Range Rover Velar review

Category: Family SUV

The Range Rover Velar is a a stylish, refined and seriously appealing SUV

Land Rover Range Rover Velar front cornering
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar front cornering
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar rear cornering
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar interior dashboard
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar boot open
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar interior infotainment
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar right driving
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar front cornering
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar rear right driving
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar rear cornering
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar left static boot open
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar rear static boot open
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar PHEV charging socket
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar badge detail
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar interior front seats
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar interior back seats
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar interior steering wheel detail
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar interior aircon controls
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar interior gearshift
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar front cornering
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar rear cornering
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar interior dashboard
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar boot open
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar interior infotainment
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar right driving
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar front cornering
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar rear right driving
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar rear cornering
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar left static boot open
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar rear static boot open
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar PHEV charging socket
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar badge detail
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar interior front seats
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar interior back seats
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar interior steering wheel detail
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar interior aircon controls
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar interior gearshift
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Introduction

What Car? says...

The Range Rover Velar name isn't – as you might suspect – the result of branding experts playing with Scrabble letters over a few drinks. There’s actually history to it.

You see, when Land Rover was developing the original Range Rover, it gave it the codename Velar, derived from the Latin word 'velare', which means to cover or hide. Ironically, though, this latest Range Rover Velar makes no effort to hide away – on the contrary, its rakish looks are there to help it stand out.

So, what's the Velar like? Well, put simply, it’s a five-seat SUV that fills the sizeable price gap between the smaller Range Rover Evoque and the bigger Range Rover Sport. And while it's the most road-biased Land Rover yet, it's still very capable off-road.

Rivals include the Audi Q5, the BMW X4, the Mercedes GLC Coupé and the Porsche Macan. Meanwhile, top models in the Velar range are in price contention with the likes of the BMW X6 and the Mercedes GLE Coupé.

In this review we're going to look at how Range Rover Velar stacks up in all the important areas – from performance to practicality, and comfort to costs.

Overview

The Land Rover Range Rover Velar is a refined, luxuriously equipped and seriously appealing large SUV. Plus, if you keep to small wheels, it's a comfy companion. Just bear in mind that it’s best to stick to the cheaper trims and engines – once you start moving up the range, the price rises into the realms of better cars, such as the Audi Q8 and the BMW X6.

  • Very comfy with smaller wheels or air suspension
  • Cheaper versions are temptingly priced
  • Huge boot
  • Rivals are more agile
  • Fiddly climate controls
  • Disappointing reliability record
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Our Pick

OurPicksRRP £54,490
Land-rover Range-rover-velar 2.0 D200 MHEV S 5dr Auto review
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

The fastest Range Rover Velar is the P400e plug-in hybrid (PHEV). When its petrol engine and electric motor are working together to maximise performance, it's capable of 0-60mph in a punchy 5.1 seconds.

Performance is rather more sedate in electric mode, although it can still get you up to motorway speeds if you’re patient, and can officially run for up to 40 miles on a single charge (mid-20s is more realistic in normal driving). When you're running on battery power, the engine can take a moment to wake up when you put your foot down.

If you want effortless performance without having to worry about charging up, consider the 296bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel (D300), which can officially manage 0-60mph in 6.1 seconds. It pulls more than hard enough from low revs and you’ll never struggle for oomph.

Our recommended engine, though, is the cheaper D200 four-cylinder diesel. It’s just over a second slower to 60mph than the D300, but it’s still strong enough for fuss-free acceleration.

There are also a couple of purely petrol-powered alternatives. Of these, the four-cylinder P250 needs working harder than the diesels but has a reasonable turn of pace. There's also the six-cylinder P400, but we've yet to drive that.

Land Rover Range Rover Velar image
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The Velar is a fairly versatile tow car: the D200 and P250 can pull 2,400kg, with the D300 and P400 upping that to 2,500kg. The P400e manages 2,000kg.

