2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar

2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar Review

The most dramatic-looking Range Rover yet might be the most appealing.
7.4 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Carlos Lago
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The Range Rover name is a special thing for Land Rover, such that there hasn't been a new variant since the subcompact Evoque was introduced in 2012. So there's some significance to the arrival of the 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar. It's a relatively affordable Land Rover SUV — at least compared to the regular Range Rover — that also happens to be the most attractive model in the lineup.

Much as how it's positioned between the subcompact Evoque and midsize Sport, the Velar's size sits somewhere between traditional compact and midsize premium SUVs. Its design also departs from tradition, making the most dramatic visual update to the brand's iconic look both inside and out.

Though it looks and drives differently, the Velar is based on the Jaguar F-Pace, sharing its drivetrain options and underlying structure. It is available with one of three engines: two turbocharged inline four-cylinders (one gas and one diesel) or a supercharged 3.0-liter V6.

Also differentiating the Velar is its available off-road equipment, which ranges from height-adjusting air springs, a mechanical locking rear differential, and a low-speed cruise control. Serious off-road enthusiasts should still look elsewhere — the Velar is suited more for boulevards than boulders — but it has enough off-road capability to make you feel as if you can, even if you never will.

Overall, the 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar is an interesting model to consider if you're shopping for a luxury crossover SUV. It's larger and more expensive than SUVs such as the BMW X4 and the Porsche Macan but smaller and less utilitarian than the midsize models (think BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE) its price can bump against. It's arguably the most stylish of the bunch, though. If you find the Land Rover brand appealing, the new Velar should be a great choice.



What's new for 2018

The 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar is a new vehicle.

We recommend

With so many varieties, choosing the right Land Rover Range Rover Velar can be daunting. If you prioritize style, the visual upgrades that come with the R-Dynamic could be worth the money. But most shoppers should start with the S. This trim level has access to all three engine options and includes the features you'll most expect from a luxury SUV. The S also has optional packages that get you the extra standard features from the higher trim levels, so you can choose the options you want without having to pay for something you'll never use.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar is available in five different trim levels, each with a greater number of standard features throughout. The undesignated base trim Velar is only available with one engine choice, but it has dual-zone climate control and adaptive suspension dampers. The S offers two optional engine choices along with more comfort and utility features. The R-Dynamic SE and the R-Dynamic HSE don more stylish bodywork and bigger wheels. Lastly, the First Edition is essentially an HSE with most of the Velar's options as standard equipment.

The base Velar starts with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (247 horsepower, 269 pound-feet of torque) that's connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Standard feature highlights include adaptive suspension dampers, 18-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, automatic wipers and LED headlights. Inside you'll find dual-zone climate control, faux leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, a 40/20/40-split rear seat, two 10-inch infotainment touchscreens, two USB ports and an eight-speaker sound system.

Standard driver assistance systems include a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, hill start assist, automatic emergency braking, and driver-adjustable drive settings for different surfaces including mud, sand and rocks.

The S adds two engine choices to the mix — a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 (380 hp, 332 lb-ft of torque) or a turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel-powered four-cylinder (180 hp, 317 lb-ft of torque). The S also includes 19-inch five-spoke wheels, a power tailgate with hands-free opening, auto-dimming side mirrors, leather upholstery, power-reclining rear seats, an 11-speaker Meridian sound system navigation, and Jaguar InControl smartphone app integration.

Along with 20-inch wheels, the R-Dynamic SE receives more aggressive-looking bodywork and special exterior trim. The interior features perforated leather with microfiber-suede seat material along with trim-specific finishes. Entertainment upgrades consist of a full-digital gauge cluster and a 17-speaker Meridian sound system. Driver assistance additions include blind-spot monitoring, a driver attention monitor, traffic sign recognition, and front and rear parking sensors.

The R-Dynamic HSE looks similar to the SE, but it rides on 21-inch wheels. The interior gains extended leather trimming and upgraded front seats (with massage, heating and ventilation functions). Adaptive cruise and lane keeping assist are standard as well.

