Range Rover Velar: my time with Land Rover’s newest head-turner

The NEW Land Rover Range Rover Velar. I know, a mouthful – isn’t it? Welcome to my thoughts, my opinions and my honest review on Land Rover’s newest head-turning model in the range.

It goes without saying that Jaguar-Land Rover (JLR) and Land Rover specifically is a brand that is globally recognised. It’s a brand I instantly associate with quality, class and success – the Queen is often seen driving a Range Rover so surely if it’s good for Elizabeth – it’s good for us Jo Bloggs out there! With that being said, it’s a brand that I’d be proud to have on my driveway – that’s for sure. 

As an avid car-lover, I used to dream of the day I’d get to drive a Land Rover. I never, ever thought it would happen – like ever – so when I (little old me) was approached by my local Pentland Jaguar Land Rover Dealership with regards to the all-new Velar, I almost fainted ON THE SPOT.

I was asked if I’d like to take the all-new Land Rover Range Rover Velar out for a weekend – Fri to Sun, for the purposes of getting to know the car and putting together my thoughts on it. I said ‘HELL YEAH’ (of course) and got the spend my weekend exploring the beautiful city of Edinburgh, whilst absolutely living my best life in the Velar D240 R-Dynamic SE.

Anyway, enough of me blabbering on – let’s get to the good bit – why I fell madly in love with the Velar – the love child of the Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Sport.

Let’s start with that thought-provoking name – Velar. Land Rover is now known for it’s interesting model names – ever since the Evoque shocked and pioneered the glossy cross-over segment. Velar, after some digging, derives from historic Land Rover culture – the 60s to be exact. Long story short, Velar actually originates from the Latin ‘Velaris’ – which means to conceal – remain hidden – secret. It’s a name that was given to early pre-production Land Rovers back in the 60s, so the name has a pretty cool heritage. Google it if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

I’ll make it clear at this stage, that I have rated the Velar out of 5 stars – considering aspects including design, quality, practicality, cost and technology. Let’s break things down:

DESIGN – 5/5 

Arguably, the Velar is Land Rover’s prettiest creation to date. Land Rover (pre-Evoque) has been known for it’s large, capable off-road vehicles – and it’s no secret that some of the old ‘box’ style models like the Defender, Discovery, Freelander and original Range Rover were obviously created using the function over form approach (but I still loved them nonetheless). Nowadays, albeit still in-keeping with its roots, design of the Land Rover models have taken a softer, sleeker slant – introducing a more aerodynamic bodywork design with curved assets.

IMG_2904

As previously mentioned, you could look at the Velar as being the love child of the Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Sport – and to be fair, this is a fair representation of the Velar’s placement in the Land Rover line-up as it fits right in the middle of those two models. Design-wise, the Velar incorporates the low roof-line and edgy style of the Evoque with the larger body-shape and capable presence that the Sport evokes (see what I did there? I know, shameful).

IMG_2949

The frontage, in my opinion, is Land Rover’s best face of the brand – sporting the new structured design day-time LED running lights featuring the signature square which you will see on the likes of the new face-lifted Range Rover Sport and Range Rover. The large front grilles, paired with the smooth and simple-designed bumper creates a look that is impactful, futuristic and elegant. The bonnet on the Velar model I tested featured stunning copper details, which continued around the side of the body beneath the door mirrors – a really subtle but classy addition which adds a definitive feature to the Velar.

The side-profile and rear of the Velar are what truly differentiate this model from the rest of the range – swooping lines that follow from the front to the rear and a roof-line and body-shape that seems to defy historic Land Rover design culture, resembling an almost saloon or coupe-like design. The consideration to aerodynamics and sheer unique design is evident in the retractable flush door handles, which fold in upon locking the Velar to create a smooth side profile – spot the difference below:

The rear design compliments the overall body-shape, with the wrap-around rear lighting unit connecting to the rear badge – showing off Land Rovers move away from a square-like rears of the past. The 3D rear lights and sequential rear indicators also make it clear that Land Rover means business in terms of keeping up with the times. The Velar I had was finished in Silicon Silver which I actually didn’t like on first impressions but the colour grew on me – it resembles a dark metallic pewter, which was actually pretty likeable after my weekend with it. I’m a stereotypical youngster, who would want a top-spec black-on-black R-Dynamic HSE with all the trimmings. Oh, I might add that the Silicon Silver is a £1,450.00 optional extra (ouch!) – but you can get Fuji White or Narvik Black at zero charge on the D240 R-Dynamic SE.

