Range Rover Velar review - Engines, performance and drive
The Velar comes with Jaguar Land Rover’s latest range of efficient 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines. The V6 versions are more familiar, but fit just as well
The Velar is positioned as the most dynamic Range Rover in the range. It uses the mostly aluminium platform from the Jaguar F-Pace and shares a large amount of componentry with that very car.
While the ride on standard steel springs is harsher than on any other Range Rover, the Velar still feels more comfortable and refined than the F-Pace. This only improves with the more expensive V6 and V8 models, as they come with air suspension as standard. Velars fitted with air suspension ride very well indeed and don’t feel remotely bouncy. Nor do they lend the car to excessive body roll, with plenty of control through tight bends.
The ride is made even more comfortable with small wheels, as the biggest 21 or 22-inch rims can send small shockwaves into the cabin. However, the Velar looks best on large wheels so most people will put up with a small amount of discomfort in order to look good on the road.
You’d be hard pushed to tell the Velar is related to the Jaguar F-Pace because Land Rover has succeeded in making the Velar feeling very ‘Range Roverish’ to drive. The steering is meaty but languid and the Velar’s natural character is to waft rather than thrill – this is despite it being supposedly the most dynamic Range Rover model ever. The feeling is helped by the standard eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox which, depending on which engine you go for, can feel super sharp or a little lost when it comes to choosing the right gear.
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The sportiest offering in the Velar lineup is the SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition. Its 5.0-litre V8 offers huge performance, while uprated air suspension and brakes help give a solid and reassuring feeling through corners. It's a fast and capable luxury car rather than an out-and-out sports SUV and is a perfect companion for long-distance, high-speed cruising. It sounds fantastic, handles well and still retains the off-road ability that every Range Rover should have, with all-season tyres fitted as standard.
The Velar is available with Jaguar Land Rover’s latest 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines built at its new Wolverhampton factory in the West Midlands. The 296bhp P300 offers decent performance, taking 5.9 seconds to go from 0-62mph and sounding relatively hushed as it accelerates.
However we think the 247bhp P250, which is around £2,500 cheaper, less than a second slower to 62mph and also has four cylinders, makes more sense.
Unless you want a diesel, of course. The D240 2.0-litre sits ahead of the D180, with 237bhp and 500Nm of torque on offer. It's not quite as smooth as any of the six-cylinder options on the table, and the quoted performance figures feel a little optimistic, but it's respectably refined and balances pace with a decent return on fuel economy.
Most buyers will be persuaded to go for the V6 engines. Though older than their four-cylinder counterparts, they still offer desirable amounts of power and torque – the 296bhp 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel is a highlight. Though somewhat costly to run, it nicely matches the Velar’s part-luxury, part-sporty nature, and is quiet and smooth on the move.
Those looking for the ultimate in performance from their Velar will be best served by the SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition. Powered by the same supercharged 5.0-litre V8 as the Jaguar F-Pace SVR, performance is impressive: 0-62mph takes 4.5 seconds and top speed is 170mph.
In this review
- 1Range Rover Velar reviewThe Range Rover Velar is Land Rover’s most desirable product yet. Rivals are arguably better value, but the Velar has more style dynamism
- 2Engines, performance and drive - currently readingThe Velar comes with Jaguar Land Rover’s latest range of efficient 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines. The V6 versions are more familiar, but fit just as well
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsFour-wheel drive only means economy figures aren’t exceptional, but they’re still respectable for an SUV of this size and weight
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe Velar is the most stylish Range Rover in the line-up. With a focus on form rather than function, it's laden with tech
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceDespite the large exterior dimensions, it’s a bit of a mixed bag inside. There’s plenty of room up front and in the boot, but rear seat passengers will struggle for space
- 6Reliability and SafetyCustomer service and reliability is still an issue, but the Velar should be a seriously safe family car