Suspension and ride comfort

The Velar's standard non-adaptive suspension is softly sprung, and delivers a more supple ride than you get in a BMW X4 or Porsche Macan on standard springs.

As a result, it deals with bigger lumps and bumps well, but pockmarked surfaces still cause it to fidget if you’ve picked the bigger, flashier 21in or 22in wheels.

If you want the cushiest ride, you should go for the optional air suspension, which is available on all versions except the P400e and allows you to adapt the Velar to suit your mood or the terrain.

In Comfort mode, the air suspension copes better with big wheels than the standard set-up does, although there is some floatiness over undulations at motorway speeds. Dynamic mode makes the ride more settled.

Land Rover Range Rover Velar rear cornering

Handling

Range Rovers have never been known for pin-sharp handling or delicate levels of driver feedback, and the Velar doesn't change that, but that’s not to say it handles badly.

Around town, its light steering makes life easy, yet it offers enough precision on faster roads to let you place the car's nose where you want it.

Still, you can't get away from the fact that the Velar feels heavier and less agile than many of its rivals. Whichever suspension set-up you go for, the Velar leans more than the X4 and the Macan, although if you switch air-sprung Velars into Dynamic mode, the gap isn't as big.

Mind you, the Velar is far more impressive off road than all its rivals, especially with air suspension fitted. Indeed, with the right setting selected, it’ll scramble up steep, rocky slopes with surprising ease, and its hill-descent control system helps you come safely down the other side.

Noise and vibration

The Velar P400e’s four-cylinder petrol engine sounds more hot hatch than SUV when worked hard, but it settles into the background most of the time and switches between electric and petrol power smoothly.

If you want something sweeter, go for the D300 diesel. It’s extremely hushed at low engine speeds, transmits next to no vibration through the controls, and growls pleasantly as the revs rise.

Impressively, it’s a bit more refined than the equivalent BMW diesel, and challenges the rival Audi offering too. The D200 is also pleasantly hushed, but its engine transmits more resonance into the car than the D300 unit.

An eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard on all models but can be laggy when you want a burst of pace. That said, the more expensive Audi Q8 has an even more dim-witted auto gearbox.

Switching the gearbox into Sports mode sharpens its responses and makes it slightly snappier to react. If you really get frustrated, you can take control of gear changes yourself using the steering-wheel mounted paddles.

The Velar’s motorway manners are pretty good. Road noise is well contained at speed, and while there is some wind flutter around its big door mirrors, it’s still quieter overall than the Macan. That said, the P400e does generate a noticeable amount of suspension noise around town. 

Driving overview

Strengths Good ride comfort; strong and smooth D300 engine; pretty hushed, even at speed

Weaknesses Rivals feel more agile; auto gearbox can be a bit laggy

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Driving position and dashboard

Even in entry-level S spec, the Range Rover Velar has 14-way electrically adjustable front seats (including fine-tuning for the lumbar region) that are heated and remain comfortable for hours.

Upgrading to a Dynamic HSE car brings 20-way electrically adjustable seats and electric adjustment for the steering wheel. Meanwhile, in range-topping Autobiography models, the seats can cool and massage you as well.

Less impressively, Land Rover has removed the Velar's simple rotary climate controls as part of the car's mid-life refresh. Now you have to use the touchscreen, which is far more distracting to do on the move.

In all Velars, there's a 12.3in digital instrument cluster instead of traditional analogue dials. It’s clear and puts lots of information just in front of the driver, although it’s not as easy to configure as the Virtual Cockpit system in the Audi Q5.

Visibility, parking sensors and cameras

Thanks to the Velar’s lofty driving position, the driver's view straight out of the front and to the sides is good. The thick windscreen pillars can obscure your vision slightly at junctions, though, and seeing out of the back could also be easier, because the rear window is small.

Fortunately, all Velars come with front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. If you're really worried about parking, a park-assist system that will find a space and steer you into it is optional.