Think of the First Edition as an HSE with most of the options as standard equipment. It is only available with the supercharged 3.0-liter V6, and it includes some mechanical upgrades (air springs, a rear locking differential and larger front brakes) plus a low-speed cruise control intended for off-roading. Other standard features include 22-inch wheels, a black roof, a heated windshield, upgraded interior trim, a heated steering wheel, configurable ambient interior lighting, a head-up display, a surround-view camera system, two extra USB ports for the second row, and a 23-speaker sound system.

Most of the extra standard features of the higher trim levels are offered as options on the lower trims.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic HSE (turbodiesel 2.0L inline-4 | 8-speed automatic | AWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.4 / 10

Driving

7.0 / 10

Acceleration7.5 / 10
Braking8.0 / 10
Steering7.0 / 10
Handling7.0 / 10
Drivability6.5 / 10

Comfort

7.0 / 10

Seat comfort8.5 / 10
Ride comfort5.5 / 10
Noise & vibration6.5 / 10
Climate control7.5 / 10

Interior

7.0 / 10

Ease of use5.0 / 10
Getting in/getting out7.0 / 10
Driving position8.5 / 10
Roominess7.5 / 10
Visibility7.5 / 10
Quality8.0 / 10

Utility

8.0 / 10

Small-item storage7.5 / 10
Cargo space8.5 / 10

Technology

7.5 / 10

Audio & navigation8.5 / 10
Smartphone integration7.0 / 10
Driver aids7.0 / 10
Voice control6.0 / 10

Driving7.0

Its relatively svelte and aerodynamic body lines suggest speed, but this diesel-powered Velar's best performance attribute is its brakes. Despite good thrust from a stop, the powertrain lacks responsiveness and feels anemic at speed. Meanwhile, its quick steering and soft suspension don't mesh well.

Acceleration7.5

Low-end thrust from the diesel engine is strong and makes the Velar feel quicker than its 9.6-second trot to 60 mph suggests. It's great around town, but accelerating from higher speeds reveals its power deficit. You can work around it if you know what to expect.

Braking8.0

The Velar has reassuring, light-effort brakes that are easy to operate smoothly. They also deliver stable, consistent stopping power in an emergency braking situation. The ABS acts quickly and quietly. In our testing, the SUV slowed from 60 mph in 122 feet.

Steering7.0

The steering is overly sensitive right off-center, given the amount of body roll the Velar returns. It's akin to moving your head quickly without sufficient neck muscle support. It has a good on-center feel but doesn't convey much of the texture of the road beneath the tires.

Handling7.0

The Velar has some sporting pretensions, but the experience isn't cohesive even for a diesel-powered SUV. Yet it's not the hard-wearing tires that are holding it back. Rather, the soft suspension can't keep up with the path corrections provided by its all-wheel-drive and braking systems.

Drivability6.5

This SUV requires planning ahead. Initial acceleration is good, but big accelerator inputs while at speed elicit a leisurely response from the powertrain. The transmission is much more attentive when commanding shifts via the paddles. The idle-stop system can be a bother in traffic.

Off-road

The absence of low-range gearing combined with the somewhat tight approach, departure and breakover angles — not to mention the huge wheels and short tire sidewalls — limit the Velar's abilities somewhat. Yet, you can order special off-road features such as a rear locking differential.

Comfort7.0

The Velar's wonderfully comfortable seats make its stiff ride more tolerable. Adjusting the tire pressures can help, but it's only recommended under specific Light load situations. Diesel clatter is mostly absent, but other noises permeate the cabin.

Seat comfort8.5

The front seats have great support all around. The cushions are firm but comfortable, with decent power cooling and heating. The massage function is more of a gimmick than a real benefit. The back seats have an independent power reclining function across the 60/40-split. All armrests have excellent padding.

Ride comfort5.5

With the recommended Normal load tire pressure settings, the Velar rides harshly over less-than-smooth surfaces. The ride drastically improves when set to the lower Light load pressures (for up to three people). It isn't plush, but it is far more livable especially when equipped with 20-inch wheels.

Noise & vibration6.5

For a luxury SUV, there's more wind noise than we anticipated, plus a noticeable amount of low-frequency boominess when rolling over sharp bumps. Tire noise is otherwise pretty minimal, and the usual diesel engine clatter has been effectively muted.

Climate control7.5

The touchscreen complicates the climate controls by prioritizing sleek minimalism over straightforward convenience. Our tester's four-zone climate control maintained comfortable cabin temps, aided by decently powerful temperature controlled seats.

