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Range Rover Velar review - Interior, design and technology

The Velar remains the most stylish Range Rover in the lineup, but it’s new cabin sacrifices usability for an ultra-minimalist look

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Interior, design and technology Rating

4.2 out of 5

Price
£54,730 to £80,360
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The Range Rover Velar was launched in 2017 and designed by Gerry McGovern – the man responsible for the new Defender, Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. When it hit the streets, the Velar looked more like a concept car than anything else, thanks to its clean, modern and uncluttered styling. It’s still an excellent looking SUV, even after six years on showroom floors, so no wonder not much changed when the Velar was given a mid-life refresh in 2023.

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In terms of styling revisions, the Velar got a fresh grille design, a new LED headlight signature (on certain models) and a reprofiled rear bumper – and that’s pretty much it. It was the cabin that received the much more significant overhaul. 

The Velar’s original interior was already pretty minimalist, and featured a three-screen setup. But now the brand has decided to take a leaf out of Tesla’s book, and has removed every physical button and switch from the dashboard except for the gear selector and hazard-warning button. It’s a mix which has come at the expense of usability in a few instances, as the climate controls have moved from a separate screen with physical dials to the central screen.

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The large, blank panel that occupies the space where the climate controls used to be is available with a couple of different finishes, but our test car simply featured a piece of satin-finish plastic. The arrangement doesn’t look very high quality, which is a shame because otherwise the cabin feels well finished and sturdy.

The new chunky steering wheel is great to hold and features neat rotary controls and sturdy-feeling column stalks just behind, while the large 12.3-inch digital driver’s display certainly looks sharp, and it presents plenty of information that’s easy to read.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

New for 2023, the Velar gains the same version of JLR’s Pivi Pro infotainment system that features on the flagship Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models. The gently curved 11.4-inch display sits slightly proud of the dashboard, which makes it a little easier to reach on the move. 

It’s an impressive setup: the large screen is bright and the graphics are very sharp, the menus are logical and well laid out, and loading times and touch responses are quick. However, the change to the new display has removed the physical climate controls. Now, there are on-screen adjustments, and while they’re fairly easy to access via temperature shortcuts at the base of the screen, put simply, it’s just a more fiddly solution than what was there before, so ergonomics have taken a backward step.

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto both come as standard, along with the Online Pack that gives you access to Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant and Spotify music streaming.

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