S and Dynamic SE models get LED headlights as standard, while Dynamic HSE cars and above come with adaptive matrix LED headlights that allow you to keep them set to main beam without dazzling other drivers.

Land Rover Range Rover Velar interior dashboard

Sat nav and infotainment

Previous versions of the Velar had two 10.0in touchscreens, but the latest model has one 11.4in screen with smart-looking graphics and menus that prove easy enough to navigate once you're used to them.

That said, it would be easier to operate the infotainment functions without taking your eyes off the road if you also had a rotary scroll dial and proper shortcut buttons, as you do in the BMW X4 and BMW X6.

You can bypass the Land Rover software using Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity. Among other things, they let you use Google Maps or Waze sat-nav apps instead of the built-in sat-nav.

Rear-seat passengers get a pair of USB sockets, hidden behind the front centre armrest, while a rear-seat entertainment system with twin 8.0in screens is available as an option. Dynamic SE trim upgrades the standard stereo to a premium Meridian system.

Quality

The main areas you look at and interact with in the Velar are suitably stylish, and the higher-spec models have plenty of soft leather on the dashboard and door tops.

Even the more basic trims are fitted with leather seats and, in the main, Velars feel sturdily put together, although they're not quite as consistently robust as the Audi Q8, or the BMW X4 and X6. If you poke around a bit, you’ll find plastics that feel a little flimsy and some panel gaps.

Interior overview

Strengths Lofty driving position; lots of seat and steering wheel adjustment; smart on-screen graphics

Weaknesses Distracting climate controls; some plastics could be classier

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Front space

The Range Rover Velar is a big car, so front space is generous. There’s plenty of head room and the seats go back a long way to accommodate taller drivers, with a wide gap between them so you won’t be rubbing shoulders with your passenger when you both use the split centre armrests.

There are lots of storage spaces dotted around. The door bins can each take a 500ml bottle and a few oddments, and the cupholders behind the gear selector are a healthy size.

Rear space

Passengers in the back seats of the Velar are unlikely to complain about head room: even with a panoramic glass roof fitted, six-footers will have plenty.

Leg room isn’t quite so generous. A six-footer can fit behind an equally tall driver, but they will have precious little space between their knees and the back of the front seat. The Porsche Macan is tighter in the back. If you think you’ll need more space, the Audi Q8 and BMW X6 coupé SUVs are roomier.

If you try to fit three people in the rear of the Velar, the middle passenger has to straddle a sizeable hump in the floor. There's also limited elbow room and the middle seat is particularly narrow. The rear door bins are smaller than those in the front, but still useful.

Land Rover Range Rover Velar boot open

Seat folding and flexibility

Like the driver's seat, the front passenger seat features 14-way electric adjustment as standard, with Autobiography models upgrading that to 20-way adjustment.

All Velars have a handy 40/20/40 split rear bench so you can carry long items, such as skis or a ladder, between two passengers. A sliding rear bench – like the one you get in the Audi Q5 and the Volvo XC90 – isn’t available in the Velar.

We recommend adding the optional release handles, which are mounted on the sides of the boot, to drop the rear seatbacks. It’s a bit cheeky that Land Rover charges extra for them on an expensive car, but they do save you having to walk round and open the rear doors to drop the rear seats.

Boot space

The Velar’s boot is a lot more usable than rivals' – even the Audi Q8’s. We managed to fit 10 carry-on suitcases inside, compared with eight in the Q8. That said, the P400e’s boot is a bit smaller because of the big battery under the floor.

The bottom of the Velar's tailgate opening is quite high off the ground, which is something to bear in mind when you need to lift things up and into the boot, but at least there isn't a lip at the entrance with a big drop down to the boot floor behind it. Air-sprung models can be made to lower when you park, aiding access.

A powered tailgate is standard, plus you get a few hooks in the boot, and several partition and storage options are available.

