From £44,3508
New entry-level Velar brings affordable four-cylinder motoring to Land Rover’s most road-focused model

Our Verdict

Range Rover Velar

Fourth Range Rover model has abundant style but how much breadth of ability does the Velar really have?

Tom Morgan, deputy digital editor
13 December 2019
Range Rover Velar D180 2019 UK

What is it?

When the Velar first arrived, Land Rover pitched it as a luxury mid-size SUV, and priced it as such. The firm’s most road-focused model to date then steadily expanded towards the more affordable end of the price spectrum, with its engine losing a few cylinders in the process.

The D180 is hardly the only four-pot car in its class right now, with the BMW X4, Mercedes-Benz GLE and even the entry-grade Porsche Macan offering the same, though the latter drinks from the green pump rather than the black one.

JLR’s Ingenium diesel engine does need to move a little over two tonnes of car, though, and has just 177bhp with which to do it. That combination was never going to make for pulse-raising straight line figures, the Velar barely squeaking in under nine seconds for the 0-62mph dash, but a healthy 317lb ft of torque ought to make up for it in everyday use. It’s partnered with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, with power naturally being sent to both axles.

The D180 is driven here in S guise, which improves on the standard specification with 19in alloy wheels, upgraded LED headlights, a powered tailgate, power folding door mirrors, a Meridian sound system, and Navigation Pro infotainment with traffic sign recognition. The R Dynamic trim then further butches up what is already a very handsome car, with metal paddle shifters and pedals adding some sporting flair inside the cabin.

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What's it like?

Capable, but unsurprisingly not to the extent of the more powerful engines found elsewhere in the line-up. Though I’m not sure you’d want to drive the Velar with anything less under the bonnet, it would be wrong to label it underpowered. Motorway overtakes are dispatched without too much drama, and it feels responsive enough around town, although the automatic gearbox isn’t particularly quick to drop down when attempting to fill gaps in traffic. 

Refinement isn’t its strong point, either at idle or under load, with a somewhat gruff-sounding tone that betrays its cylinder count at slower speeds. Wind and road noise are both well managed, though, so at motorway pace the cabin is a very pleasant place to be. 

Even lower-grade models are well equipped, with twin touchscreens in the centre console giving precise control over climate, driving modes and other settings. Physical dials make on-the-fly adjustments a lot easier than a purely touch-based system, and look the part too. That said, the basic instrument cluster (a small screen flanked by analogue dials) felt a little out of place in the otherwise tech-laden cabin, so we’d definitely tick the option box to add the fully digital cluster.

There’s little disguising the Velar’s size and heft in the corners, where it lacks the sharpness and precision of the BMW X4, or indeed the Jaguar F-Pace with which it shares a platform. However, though we didn’t get the chance to test it in the D180, experience elsewhere in the range suggests that it would best both rivals when taken off road.

The combination of 19in wheels and passive suspension creates a ride that copes well enough with coarser road surfaces, and while it doesn’t waft as a Velar on air suspension does (an option not available with this engine), both driver and passengers will appreciate its relaxed nature on longer journeys.

Should I buy one?

If you're after a premium SUV solely for the level of comfort on offer, and not the promise of dynamism, this entry-grade Velar largely fits the bill. It’s spacious, with a level of interior quality that competes closely with class rivals, and a healthy selection of standard kit.

The four-cylinder engine is capable enough to not feel strained in daily use, and will be less expensive to run than the equivalent petrol engine, though it lacks the refinement of the more expensive six-pot diesel. 

It’s a minimal compromise that most people will find offset by the relaxed ride and concept car looks that are key to the Velar experience.

Land Rover Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic S D180 specification

Where Warwickshire, UK Price £53,020 On sale now Engine 4 cyls, 1999cc, turbocharged diesel Power 177bhp at 4000rpm Torque 317lb ft at 1750-2500rpm Gearbox 8-spd automatic Kerb weight 2089kg Top speed 120mph 0-62mph 8.9sec Fuel economy 37.8-42.0mpg CO2 no WLTP data available Rivals Mercedes-Benz GLE, Audi Q5, Jaguar F-Pace

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Comments
14

jer

13 December 2019

How does a aluminium chassis, aluminium engine, 4cyl that's about 4.7m long weigh 2.1 tonnes?

13 December 2019
jer wrote:

How does a aluminium chassis, aluminium engine, 4cyl that's about 4.7m long weigh 2.1 tonnes?

 

The weight saving benefits of JLR's aluminium platform have long been overstated. Yes the material is lighter than steel but they need to use more of it for a given strength and rigidity. Other manufacturers use a mixed-material approach which seems like a better solution.

13 December 2019
Nm vs ft lb.

13 December 2019

A car with more than a few shortcomings (medicore handling, gearbox, refinement etc) given 4 stars?

FM8

13 December 2019
Overdrive wrote:

A car with more than a few shortcomings (medicore handling, gearbox, refinement etc) given 4 stars?

Given 3 1/2 in the road test, must've aged well, although I'm sure Jonboy will be along soon to give everyone a bollocking, then Takeitslowlyupthearse will be here to right everyone's wrongs. TBF, the Velar's a better car in petrol form than diesel, although it's far too expensive and choosing just a few desirable (probably essential) options pushes the price even further. They're not bad cars, but there's far better.

13 December 2019
FM8 wrote:
Overdrive wrote:

A car with more than a few shortcomings (medicore handling, gearbox, refinement etc) given 4 stars?

Given 3 1/2 in the road test, must've aged well, although I'm sure Jonboy will be along soon to give everyone a bollocking, then Takeitslowlyupthearse will be here to right everyone's wrongs. TBF, the Velar's a better car in petrol form than diesel, although it's far too expensive and choosing just a few desirable (probably essential) options pushes the price even further. They're not bad cars, but there's far better.

oh crap! I forgot all about Jonboy when I posted that comment. I'm going into hiding immediately and will stay there till things blow over.

13 December 2019

£53k (more with tech options), 9sec 0-60mph, coarse underpowered engine and slow responding gearbox. Hardly a recipe for sales success in the luxury vehicle class.

I thought Autocar gave high ratings to drivers cars, which this obviously isn't, not to poseurs cars which this obviously is. 

Anyway, does Land Rover off-road ability matter in a car like this, which will never go off-road?

13 December 2019

Good old Autocar always try to cover up for JLR and their high polluting vehicles.. 'No WLTP data available' my ass! P11D value*£52,110 CO2 152g/km Tax Payable at 40% £7,712

13 December 2019

An essential part of the 'luxury' experience is an effortless drive. 317lb ft moving 2.1 tonnes isn't a struggle around town and on the school run, but it certainly won't deliver anything like an effortless experience on a dash to the West Country along a busy A303. Another car for those that value what's on their drive over the drive itself.

16 December 2019
James Dene wrote:

An essential part of the 'luxury' experience is an effortless drive. 317lb ft moving 2.1 tonnes isn't a struggle around town and on the school run, but it certainly won't deliver anything like an effortless experience on a dash to the West Country along a busy A303. Another car for those that value what's on their drive over the drive itself.

How fast do you drive along the A303 if you'd find this a struggle?

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