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- Gorgeous shape
- Adjustable and capable air suspension
- Modern and sleek interior
- Opulent interior...
- …made better by extra-cost cloth fabric
- Six figures for a mid-size SUV is a thing now
- Engines feel old now
- Big wheels = tough ride
- Did someone say more for cloth?
- Just enough second-row space
The 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar takes chances in its exterior and interior and wins spectacularly. It’s a new benchmark for the luxury SUV company.
The 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar is an implicit admission by the automaker of its customers’ priorities.
The new SUV lives up to its Land Rover name in rugged hardware, but its soft wares and daring lines speak to its eventual calling as an urban accessory for many owners.
It succeeds as both, which is how we arrive at our 8.2 overall rating. Few vehicles rate as highly as the new Velar, but it doesn’t come cheaply. The new Velar starts at just over $50,000 and ends up somewhere around a small villa in Italy. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Its most convincing argument for beaucoup bucks is two 10-inch touchscreens in the center console that control infotainment and vehicle functions. Adapted from prior Jaguar Land Rover systems, the new infotainment system is responsive, sharp, and devastatingly gorgeous. It may be the most convincing argument yet that automakers don’t necessarily need to turn to Apple or Android to make infotainment user interfaces.
But passersby won’t see the touchscreens. They’ll see an exterior sharpened with Land Rover’s chief designer Gerry McGovern’s pen-turned-whetstone. The Velar takes the F-Pace’s shape and reveals its elements: long hood, sloping roofline, massively open wheel arches. The Velar even rids itself of door handles to focus on its body lines.
Under the hood, the Velar turns back to the Jaguar for inspiration—for better or worse. The base engine in the Velar is a gas-powered turbo-4 that makes 247 horsepower, upgradeable to a turbodiesel inline-4 that’s best trick is up to 30 mpg highway. The best option is a supercharged V-6 that makes 380 hp, but it’s not because of its sub-six-second 0-60-mph sprint—it’s the only engine that comes with an air suspension.
That trio of engines is the same found under the Jaguar F-Pace and it’s starting to show frays around the edges. None are particularly refined, and although all of them aptly power the Velar, it’s not particularly thrilling to drive on the road.
While the driver manages the road, other passengers are treated to an opulent interior that’s one of Range Rover’s best. Leather hides will adorn most cabins, while an optional premium cloth steals the show for us. (Yes, you pay more for the cloth. Yes, it’s worth it.) In top trims, the Velar adds a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that ups the viewable inches of screens to more than some of our TVs at home, while multi-adjustable front seats are all-day comfortable. We stop short of saying the same for the rear only because tall passengers may be asking for a more leg room.
But shod with 22-inch wheels, a light exterior tone, and black roof, most people may spend more time outside the Velar looking at it than inside. It’s that stunning.