Land Rover Range Rover Velar Review
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
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
- Looks fantastic
- Spacious boot
- Lots of advanced tech
What's not so good
- Alternatives have roomier back seats
- Desirable features cost extra
Land Rover Range Rover Velar: what would you like to read next?
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.
The Velar’s interior looks high-tech and luxurious, but only if you avoid entry levels models. The car’s infotainment systems look cool, but they’re not very intuitive to use
The Range Rover Velar has loads of room up front, there’s space in the back for three adults – even if alternatives have more rear seat footroom – and the boot is easy to load and huge
The Velar has a mix of style and practicality that few cars can match
There’s absolutely loads of space in the front seats and the Range Rover Velar’s height makes climbing in a breeze. Entry-level cars come with eight-way adjustable heated front seats to help you get comfortable while S models get improved 10-way adjustment and a memory function – handy if you regularly lend your car to someone else.
Unfortunately, lumbar support to help reduce backache on long journeys is only standard on high-spec Range Rover Velar HSE . You can get it on cheaper S and SE cars as part of the £2,630 20-way adjustable seat pack but the same pack will set you back an eye-watering £3,765 on entry-level Velars.
Thankfully, there’s a fair amount of space in the back. The Velar’s large doors make climbing in dead easy and there’s plenty of head and knee room for your six-foot-tall friends. The only frustrating features are the protruding front seat mounts that cut into space for your passengers’ feet.
The Velar’s wide cabin means there’s plenty of shoulder space for carrying three adults abreast but the slightly raised central seat and large lump in the floor means your middle passenger won’t be quite as comfy as in a Mercedes GLC. The Velar’s small rear windows can make its interior feel quite dark and dingy, too.
Fitting a child seat’s dead easy thanks to the wide-opening doors, raised seat bases and clearly marked Isofix anchor points – there’s even space to fit a bulky rear-facing seat. You’ll just have to be careful not to lose the removable Isofix covers, however – best put them somewhere safe along with that remote control…
The Range Rover Velar’s front door bins are large enough to hold a 1.5-litre bottle and its glovebox is reasonably roomy, too. There’s a shallow storage area under the folding front armrest for a few phones and two USB ports for keeping them charged.
You get two large cupholders in the front (one behind the gear lever and a second under a glossy plastic lid) but there’s also a square slot just ahead of the front armrest that’s perfect for holding a large drink carton.
The rear door bins are almost as spacious as those in the front and your passengers get a set of aeroplane-style folding seat pockets too. All models come with a folding rear armrest, a pair of cupholders and a couple of USB ports and if you pay extra for the rear infotainment screens you’ll also get two HDMI video inputs tucked behind the armrest.
You’ll be able to cram 558 litres of luggage in the Range Rover Velar boot with all five seats in place – that’s more than the 550-litre Mercedes GLC, 550-litre Audi Q5 and 500-litre Porsche Macan. It’s easily big enough to carry two sets of golf clubs and there’s no annoying boot lip to worry about.
Its square shape makes it easy to pack full of large boxes but its raised ride height and tall boot opening mean you might struggle to lift very heavy luggage on board. Thankfully, all models with a 3.0-litre engine come with air suspension as standard that you can lower using a switch in the boot to make loading easier.
You get a few heavy-duty shopping hooks and tether points to secure smaller items and a 12V socket to keep any boot-bound gizmos charged as you drive along but the spare wheel takes up almost all the available underfloor storage.
Need to carry even more stuff? The back seats fold down in a three-way (40:20:40) split so you can carry as many as three passengers and some long luggage at once. The outer two seats fold using levers in the boot but you’ll have to lean forwards to push the central seat down yourself.
With all three back seats out of the way, you’ll be able to pack the Range Rover Velar with 1,731 litres of luggage. It’s larger than the 1,600-litre boots in the BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC and easily big enough to carry a bike without removing its wheels.
The Velar might look sportier than a normal Range Rover but you get the same raised driving position and it’s just as awkward to manoeuvre around town
The Velar’s relatively comfortable on the move but the optional air suspension is a must-have feature – it helps soften out the worst potholes a British road can throw at it
Every Range Rover Velar come with four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard and you can choose from a range of three petrol and three diesel engines.
Pick one of the four-cylinder petrol models if you spend most time driving around town. These P250 and P300 versions are slightly smoother and a touch quieter than the diesels and will return approximately 30mpg in real-world conditions (compared to Land Rover’s claimed 37.2mpg and 36.2mpg respectively).
If you do lots of motorway miles you’ll want to consider one of the diesel models. The four-cylinder D180 and D240 cars are the most frugal (they’ll return around 40mpg in normal driving conditions) but the smoother V6 D300 will make lighter work of long journeys and returns a fair 32mpg.
This top-spec diesel is smooth, quiet and works well with the standard eight-speed gearbox to make cruising along in the Range Rover Velar as relaxing as possible. It’s faster than the four-cylinder diesel cars too – accelerating from 0-62mph takes just 6.5 seconds.
There’s a speedy P380 V6 petrol model available if you fancy hot-hatch acceleration in your stately SUV but it’s only available in top-spec HSE models and will struggle to return 25mpg.
The standard eight-speed automatic gearbox slushes gears together nicely when you’re pottering around town. It’s reasonably responsive when you put your foot down, too – if not quite as quick-witted as the X3’s eight-speed auto.
The Range Rover Velar has a similar raised seating position to the Range Rover Sport but its less steeply slanted windscreen makes it feel slightly sportier inside. Unfortunately, the thick pillars (where the front doors meet the windscreen) and small rear windows can make it tricky to thread through tight city streets or squeeze into narrow parking spaces.
Thankfully, all models come with rear parking sensors as standard and you get a 360-degree surround view camera system on SE and HSE cars to help you avoid scuffed bumpers and kerbed alloy wheels.
The standard suspension in the Range Rover Velar does a fair job of softening bumps in the road but both petrol and diesel V6 models come with more comfortable air suspension system. It’s a £1,140 option on four-cylinder models but it’s well worth paying for and helps make the Velar just as relaxing to drive as the Mercedes GLC and Audi Q5.
The air suspension also helps stop the Range Rover Velar leaning too much in tight corners and keeps it stable at motorway speeds. Tyre noise is mostly muted too – even with the largest 21-inch alloy wheels fitted – but its huge wing mirrors produce a lot of wind noise at speed.
V6 models also get special selectable driving modes that can raise the car’s ride height to help it cope with a spot of occasional off roading. It won’t feel quite as at home in the mud as a Land Rover Discovery but you do get a special low-speed cruise control system to help you carefully traipse down muddy tracks.
The Range Rover Velar hasn’t been crash-tested by Euro NCAP yet but the automatic emergency braking system you get as standard on HSE cars (that’ll stop the car for you if it senses an obstacle ahead) should help make it one of the safest SUVs on sale. All models come with adaptive cruise control as standard (that’ll follow other cars at a safe distance then return to a preset speed when the road’s clear) that’s ideal if your commute takes in some busy motorway driving.
You also get lane-departure warning as standard on every Range Rover Velar and there’s an optional Drive pack with traffic sign recognition, blindspot monitoring and driver tiredness detection available for £615 – well worth considering if you’re a high-mileage driver.