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2019 Range Rover Velar D180 review: price, specs and release date

A luxury SUV with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine? Before you turn your nose up, read on to see if the Range Rover Velar D180 feels sufficiently plush...

2020 Range Rover Velar D180 front
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John Howell
12 Nov 2019 18:40

Priced from £45,260 | On sale Now

Land Rover launched its Range Rover Velar with what the marketers described exuberantly as ‘elegant simplicity’ and ‘a visually reductive approach’. Now, if you’re someone who thinks of Range Rover as a luxury SUV brand, and believe part of a luxury SUV’s remit encompasses having a smooth and powerful engine, then this entry-level D180 four-cylinder diesel may be a little too simple and reductive for you.

But is it? Perhaps in a world of downsizing and excessive emissions, we should leave the door to our minds at least ajar to the possibility?

2019 Range Rover Velar D180 R-Dynamic SE rear three-quarters

2019 Range Rover Velar D180 on the road

If safety in numbers is an argument, then quite a few of the Velar’s rivals share the concept that 2.0-litres and four cylinders are just fine. For example, the circa £45,000 budget asked for the cheapest Velar D180 would also see the stylish BMW X4 xDrive 20d Coupe diesel or the Porsche Macan 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol pop on to your shopping list.

Now, were performance your key requirement then the Macan is the plum choice; it can hit 0-62mph in under seven seconds. The Velar only just dips under nine, which is slower than the X4 20d. Yet for those not in a tearing rush the D180 is just fine, with all the punch you need in town and the reserves to get you up to motorway speeds without sweating.

The standard eight-speed automatic changes up and down its gears smoothly but can occasionally dilly-dally. That can be frustrating if you’re approaching a roundabout thinking, “That’s a suitable gap,” only to put your foot down and be left hanging for a vital second or two.

Wind and road noise are both well managed making this a grand car for gargantuan journeys, while in traffic the brakes are ever so easy to apply smoothly; your passengers will be dead impressed by your chauffeur-esque driving skills. The D180’s biggest area of weakness – compared with the pricier petrol and diesel versions – is its gruffer, grumblier soundtrack and the vibration you get through the pedals. Is it a deal breaker? No. It's a little out of keeping with its luxurious image, but you get used to it.

Sticking with the topic of noise, the optional adaptive suspension (£800) produces a notable boom over bumps. We haven’t heard that on Velars fitted with the dearer (£1140) option of air suspension. If you’re thinking that you’ll upgrade to that, then, unfortunately you can’t: air suspension isn’t available with the D180.

On the adaptive suspension the ride can be knobbly around town but in most other situations, such as on motorways, it’s quite comfortable. And merely knobbly is quite an accomplishment bearing in mind our car had mega-diameter 21in wheels fitted – the standard 18in wheels would almost certainly improve matters.

Those with expectations of great handling agility should also avoid the Velar. It feels bigger and heavier than both the rivals we’ve discussed, and when it comes to body control and steering precision the Macan and X4 run rings around it. Treat it as a car to cruise in and it’s light and easy to drive, though, and when it comes to scaling mountains we doubt either of its rivals would see which way the Velar went. It can also tow a handy maximum of 2400kg should your trailer be braked.

2019 Range Rover Velar D180 R-Dynamic SE dashboard

2019 Range Rover Velar D180 interior

If you would like to know about every nook and cranny of the Velar’s interior, then we'd direct you towards our full review for all the juicy details. The précis is it’s a very nice place to be. All the fixtures and fittings are at least classy and robust as its rivals’, and even though our car came without leather trim, that’s not something to get snooty about: the R-Dynamic SE trim’s cloth seats look rather dashing.

The driving position is also ace, with lots of adjustment and near-ideal seat support. The Dual Touch Pro twin touchscreens are fiddler to use than physical buttons when you’re on the move, but have advantages: they display two functions simultaneously, so you can still see your navigation map while choosing which album you want to play.

As for roominess, the Velar’s bigger exterior dimensions give it an advantage over the Macan or X4. There’s more passenger space, front and rear – plenty for most families’ needs – and a bigger boot.

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