Carzone drives the Range Rover Velar on Irish roads
Pros: Striking styling, good off-road, touch screen tech
Cons: Rivals are sharper to drive, expensive with options
Range Rover has a rich heritage for building great off-roading models, but in recent years it has become increasingly style-focused. This is the new Range Rover Velar, and it is arguably the firm’s most stylish model to-date. Sitting between the Range Rover Evoque and the Range Rover Sport in terms of style, the Velar shares its underpinnings with the popular Jaguar F-Pace. In addition to gorgeous styling, the Range Rover Velar packs a tech-rich cabin with digital controls and screens galore. The Velar has a long list of established rivals including the Jaguar F-Pace, BMW X6, Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe and Audi Q5 amongst many others, so we took it for a drive on Irish roads to see how it compares with the best in class.
What is it like?
The Velar is unlike any other SUV on the market right now in terms of styling, thanks to its slimline lights and grille, flush doors and flowing roof design. The Velar is quite striking to look at and it has a slimline silhouette compared to the Range Rove Sport. There are lots of interesting features which set the Velar apart from the competition, including retractable door handles that pop in and out at the touch of a button. As standard, the Velar is equipped with 18-inch 15 spoke alloy wheels, LED headlights and even a rear spoiler, while our SE grade test car is finished with Santorini Black metallic paint and larger 20-inch wheels and upgraded Matrix LED headlights.
Stepping inside, the Range Rover Velar feels much lower down than a Range Rover Sport, and it impresses immediately with vibrant touch screens on the centre console and a fully digital driver’s display behind the steering wheel. As with the styling, the Velar feels distinctly different to its rivals on the inside. The cabin is spacious with enough room for four tall adults inside and it feels suitably premium, with lots of soft touch leather finishing on the dashboard and doors, although there are some low-rent plastics in low down areas. The Velar isn’t as practical as some of its rivals in terms of storage space throughout the cabin, though it has a capacious 673 litre boot.
Admittedly it takes a while to get used to operating the entire system, though it eventually becomes intuitive.
The Velar is available with a range of 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines in Ireland, but we drove the range-topping 3.0-litre V6 diesel version. With 300 horsepower, an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive, the V6 is smooth, powerful and massively refined, and it sprints from 0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds, which is quite impressive for an SUV that tips the scales at almost two tonnes. The smaller 2.0-litre diesel is likely to prove most popular with Irish buyers however. In terms of running costs, we achieved circa 7.0l/100km in fuel economy during the test, while annual motor tax is listed at €570.
Out on the road, the Velar is incredibly hushed and relaxing to drive. All models are equipped with adaptive suspension, which allows different driving modes such as Normal and Sport to be selected via controls on the touch screen infotainment system. The Velar offers a commanding view of the road and feels tall from the driver’s seat, while it tackles corners and twisty roads with reasonable aplomb. While it isn’t as engaging to drive as a Porsche Macan per say, it is confidence inspiring to drive and feels more agile to drive than you would expect.
Our test car is fitted with air springs which allows it to rise off the ground for off road driving. In true Range Rover style, the Velar is an accomplished off roader and at home on less favourable road surfaces. Although we didn’t get to test the Velar in a true off-road setting, we found it to glide effortlessly over rough patches of terrain while testing it on local forest fire roads.
Prices for the new Land Rover Velar start from €60,500 for the base specification 2.0-litre diesel Standard model. There are five levels of specification to include Base, S, SE, HSE and a sporty R Dynamic range. As standard, the Velar is equipped with a variety of safety features including Hill Launch Assist, Low Traction launch, Roll Stability Control, Hill Descent Control and Cornering Brake Control to mention a few. There’s also 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, 8-way adjustable seats, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors and suede cloth seats amongst many other items. Our high specification SE test car is kitted out with an array of options to include metallic paint, Pro Services with WIFI Hotspot services, a sliding panoramic roof and 10 x 10 way adjustable heated front seats, which bumps the price tag to €93,815.
Carzone verdict: 4.5/5
Prepare to be impressed by the new Range Rover Velar. With stunning styling and an impactful digital cabin, the Velar demands attention in a way that few of its class rivals can. The drive is focused and confidence inspiring, while the Velar is well suited to family life and off-road driving if needed. That said, it isn’t as engaging to drive as certain class alternatives, and higher specification models can prove eye-wateringly expensive, especially with options. That said, the Velar is a standout choice in the SUV space, and one that is likely to lead the way for quite some time.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Land Rover Range Rover Velar 3.0D V6 SE