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
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.
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
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.