From £44,8308
High-spec variant of Range Rover's most road-biased model yet offers unrivalled tech and plenty of luxury, but has a less clearly defined focus

Our Verdict

Range Rover Velar

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

Sam Sheehan
11 September 2017

What is it?

Land Rover says the Range Rover Velar is the best driver’s car it’s ever made, but we've been left underwhelmed by the variants powered by engines on the lower rungs of the range. Now, though, we’ve driven a model far better prepared to stand up to Land Rover's opening claim: a top-spec First Edition P380 with JLR’s proven supercharged 3.0-litre V6 beneath its snout.

Available only during the car's first year of production, the price of the First Edition starts at an eye-watering £85,450 - £15,240 more than the regular P380 - but it does so with a considerably longer list of standard-fit kit. Key among the additions is All Terrain Progress Control and £1140 worth of air suspension, as well as a head-up display, normally a £930 option. It bolsters the already high-tech armoury of cabin infotainment that’s made up of  two touchscreens and digital instrument cluster, making for the most impressive cabin in this class.

What's it like?

The infotainment beats even the Virtual Cockpit of Audi’s Q5 for visual drama, although it’s less intuitive to use. Its touch responsiveness is comparable to that of a smartphone but, frustratingly, the reaction time for menus to load is not quite as swift. Our Velar’s system occasionally needed up to two seconds to respond when multiple applications, such as the satnav and music player, were called into use soon after one another.

The car’s large front seats are extremely comfortable and come with a four-mode massage system. Combined with the screens and soft-touch materials strewn around you, the Velar’s interior is certainly not wanting for luxury, so much so that the cabin is the first feature that’ll grab you during your first ride whether you’re sitting in the front or back.

The car’s V6 engine is shared with the Jaguar F-Pace S, with which the Velar also borrows its aluminium structure. The motor channels 375bhp and 332lb ft to all four wheels via an eight-speed ZF gearbox, with power biased to the rear wheels in normal driving conditions.

This stout SUV offers brisk, effortless performance, but it does so with considerably less aural drama than it does in, say, an F-Type. The quick-shifting gearbox, which can be controlled via paddles, does add to the occasion if you choose to change gear yourself, but you’re never left craving that next open stretch of road to fully open the throttle like you might be in a more focused machine – not least because the fuel gauge falls at an alarming rate if you do. We averaged no better than an indicated 21mpg on a B-road run, the clearest reminder of this car’s near two-tonne mass.

On-road handling is drastically boosted by the presence of adjustable air suspension, which can be set in several modes ranging from Comfort for a more forgiving damping through to Dynamic for the most composed ride. While the Velar can’t mimic the hunkered-down stance of the more sporting F-Pace S or its rival, the Porsche Macan, it still mixes good ride comfort with impressive body control. Where it loses ground to its rivals as a driver’s car is in steering. The car’s electronically assisted system is no match for the more feelsome systems of the F-Pace and Macan, but this is clearly not an area of focus for the Velar. Ease of use is.

The Velar does at least stay true to its namesake by possessing the best ground clearance and wading depth in class, albeit with a smaller advantage over competitors than we’ve become used to. In some ways, this powerful, luxury SUV feels similar in character to Rover V8-engined Range Rovers of yesteryear. But those models still possessed a clear off-road focus, something not even Land Rover has tried to claim with its new, road-biased Velar model.

Should I buy one?

The Velar can’t match the F-Pace S or equivalent Macan for driver appeal, and it’s not as effective off-road as its Range Rover stablemates. Instead, this most luxurious Velar harbours within a narrow niche that makes little sense to the majority of us. For those unfazed by the asking price and the prospect of poor fuel economy, however, the Velar P380 First Edition would make a fine addition to the shire fleet.