The good looks don’t stop on the exterior of the vehicle, my goodness no. The second you glance at the interior, you realise that Land Rover has truly infused modern technology with stunning yet practical interior design. Luxury is a cliche word I would use to describe it – but very much modern in its own luxury. There is just something so seriously special about the cabin of the Velar – and I believe it all stems from the Velar’s road-positioning and how it sits in terms of road height. For me, as a MINI driver, it’s important to feel hunkered down and connected with the road. I assumed this would be impossible in such a big car, like the Velar – however the design of the cabin, the way the dashboard, centre console, seats and door cards all shape around both the driver and passenger with luxurious and edgy materials, help to create a sporty yet dominant cabin feel. It’s definitely a car that you won’t tire looking at in a hurry.

QUALITY – 5/5

FullSizeRender 9

Okay, so I’m not sure if y’all will relate with this, but you can tell the quality of a car by the ‘thud’ it makes when you close the door. A bit like when you can tell if a home interior door is rubbish, if it makes a cheap clatter or feels flimsy. Well, the Velar ranks high in door thudding for me – and I’ve driven BMWs, Mercedes, Volkswagen and Audi (blow my own trumpet, eh!). In all seriousness though, this represents build quality. Not only that, the sheer quality of the materials used both inside and outside the Velar have clearly been part of an agonising process of elimination to find the ultimate best. Everything from the feel of the indicator and wiper stalks, the climate controls to the steering wheel controls – all have a high-end feel and ooze modern technology.

FullSizeRender 21

I understand now why people pay the money for Land Rover products, and it’s not just for the street-cred, it’s most definitely for the quality of the product you get too. I guess it’s true: you get what you pay for. During my time in the motor industry, I got to drive some very nice cars – comfort-wise, I couldn’t see past the BMW X5 for it’s cabin and road comfort – but the Velar surpassed my expectations and now ranks as one of the most comfortable car cabins I’ve been in. The seats hug and support you, in all the right places. I liken it to driving a cloud, a soft and extremely fluffy cloud. It was marvellous.

On the subject of driving a cloud, the road-handling and quality of the ride on the Velar was exceptional. Bearing in mind – although this model sits under the RR Sport and has a coupe-like design – it’s still a pretty big beast. On first impressions, I thought it would handle like any large 4×4 would – like a big massive sponge – but I was mistaken. Okay, so the handling doesn’t quite compare to the likes of a sporty coupe like it’s exterior design suggests but it handles pretty good for being a sizeable beast. I put the Velar through it’s paces, driving it in the various different driving modes – on country routes, motorways and city streets. I must say, it feels at home pretty much anywhere.

IMG_3027

Thanks to the Velar’s Active Dynamics feature, ride quality is maintained at all times. The system monitors wheel position 500 times per second and body movement 100 times per second, to improve driving precision and minimise body role. The ride firms enough to feel confident on a country road and motorway at speed but adapts perfectly to cope with pesky potholes and pimples that the beautiful roads in the UK has to offer – all instantaneously.

Oh, I should also mention the seamless transition between driving modes – both on-road and off-road. The quality of the technology in the Velar is definitely in-keeping with it’s German rivals – around 65 years of perfecting technology means Land Rover’s Terrain Response in the Velar helps to ensure that it’s capable – no matter what type of road you’re on. You can choose between Comfort, Eco, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud & Ruts and Sand. Each mode adjusts the vehicle in terms of the vehicle’s engine, gearbox, centre differential and chassis systems – all to match the specific needs of the terrain. I got to use every mode bar Sand – and I can safely say the settings aren’t just there for show, they actually work.

