Friday, 7 September 2018

[CAR REVIEW] 2018 Range Rover Velar






Intro
When I think about a traditional Land Rover, what first comes to mind is a rectilinear off-road machine that has a rich history of conquering even the toughest terrains. Land Rover's premium sub brand Range Rover, on the other hand, represents a fleet of luxury SUVs that are not only capable off-road, but also suitable for city driving. More importantly, modern Range Rover has become a statement of wealth and success.

The 2018 Velar is the newest model in the Range Rover lineup. It is space between the smaller Evoque and the slightly larger Range Rover Sport. In my opinion, it's the best looking Range Rover to date.

Thanks to Land Rover Canada and J.S. Auto Media, I had the chance to test drive this beauty for two weeks. I have to warn you that I may have been a little trigger happy with this beauty. I hope your scroll wheel (finger) can keep up.

Exterior
It is hard not to fall in love with the exterior of the Velar. Our 2018 Range Rover Velar comes with the R-Dynamic Black Package, which includes black hood vent, black lettering, black grille mesh, black fender, black door finisher, and smoked lens. The all black Velar looks bad ass and reminds me of Star War's Darth Vader.

The Front of the car is bold and assertive with Tron like segmented LED daytime running lights. On its side, the minimalist design is enhanced by a tapered roof line, big wheels, and rising belt line. Compare to Range Rover sport, the sweeping character lines are tighter, and incorporate slight curvatures to make the exterior looks more premiums and spirited. From the back, the wraparound taillight is elegant and sexy. And the rising ground clearance in the rear does a good job of making the Velar look less heavy.

The 2018 Range Rover Velar looks expensive on the road and rugged in the wild. That is an impressive feast to pull off, and greatly enhances the perceived value of the car. I will let the pictures speak for themselves.




 
















Interior
The first thing one will notice stepping into the Velar is the two-touchscreen design of the center console. It is unique and provides a big wow factor. The touchscreens are huge and seemingly bezel-less. The top screen folds up when the car starts. The fold angel can be adjusted to accommodate different driver heights. The lower screen has two floating twist knobs that looks and feels high-tech. I will get to how these screens operate in the infotainment section of the review.

The gear selector is a dial knob that rises up from the lower center console when the car starts. Once again, it is unique and fancy. However, if you are in a hurry, the extra few seconds it takes for the gear selector to rise up can be slightly frustrating.

The rest of the cockpit embraces the same minimalist design of the car's exterior. There aren't too many fancy ornaments, but the rectilinear theme gives the interior a futuristic look. All the reachable surfaces are wrapped in soft-touched materials that are plush and feels premium. Aluminum trims add a little flare to the design while keeping it classy.

The front seats of Velar are among the most comfortable I have ever experienced. The perforated leather seats are both heated and vented, and there are plenty of lumbar and lateral supports. The front seats of our tester are also equipped with the optional massage systems. It is another way Land Rover is able to make the driver feel special.

The rear cabin of the Velar is slightly smaller than the outside dimension would suggest. There is enough legrooms for normal adults, but might be slightly cramped for taller passengers. The rear seats are also very comfortable. The center seat back can be folded down as an armrest, revealing additional cup holders and charging ports. There is also a dedicated rear climate controller resides behind the front armrest.

The 2018 Range Rover Velar certainly feels luxurious and premium on the inside with fancy features to make you feel like driving a James Bond car. Lets be honest, who doesn't want to drive a Bond car?























Infotainment
The infotainment system of the Range Rover Velar is fancy, highly customizable, but slightly complicated. The top screen is mainly for navigation, entertainment, and communications with settings for some car features.

The bottom screen is slightly more complicated. It contains climate controls, seat heating/venting settings, seat massager settings, car drive mode settings, and a small dial for volume control. The two rotary-push dials change functions based on the mode you have selected.