Practicality overview

Strengths Loads of front space; huge boot; rear seats split and fold flat in a versatile 40/20/40 arrangement

Weaknesses Plug-in hybrid loses some luggage space to its battery; rear leg room could be better; rear seats don't slide

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

If you avoid the non-PHEV petrol-powered versions, running costs for the Range Rover Velar shouldn't be too painful.

The D200 diesel has the best official fuel economy aside from the very optimistic figure provided for the P400e (expect around 25mpg when the battery is depleted). Even the far punchier D300 is capable of more than 30mpg when driven sensibly.

It's also worth noting that the Velar's starting price, with our favoured D200 diesel engine, is quite a bit cheaper than most of its rivals, including the Audi Q8 and the BMW X6 – partly because most competitors offer only bigger six-cylinder diesel engines. For the latest Velar delays, see our New Land Rover Deals pages.

None of the conventional engines are great for drivers of company cars because they're all in the top BIK tax bracket. The P400e is a better company car choice.

Demand for the Velar means it holds its value pretty well, but for the strongest resale values in the class, look at the Porsche Macan.

Equipment, options and extras

Even entry-level S trim gives you adaptive cruise control, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, keyless entry, ambient interior lighting, dual-zone climate control and a heated windscreen.

We don't reckon stepping up to Dynamic SE or beyond adds enough extras to justify the price hikes unless you also want to opt for one of the more powerful engines that can't be combined with S spec.

Land Rover Range Rover Velar interior infotainment

Reliability

Our 2023 Reliability Survey suggests that Land Rover is making progress in this area, although it still finished in a poor 28th place out of 32 brands. What's more, the Velar was third from bottom in the large SUV class.

So what’s your back-up? Well, the standard warranty is three years, with no mileage limit, and you might want to consider extending that if you’re keeping the car for longer. Make sure you extend it within the manufacturer’s warranty – once it’s lapsed, you can only buy an approved used warranty, and that might not cover as many eventualities.

Safety and security

The Velar picked up the full five stars from Euro NCAP for safety in the event of a crash. Looking at its test results in detail, there were a few weaknesses noted in its rear passenger chest and whiplash protection, but nothing serious. 

The Audi Q7, which is structurally similar to the Velar's Q8 rival, is about as safe as the Velar, while the Macan also scored the full five stars, although that was several years ago, when the tests weren’t so stringent.

All versions get automatic emergency braking (AEB), a driver condition monitor and lane-keep assist as standard, along with six airbags. Meanwhile, an intrusion sensor is fitted to help with security.

Costs overview

Strengths Well equipped; good safety; D200 diesel is temptingly priced – particularly in entry-level trim

Weaknesses Pricier versions make less sense; reliability record is disappointing

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FAQs

  • Yes, the Velar is 4797mm long, 1930mm wide and up to 1723mm tall (depending on the wheels and suspension fitted), whereas the Range Rover Evoque is 4371mm long, 1904mm wide and 1649mm tall.

  • In our 2023 Reliability Survey, bodywork and electrical issues were the main bugbears reported by owners, with these accounting for 15% and 9% of faults respectively. Although most cars could still be driven, 44% took more than a week to be fixed.

  • The Velar straddles the family SUV and luxury SUV classes, although its sleek roofline means it's also a rival for coupé SUVs such as the Audi Q8 and the BMW X6.

  • It depends. We reckon the Range Rover Velar D200 is the pick for those buying outright or signing up to a PCP finance agreement. On the other hand, if you’re a company car driver, it’s hard to look past the P400e PHEV model because of its low benefit-in-kind tax rate. Either way, we reckon S trim (plus a few choice options) makes the most sense.

At a glance
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Target Price from £52,205
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From £41,999
RRP price range £54,490 - £80,350
Number of trims (see all)4
Number of engines (see all)4
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol, petrol parallel phev, diesel
MPG range across all versions 150.1 - 43.7
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / No mileage cap
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £1,431 / £5,769
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £2,862 / £11,537
Available colours