Land Rover is closing the aspirational gap in its Range Rover line this summer with its first all-new model in years. Priced and sized between the Evoque and Range Rover Sport lines, the Velar – a name first used to disguise the creation of the Range Rover itself – is a high-tech, high-lux styling masterpiece that just happens be an SUV.
Designed with boulevard cruising in mind, the Velar nonetheless can be had with just about every on- and off-road goodie in the Land Rover line, starting at $50,895 (including a $995 destination charge) for the base model with a 247-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and ramping up quickly to the top-spec First Edition model with a 380-hp, supercharged, 3.0-liter V6 and an MSRP of $90,295.
What's New for 2018
The Velar is all new for 2018.
Choosing Your Land Rover Range Rover Velar
Land Rover will sell the Velar with three separate powertrains when it arrives in US showrooms later this year. The base model uses a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder with 247 horsepower, although a thriftier option might be the new 2.0-liter, 180-horsepower turbodiesel four. If you like speed, don't care about fuel economy, or simply need to tow something, the optional 3.0-liter, supercharged V6 and its 380 horsepower is the way to go. The EPA hasn't had a chance to evaluate the Velar's fuel economy yet.
Like all Land Rover models, the Range Rover Velar should be an exceptionally capable off-roader. Four-wheel drive is standard, while owners with deeper pockets can attach much of the same off-road electronic wizardry found on pricier Range Rover models, including Land Rover's excellent Terrain Response 2 system and an active rear differential that can lock and unlock automatically, based on conditions. V6-models get a standard air suspension that promises almost ten inches of ground clearance and on-road comfort to match the outright off-road ability.
All Velars come with a range of standard luxuries, including a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, 18-inch wheels, Jaguar Land Rover's Adaptive Dynamics driving system, auto emergency braking, lane departure warning, and an eight-speaker stereo.
Land Rover is also making available to Velar buyers an upholstery woven from “sustainable resources” and paired with synthetic suede as an alternative to various cow hides. If you want to make your rumbling off-roader a little bit greener, this is a good way to go.
The Range Rover Velar is available in five separate trims, including the limited-run First Edition.
With enough patience and attention to detail, you can actually outfit a Velar with most of the best equipment it has to offer without breaking the $70,000 barrier. Skipping the purely aesthetic R-Dynamic trim – actually, all the fancy paint, trim and wheel options – in favor of the better-equipped $55,695 Velar S will allow you to add the safety, climate control and entertainment packages you want without spending extra on things you don’t.
Land Rover rolls out an all-new SUV this year to bridge the gap between its compact Evoque and seven-passenger Range Rover Sport. The mid-size 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar mixes the brand's trademark opulence with daring design and captivating technology. The result is a breakthrough vehicle that's equal parts charisma and prestige.
The Velar lineup contains three models: Velar (base), sport-themed R-Dynamic, and loaded First Edition. Land Rover expects most buyers to choose the R-Dynamic in top HSE trim, which features an extended leather interior, ventilated front seats with massage, adaptive cruise control, and lane keeping assist. Two four-cylinder engines are offered, but we recommend springing for the hearty supercharged V6, which brings with it an adustible air suspension.
Model: 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic HSE
Engine: 3.0-liter supercharged V6
Output: 380 hp / 332 lb-ft
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
Fuel Economy: 18 City / 24 Hwy
Options: V6 engine ($9,500)
Base Price: $68,595 (including a $995 destination charge)
Best Value Price: $78,095
With the supercharged V6 under the hood, the Velar feels more like a performance SUV than one designed for the country club set. It whisks passengers from zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds – no easy feat for vehicle weighing almost 4,300 pounds. The engine feels a bit raucous at full throttle, but settles down nicely for cruising.
The eight-speed automatic shifts seamlessly through hills and passing maneuvers. Paddle shifters are on hand, but aren't likely to be needed. The same can be said of Land Rover's excellent all-wheel-drive system. The capability to go anywhere is there, even if the desire isn't.
The electric power steering provides easy and responsive handling in everyday driving. Moving the Velar around parking lots and city streets takes surprisingly little effort. The Sport steering mode reduces the assist to a level more appropriate for highway speeds.
The adjustable air suspension can raise or lower the body up to three inches. Maximum ground clearance is 9.9 inches, enough for recreational off-roading. The Velar is rated to tow up to 5,400 pounds.
With its long hood and inherited nose, the Velar won't be mistaken for anything but a Land Rover. But that doesn't mean it's derivative. On the contrary, the Velar is the most aerodynamic Land Rover ever built, and carries novel styling elements like power-deploying door handles and copper fenders accents. The upswept tail and sloping roof prevent any boxiness that might spoil the affair.
The HSE's interior is a pleasing blend of fine materials and high technology. Leather-topped dashboard houses a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and pair of central touchscreens totaling 20 inches. Aluminum or glossy wood trim complete the sleek environment. The multi-contour seats are covered in perforated leather – or newly available premium cloth.
The Best and Worst Things
We're impressed by how well the Velar integrates the latest technology with old-world craftsmanship and charm. It's a delicate balance, and Land Rover gets it just right.
As sumptuous as they are, the rear quarters don't offer the kind of space buyers might expect in a mid-size SUV. A few more inches of knee and shoulder room would go a long way here. With the rear seats folded, cargo space maxes out at 70.1 cubic feet. That's acceptable, but just barely. Some compact crossovers can hold more.
Right For? Wrong For?
Buyers who prize luxury and capability will delight in the Velar's talents. Few competitors can offer both to such an uncompromising degree.
Buyers who measure SUVs in inches should look elsewhere. While the Velar has great stage presence, it's no substitute for the three-row, V8 behemoths that occupy the same price class.
The Bottom Line
The 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar carries Land Rover's traditional virtues into all-new territory.
Find Your New Land Rover Range Rover Velar On CarsDirect