Range Rover Velar P380 

Where Surrey On sale Now Price £85,450 Engine V6, 2995cc, supercharged petrol Power 375bhp at 6500rpm Torque 332lb ft at 3500rpm Gearbox 8-spd automatic Kerb weight 1884kg 0-62mph 5.7sec Top speed 155mph Economy 30.1mpg CO2/tax band 214g/km Rivals Jaguar F-Pace, Porsche Macan, Audi Q5

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Comments
29

11 September 2017

Change the leather for something less obviously pimp and dump the ubiquitous privacy glass and you'll have a decent enough "executive" car. But seriously, £85,000! When the PCP/PCH bubble pops, JLR is going to be far up it without one. Santander and Lloyds Banks may be left holding the returned cars and bad debts, but JLR will be left with the fantastical retail prices and showrooms full of unaffordable (and socially unattractive) metal.

11 September 2017
James Dene wrote:

When the PCP/PCH bubble pops, JLR is going to be far up it without one. Santander and Lloyds Banks may be left holding the returned cars and bad debts, but JLR will be left with the fantastical retail prices and showrooms full of unaffordable (and socially unattractive) metal.

Actually, Range Rover sells far less cars on finance than comparable Mercedes, Audi and BMW as a percentage of sales.  Porsche, even less.  

11 September 2017
Kamelo wrote:

Actually, Range Rover sells far less cars on finance than comparable Mercedes, Audi and BMW as a percentage of sales.  Porsche, even less.

Where is the data from?

11 September 2017

In 'austerity Britain' where are all the folk who can afford the never-ending succession of near 100k cars?

This thing looks superb though, way above the competition as a desirable means of transport but my goodness, it's pant wettingly expensive. I would like to see some coverage of the base model to see just how spartan that looks. 

12 September 2017
jmd67 wrote:

In 'austerity Britain' where are all the folk who can afford the never-ending succession of near 100k cars?

Drive past your nearest private school about 4pm and you'll witness a procession of 100k SUVs all driven by ladies who lunch who haven't done a days work in the last 10 years. I ask the same question every time. Where do these people get their money from?

11 September 2017
I think the front looks great, the rear looks awful side on tho imo. Bloated and that side rear window line just looks wrong to me.

11 September 2017

Range Rovers are no longer for off roading. OK.

Velar is a big old box to be fitted out with lots of leather, lots of toys, space for your lifestyle accessories and a nice comfortable ride. As a luxury cruiser and high status family car, it is excellent. Claims to be the most driver focused Range Rover are probably irrelevant.

Range Rover should market the Velar on it's undoubted merits and forget about trying to steal other brands clothes. The F Pace can cover JLR's need for a performance SUV, Velar can focus on Comfort and Luxury.

11 September 2017


Autocar wrote:

The infotainment beats even 

the Virtual Cockpit of Audi’s Q5 for visual drama, although it’s less intuitive to use. Its touch responsiveness is comparable to that of a smartphone but, frustratingly, the reaction time for menus to load is not quite as swift. Our Velar’s system occasionally needed up to two seconds to respond 

How can you claim this offers unrivalled tech when the infotainment screen needs 2 (TWO) seconds to respond, and isnt intuative. Its just another blinged up Chelsea tractor that will never go off road, at a massively inflated price,  that makes no sense, but thankfully at least you actually say as much.  

11 September 2017
Citytiger wrote:


Autocar wrote:

The infotainment beats even 

the Virtual Cockpit of Audi’s Q5 for visual drama, although it’s less intuitive to use. Its touch responsiveness is comparable to that of a smartphone but, frustratingly, the reaction time for menus to load is not quite as swift. Our Velar’s system occasionally needed up to two seconds to respond

How can you claim this offers unrivalled tech when the infotainment screen needs 2 (TWO) seconds to respond, and isnt intuative. Its just another blinged up Chelsea tractor that will never go off road, at a massively inflated price,  that makes no sense, but thankfully at least you actually say as much.  

Audi's multi tasking speed is no better.  Posche Macan S is quicker to 60 than some of its tech functions.

11 September 2017

even a basic s model v6 gets airsuspension nothing to do with first edition,these eeporters eh , what are you like.

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