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.

Best Value

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

Performance

Land Rover Range Rover Velar

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.

Style

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?


Land Rover Range Rover Velar

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.