Interior7.0

The Velar's stunningly sharp and attractive dual touchscreen interface is unfortunately slow to respond and a hassle to use. Rear-seat legroom is lacking, but there is otherwise a decent amount of cabin space. Highly adjustable 20-way front seats are the highlight.

Ease of use5.0

Dual touchscreens and touch-sensitive steering wheel controls look fantastic but are slow to respond, unnecessarily complicating all tasks. The latter are especially unresponsive, which makes accessing the driver-specific functions a nuisance and a distraction. This system is difficult to live with.

Getting in/getting out7.0

The step-in height is a little elevated to improve ground clearance. And the roof is a bit low due to the Velar's sleek profile, creating a minor inconvenience when exiting or entering the cabin. Otherwise, the seats are at an optimal height, making it easy to slip into the cabin.

Driving position8.5

There's excellent variability in the 20-way adjustable seats. You can sit low and feel more ensconced or higher up for a commanding view of the road. The adjustment range for the steering wheel's tilt and reach is decent, and you get a sizable dead pedal for resting your left foot.

Roominess7.5

The wide center console eats into the front occupants' space, but otherwise there's a fair amount of room. Rear legroom could be better. An average-size person will fit, but hard front seatbacks leave little wiggle room. The seats offer good toe room and decent seat width and headroom.

Visibility7.5

There's adequate visibility straight back, nicely sized sideview mirrors and rear cabin windows that help in the usual blind spots. The front pillars are somewhat wide, and the mirrors mildly obstruct forward visibility through turns. Some might be bothered by the heated windshield squigglies.

Quality8.0

The interior build quality is top-notch. Soft, high-quality leather abounds. The high-resolution dual touchscreens are especially handsome and high-tech. Were it not for their sluggish responses and some too-wide exterior panel gaps, the Velar could've set a new standard in its class.

Utility8.0

The Velar benefits from ample rear cargo space with flexible options for keeping cargo buttoned-down. The rear seats fold flat and have multiple release latches, which is a nice convenience. There's a variety of useful small-item storage, though most spots are modestly sized.

Small-item storage7.5

Three cupholders sit up front with decent-size rubberized door pockets. A small space behind the lower touchscreen, a shallow center armrest bin and a relatively modest glovebox can conceal small items. The rear door pockets are smaller, and the center armrest has cupholders with an anti-tip design.

Cargo space8.5

There's a fairly good amount of rear cargo space at 34.4 cubic feet, which is somewhere between a compact and a midsize SUV. Nice features for the cargo area include robust sliding tie-down points and convenient hooks that can flip down to hold bags. The 60/40-split rear seats fold nearly flat.

Child safety seat accommodation7.5

Isofix anchors are easily accessible beneath plastic covers as are the exposed rear tether points. The available legroom in back will probably be the limiting factor for fitting rear-facing car seats.

Technology7.5

The Velar's dual touchscreens are among the sharpest-looking on the market. And its maps are enhanced with satellite imagery and live traffic via Land Rover Pro Services. Its smartphone interface isn't bad but lags behind the industry standard, and its driver aids are hit or miss.

Audio & navigation8.5

Our tester's premium Meridian system has good sound quality and significant bass supplied by a factory subwoofer. The nav system has modern 3D-satellite imagery, live traffic and pinch-to-zoom functions. We successfully located various destinations, including the Edmunds office, without issue.

Smartphone integration7.0

Bluetooth pairing isn't the quickest, but you can do it on the move. The media interface is pretty basic and not as good as Apple CarPlay or Android Auto since it doesn't allow you to access certain things easily, such as audiobooks. Phones can stay charged up thanks to two USBs, a 12-volt and HDMI plug up front, and a 12-volt for the rear.

Driver aids7.0

Driver aids are hit or miss. Forward collision is a bit sensitive; adaptive cruise brings you to a stop but can only be set above a certain speed. The parking aid is dormant until Reverse is selected — the parking sonar must be manually activated if nosing in.

Voice control6.0

The Velar's voice controls are pretty basic and limited to making phone calls, tuning the radio or accessing your media library. Surprisingly, there are no voice commands for the navigation system. Like the rest of the system, the voice commands are pretty slow to react.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.