level model given how quick it is on paper.

On the road, it’s hard not to be a little disapointed by the P250. It’s not that it’s lacking in performance – but what doesn’t quite gel with this model is the way the performance is delivered. In standard drive mode, it’s lazy in its responses and you have to push the accelerator hard to make it accelerate with any sense of urgency.

In Dynamic mode, it’s much more responsive, but the four-cylinder engine is noisy and isn’t really in keeping with the luxury interior. Much of this should probably be blamed on the transmission (below), which doesn’t match up too well with this power unit.

Diesel engines

Engine Power and torque
0-62mph time
Top speed
D200 200hp, 365Nm 8.4secs 135mph
D300 300hp, 400Nm 6.5secs 143mph

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The 2.0-litre engines are four-cylinder turbodiesels, and as you can see, even the slowest Velar gets from 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds. And so it proves on the road – In D180 form, it’s a little gruff at idle and but reasonably refined once underway.

Performance lives up to the figures, although you’d describe its power delivery and pulling power as relaxed, rather than impressive, that perfectly suits the character of the car, especially if you specify it with the comfortable air suspension set-up.

The 3.0-litre engine is a six-cylinder – 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 2020 cornering, from the rear

Electric and hybrid engines

All the petrol and diesel Velars detailed above are mild-hybrids, which means that there’s a small battery pack on board, which is charged by the engine to add assistance to accelerating, while adding a degree of coasting when driving, foot-off. But the range-topping P400e, which is a plug-in hybrid takes this concept considerably forward, being able to run up to a claimed 33 miles on battery alone. It uses a similar system to the Jaguar F-Pace plug-in hybrid – namely, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and electric motor working in harmony through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

It is also the fastest Velar in the range, with a 0-62mph time of 5.4 seconds, delivered by its combined 400hp. It feels very muscular to drive, with the electric motor filling in the gaps you’d otherwise find in the petrol’s power delivery. Unusually for hybrid models, even the brake pedal is progressive – many of this car’s rivals feel spongy as they try to balance regenerative braking with conventional friction braking.

Running on electric power is intoxicating – nothing gives you a sense of luxury like absolute silence from the powertrain. Performance is naturally reduced, however the Velar P400e will still reach motorway speeds without troubling the petrol engine if you want it to. The petrol itself is rather rougher, but is fairly unobtrusive at a cruise.

Handling

  • Adaptive damping as standard
  • Plus air suspension on V6 models
  • Very capable on and off road

The Range Rover Velar is 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. If you’re looking for a comfortable and satisfying car to drive and live with, the Velar is very impressive. It steers and handles with more agility than its lardy kerbweight and ample dimensions give it any right to.

All models are available with adaptive air suspension as an option. This combines better ride quality with composed body control, making for a Range Rover that feels relatively nimble – we won’t go as far as saying this is a Range Rover Evoque in terms of agility, but this’ll inspires confidence and reassurance especially for those used to the larger and more luxury-focused siblings.

Overall, 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.

Range Rover Velar handling, rear 2017

What’s it like off-road?

Very good, although it comes with a myriad of drive modes to cover this. 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 part of our test drive we tackled a steep rocky climb, the surface broken into craggy rubble. Needless to say, the Velar drove straight up, and virtually drove itself down using the latest off-road cruise control system, All Terrain Progress Control (ATPC). 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.

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.

2017 Range Rover Velar off-road