The Range Rover Velar bridges the gap between the smaller Evoque and larger Range Rover Sport. It’s practical and comes with lots of high-tech kit but is also pricey
The Range Rover Velar is a stylish SUV that comes with a futuristic cabin and a very practical boot.
It looks more eye-catching than the likes of the BMW X3 or Audi Q5 and it’s almost as elegant as the Mercedes GLC inside. Even entry-level cars come with a dual-screen infotainment system while range-topping HSEs get an additional digital driver’s display in place of normal speedo and rev-counter dials – just like the Audi Q5’s Virtual Cockpit.
Unfortunately, the Range Rover Velar’s controls aren’t as intuitive as the Audi’s and it doesn’t feel quite as well built – and you don’t even get satellite navigation as standard in entry-level cars, even though they cost £45,000!
Fork out for an SE car or above and you’ll be treated to 18-way adjustable seats to help you get comfy. There’s absolutely loads of headroom in the front and space in the back is okay, too, although a Mercedes GLC has more spacious rear seats that are better for carrying three abreast than the Range Rover Velar. Small rear windows mean the Velar can feel a little dark in the back too.
Thankfully, fitting a child seat using the clearly marked Isofix anchor points is dead easy but you’ll have to be careful not to lose their removable plastic covers.
The Velar’s 558-litre boot can easily cope with a week away with the family. There are plenty of handy hooks and tether points for securing smaller items, and you can
Flip the back seats down in a three-way (40:20:40) split so you can carry as many as three passengers and some long luggage at once. Fold all three seats down using the handy levers in the boot and you’ll open up a 1,731-litre load bay that will easily hold a bicycle with both wheels attached.
The Velar name dates back to the very first Range Rover prototypes, but this is a thoroughly modern car with stunning looks and tonnes of high-tech features
You can get the Range Rover Velar with three petrol and three diesel engines. Pick one of the smaller petrols if you do lots of town driving – they’re quieter than the small diesels and will return around 30mpg in real-world conditions. If you spend more time on the motorway you’ll want to consider the big diesel. It’s easily quick enough to keep up with fast-moving traffic and returns around 32mpg compared to its claimed 44.1mpg.
It’s worth picking one of the 3.0-litre petrol or diesel engines if you want your Velar to be as comfy as possible, because both come with air suspension as standard. It really helps soften jarring bumps in the road, but you’ll still hear a lot of wind noise from the Velar’s huge door mirrors, which also create blind spots.
Despite that, the Range Rover Velar should be a safe place for you and your family – okay, Euro NCAP hasn’t crash-tested the Velar yet, but all models come with automatic emergency braking that’ll brake the car for you if it senses an obstacle ahead, so it should score highly. That sort of standard-fit technology is a big part of the Velar’s appeal, and it’s well worth a look if you want a premium SUV that comes with plenty of high tech gadgets, even though it does slightly favour style over outright rear-seat room.