Range Rover Velar – First Drive

Today I had the opportunity to test drive the new Range Rover Velar SUV from Land Rover. For this first drive I was given a R-Dynamic HSE D300 with its 300bhp, 700nm V6 Diesel. In Firenze Red with black pack and black windsor leather interior.

Range Rover Velar Interior view Light Oyster

First Impressions

Behind the wheel you feel cocooned with the high window line and wide centre console. Its not as tall as other Range Rovers, more like an Evoque so you basically slide into it rather climbing up into it. The air suspension as fitted to this car has the ability to lower the suspension by 40mm to allow easier entry.

Inside the Velar seems very well screwed together, tactile plastics and an air of quality. A little dark on this model with its black leather, black headlining and dash. Lifted slightly by the full length sliding panoramic roof which is an option on all models.

The infotainment system is the best I have seen in a car in this class. Super sharp HD touchscreens are everywhere and make the Velar feel very high tech indeed. I looked at it in more detail here in this earlier review – https://www.velarownersclub.com/news/incontrol-touch-pro-duo/

The driving position is great with all the major controls exactly where they should be with no awkward offsets. The only slight criticism is the location of the stop start button. Its set at an angle and is tucked behind the steering wheel. This leads to a bit of head bobbing around the steering wheel to try and find where it is. I’m sure after a few goes the hand will find it naturally however.

Anyway one you’ve found it, push the start stop button and the well proven 3.0 litre V6 Diesel smoothly comes to life. From the centre console the rotary gear selector slowly reveals itself and the plethora of HD screens come to life.

Range Rover Velar Firenze Red
On the Road

On the move this Velar with its V6 Diesel and 8 speed automatic transmission go about their business in a smooth muted way. This is every bit the Range Rover and rides more smoothly and more quietly than its sibling the F-Pace. The air suspension fitted to this model rides very smoothly on the the UK’s potholed roads. Swing a bit on the steering wheel and their is just a hint of wallowing as a downside of that smooth cosseting ride.

Stab the throttle and the transmission drops a few cogs and the 700nm of torque of the V6 Diesel propels the lightweight aluminium Velar down the road  with a very satisfying surge.  It’s hot hatch quick but it doesn’t feel like a hot hatch. It feels like a ultra refined rocket ship. Its a good job this car had the optional pin sharp head up display fitted, otherwise illegal speeds would have been reached before I had a chance to check the speedo.

The V6 Diesel is well suited to the Range Rover Velar and in my opinion is the best choice. I appreciate the need for lighter weight 4 cylinder engines for the benefit of the environment and and in turn the tax treatment. The smooth 6 cylinder engine just suits this luxury 4×4 better. Reserving judgement slightly until I’ve tried the 4 cylinder petrol Ingenium engine.

Stick it in to a bend and the Velar grips very well and the steering is direct and well weighted.

In traffic the Velar makes smooth progress with none of the lumpiness that affects some fast changing automatic gearboxes. The only criticism is that the stop start system can occasionally catch the gearbox off guard,  leading to a light but perceptible jolt when the engine restarts.

Conclusion

The Range Rover Velar drives every bit as well as it looks. At this stage the quality of the interior is spot on with not a creak or groan evident on the UK’s pot holed roads. Although with the test vehicle having just 120 miles this cannot be fully tested. The V6 Diesel and 8 Speed automatic are smooth, well matched, hugely powerful and suit the car well.

The new Range Rover Velar will be an out and out sales hit.