IMG_2977

Bear in mind of course, the quality of the ride will depend completely on the wheels you choose. The model I drove had my least favourite wheels – the 20″ 7 Spoke ‘Style 7014’ wheels – which although not aesthetically pleasing (to me), were actually really comfortable and did wonders for the ride. You can go up to wheel-size as far as 22″ but I’ve read that by doing so, can lead to a compromised ride quality. For me, ride quality doesn’t matter (egotistic moron!) but I know this will be an important factor for many who look to buy this car.

PRACTICALITY – 5/5 

FullSizeRender 31

Debatable I know, but I don’t think anyone could say that any Land Rover is impractical. I’ve ranked the new Velar 5/5 with regards to practicality, as I sincerely believe it could probably fit any lifestyle.

For one, the interior space is fantastic. If you’re concerned about the sloping roof-line, fear not! The head-space is equally fantastic – and I had a friend who is over 6ft tall in the car, with plenty leg and head-space to spare behind me as the 5ft10 driver. The rear seating row itself is sizeable enough to accommodate three adults – tried and tested. I’m not sure how it would fair but I would hazard the guess that you would get at least two child seats in the Velar on the outer rear seats – with space for an adult/child in the middle.

There’s plenty storage in the Velar (in my opinion) including the large, deep centre console storage bin (disguised as an armrest) just behind the smart hidden cubby which holds two cupholders. You’ll find a nifty little storage space behind the climate control unit, which gives an almost floating shelf effect for the centre console. Door cards allow for adequate storage for the likes of small bottled water, books, magazines, sweetie wrappers, 60-day-old food that has been left to fester or anything else you would be likely to find in a well-used family wagon.

Boot-size is quoted at approximately 630 litres, which will mean nothing for many of you (I don’t understand measurement in litres) but in layman’s terms, you will easily fit in two to three large suitcases. Alternatively, you would most definitely fit a pram/buggy alongside shopping and the like. For golfers or DIYers, I don’t think you’ll struggle either – thanks to the 40/20/40 split of the rear seating meaning a quick fold of the seat allows for a flat loading bay for anything of a substantial size. For dog owners – or for anyone who loads their car with heavy items – it’s worth bearing in mind that the boot-lip height is pretty high due to the Velar’s futuristic looks. The Velar does have a fantastic feature however that lowers the height of the vehicle when the engine is switched off, to assist access and egress. That said though, the boot-lip may still be too high for some pooches – I’d suggest taking your four-legged-friend to the dealership and testing it out first if you’re likely to chauffeur your dog about often (Jaguar Land Rover and Pentland Land Rover specifically are super dog friendly!).

COST/RUNNING COSTS – 4/5

IMG_2756

In terms of costs and running costs, the Velar isn’t cheap. As I mentioned above, you get what you pay for and with the new Velar, you get a heck of a car for the money you pay. The D240 R-Dynamic SE model that I had for the weekend costs around £65-70K RRP BUT the model I had sported some impressive interior kit and a punchy 2.0 Ingenium 4-Cylinder 240hp Twin Turbocharged Diesel engine. You can drive away an entry-level model for around £46-47k – but expect to sacrifice some of the luxuriousness and edgy looks that the more expensive models possess by doing so. Head to the top of the range and expect to pay just shy of £90k (wowzers!). 

Running costs are something I can’t confidently comment on sadly, given that I only had the car for 2 full days. From the 240hp, 2.0 Automatic Diesel engine, I averaged around 27mpg – which falls short of the even the lowest predicted Urban Consumption figure of 39.2mpg. Bear in mind, I gave the car some welly to see what it could do and mainly in and around the city – so I was never going to achieve the predicted Combined figure of 48.7mpg never mind the Extra Urban consumption figure of 55.4mpg. That being said, if you are likely to do a lot of motorway driving or minimal stop-start driving, I believe you could expect a realistic MPG figure of around 40mpg – which for a car as big as the Velar, is pretty good going. You can either down-grade or up-grade the engine, with a range of 2.0 AND 3.0 Petrol & Diesel engines on offer.