The graphics are rendered beautifully, but it will take some time for users to be familiar with all the settings. Because it is a fairly large touch-screen with physical dials floating on top, it is quite easy to accidentally click on the wrong thing. Correcting the mistake means you will have to take your eyes off the road. Potentially dangerous while driving.

The instrumental display in front the of the steering wheel is completely digital. You have the option of choosing the display style and content. It is interacted by the touch panels on both sides of the steering wheel. Once again, the functions of the touch panels change based on the menu you have selected.

All that sounds slightly complicated, but once you have taken the time to get everything setup exactly the way you want, you will appropriate the array of information the Velar can provide at a single glance with its three large displays.

The optional Meridian speaker system in our tester produces rich, deep bass and accurate high notes. It provides a pleasant listening experience that is fitting to the luxurious interior of the car.





  


Safety and Driver Assistance

Every Velar comes standard with:
  • Rearview camera
  • Automated forward Emergency Braking
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Rear Parking Sensors
S trim has the following options:
  • Blind Spot Monitoring 
  • Traffic Sign Recognition System
  • Driver Condition Monitor
SE trim the following additional options:
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Lane Keep Assist
All of the above are standard with the HSE trim.

The 2018 Range Rover Velar has yet been crash-tested by either NHTSA or IIHS at the time of writing.

Driving
Our tester comes equipped with a twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6 engine. It produces 380 hp of horse power at 6500 rpm and 332 lb-ft of torque at 3500-5000 rpm. Coupled with a 8-speed automatic AWD transmission, the Velar can propel itself from 0-100km in roughly 5.7 seconds. While not the fastest in the segment, it is still provides a spirited driving experience.

Where the Velar truly shine is its ability to adapt to different road conditions. This is one of the few cars where selecting different drive modes actually make a drastic difference. In ECO mode, the engine is muted, and automatic engine start/stop kicks in. In Comfort mode, the air suspension helps to absorb road bumps and makes a buttery smooth ride. I personally prefer to leave the car in Dynamic mode. The steering is tighter and the suspension is firmer for superior corner handling in this mode, while small road disturbances are still absorb with enough suppleness.

I have the opportunity to take the car to a sandy trail. I selected the Sand/Snow mode and the Velar handles the bumpy, slippery road beautifully (you can view the drone footage here). It is not something you want to do to a premium car on a regular bases, but knowing your car has the ability to do so still puts a smile on your face.

The Velar P380 is rated at 13L/100km city, and 10.0/100km highway. Our two weeks test drive of combined usage returns a 12.1L/100km fuel economy rating. It is not too bad for such a heavy car, but because of its weight, the Velar's braking distance suffers.




Cargo Space & Storage
The cargo space of the Velar is impressive. The boxy exterior and the long tail gives the Velar a massive 673L of cargo space. It is enough to fit 10 pieces of carry-on luggage with the back seats upright. With the rear seats folded, it is has 1943L of cargo space, big enough to fit a whopping 23 pieces of luggage.

The interior small-item storage space is average. There is a storage bin under the center armrest, and the door pockets provide additional storage options. There are three cup holders in the center console, two round ones, and one rectangular one. The front round one has a cover that can be released by pushing the oval shaped button with the embedded Land Rover logo (yes, it took me a little while to figure out).




Verdict
So what do I think about the 2018 Range Rover Velar? I love both the exterior styling, and the interior design of the car. All the gadgets and attention to details make the car feels extra luxurious and expensive.

It handles the city road with composer and comfort. Knowing the Velar also has the ability to handle off road driving gives me a weird sense of confidence, and entitlement to bragging rights.

Land Rover knows how to make their customers feel special while driving the Velar. And for many people, purchasing a car is an emotional decision.

While the car gets quite costly with all the options (~30k for our tester), the Velar makes it easier to justify the price tag by being both sexy and practical. Yes, I want one!

Test Vehicle
2018 Range Rover Velar P380 HSE
MSRP
$92,092 (excludes freight, PDI)
Color
R-Dynamic Black Package

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