Let’s be honest, if you have enough dolla’ to buy the Velar in the first place, you certainly are not going to be worried about running costs. Should this be of concern to you however, it’s worth noting that Servicing, Tyres and Road Fund License (Tax) are likely to be a pretty penny. The flashier the car, the flashier the costs. It’s worth it though. 

TECHNOLOGY – 4/5

IMG_2782

The new Land Rover Range Rover Velar is jam-packed with interesting and class-leading kit. For example, even the entry-level model benefits from features such as: Trailer Stability Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Terrain Response and Adaptive Dynamics, Hill Launch Assist, Hill Descent Control and a host of usual safety features including Cornering Brake Control, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Dynamic Stability Control and lots more. You also get the likes of Rain Sensing Wipers, Auto LED headlights, Rear Parking Aid, Bluetooth and DAB Entertainment, Cruise Control, Keyless Entry, Voice Control and much, much more as standard on all Velar models.

With the R-Dynamic model I had for the weekend, it benefited from having the standard equipment including the Premium LED Headlights with Signature DRL (BEST headlights I’ve witnessed), Powered Gesture Tailgate and other swanky features including the crystal-clear Rear View Camera and Navigation Pro system – all viewable from the almost cinema-like centre console screen, which moves upon start-up.

Considering the cock-pit, there’s a surreal amount of gadgetry that would keep a techy-geek busy for months. The speedo is all digitalised – with a fantastic start-up screen and sat-nav view, all of which changes depending on the driving mode you’re in. Then there’s the steering wheel and HD-like centre console that holds a number of touch-sensitive controls, all of a glossy nature – meaning finger-prints galore. If you can get past that however, you can truly appreciate that the controls and technology in the cock-pit are a visual and experience to behold.

I must admit, it took me a little bit of time to fathom the controls and tech inside the car. It’s not the most user-friendly sadly, in the first instance – which is why I’ve ranked Tech at 4/5. As a previous BMW Genius (yup, I actually used to have this job title) even I struggled to get to grips with the controls on the centre-console/in the navigation system. Due to time pressures, I could only get a quick run-through with the Velar – when you buy a vehicle like this, a hand-over process is likely to be long and intricate to cover everything you need to know. Like with any car however, once you drive it for a while – using the kit inside becomes second-nature.

The new Range Rover Velar is a force to be reckoned with. Style and edge sets the Velar apart from competitors and it will likely dominate the glossy SUV segment due to its’ sheer desirability. 

_______

PROS

  • Head-turning style
  • Oozes luxuriousness and class
  • Capable in any setting
  • Good cabin/boot space

CONS

  • Understanding of controls/infotainment system takes time
  • Cool, futuristic styling creates poor visibility around A, B & C pillars
  • MPG in real-life falls short compared to technical data
  • Expect to pay big bucks for top of the range

RIVALS

  • BMW X6
  • Mercedes GLE Coupe

_______

Would I buy?

YES. 

Would I recommend you test drive the Velar?

ABSOLUTELY. 

A massive thank you to Pentland Land Rover Edinburgh who allowed me to take this beautiful car for a weekend around the beautiful city of Edinburgh. All opinions above are my own and are no way endorsed by Pentland Land Rover EdinburghAs your average Jo Bloggs, I can safely say that I have had an amazing experience with their Fort Kinnaird dealership – the service, products and general experience is something really special. It’s now on my bucket-list to be back in that dealership to buy my very own Land Rover, one day.

Pentland Land Rover are based in Edinburgh East (Fort Kinnaird) and Edinburgh West (Newbridge) – both are state-of-the-art dealerships. Edinburgh East has just recently opened as a joint Jaguar-Land Rover dealership, just 5 minutes away from the Edinburgh City Bypass – which is where I picked up my Velar for the weekend.

Contact Pentland Land Rover East here: T 0131 334 9753. 5a Whitehill Rd, Newcraighall, Edinburgh EH15 3HR. 

Thank you for reading!

Here’s some more snaps of my weekend with the new Velar:

*All photos are my own

One thought on “Range Rover Velar: my time with Land Rover’s newest head-turner

  1. Wow you’re so lucky and what wonderful pictures you have taken I hope they put them to good use. Great read for car fanatics. X

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s