In-depth reviews

Range Rover Velar SUV review

“The Range Rover Velar is one of the coolest SUVs money can buy, with eye-catching looks and cutting-edge in-car technology”

Carbuyer Rating

4.1 out of 5

Owners Rating

3.5 out of 5

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Pros

  • Sharp yet comfortable
  • Jaw-dropping interior
  • Stunning looks

Cons

  • Rear space is tight
  • Thirsty petrol engines
  • Nice ones are expensive

When Land Rover launched the stylish-looking Range Rover Velar in 2017 it caused quite a stir. The Velar is named after the 1970 prototype of the original Range Rover and sits between the Evoque and Sport in the Range Rover line-up.

There’s a wide range of variants of the Range Rover Velar, because it faces a raft of SUV rivals ranging from highly specced BMW X3 models to the entry-level Audi Q7. Even fashion-conscious models such as the BMW X4, Lexus RX, Mercedes GLE Coupe, Porsche Macan and Volvo XC90 struggle to compete with the futuristic-looking Velar for sheer glamour.

The door handles pop out with a touch of the keyfob, and once you swing open the door you’re welcomed into an interior that has most rivals beaten in terms of visual appeal. There’s a long, glossy-black centre console that turns into a technological showcase once the Velar is powered up. Two 10-inch touchscreens with high-definition graphics spark into life, and the top screen pivots up and down, returning to the angle you last had it set at.

The Velar comes as standard with four-wheel drive and is available with two petrol and two diesel engines, along with a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). The 201bhp 2.0-litre D200 diesel is the sweet spot of the range, as its 0-62mph time of 8.2 seconds is brisk, while its fuel economy of up to 44mpg (depending on wheel size and options) is reasonable. The 395bhp P400 petrol is undoubtedly quick, but it's much more expensive than the P250, which handles just as well. The PHEV is likely to be popular with company-car drivers, because it emits from just 50g/km of CO2, making it far cheaper to tax.

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Sitting right at the top of the range, the SVAutobiography version has a thunderous 542bhp supercharged V8, slashing the Velar's 0-62mph time to 4.5 seconds. This makes it a rival to the Porsche Cayenne Turbo but unlike the closely related Jaguar F-Pace SVR, the Velar still rides on air suspension. This gives it a more relaxed character and means it's still remarkably capable off road.

The Velar isn't a flawless package. Its shapeliness comes at the cost of versatility: its boot is big and well shaped, but room in the rear seats is tight, especially for a car of this size. And while those hi-tech controls on the centre console look great, we find them distracting on the move. Then there’s the price. Yes, the Velar starts at a relatively attractive £46,565, but it’s easy enough to spend £70,000 or even £80,000 on one; that’s a lot of money, however stylish it may be.

Range Rover offers the Velar in a number of trims and we advise side-stepping the (unnamed) entry-level model in favour of at least S or SE trim, as these bring leather seats and sat nav. Pair S with the D200 diesel engine and you’ll keep the Velar’s price below £53,000, which seems something of a tipping point in terms of value-for-money.

Safety shouldn't be a concern, thanks to a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP, with a reassuring 93% score for adult occupant protection. Reliability has always been a bit of a sticking point for Land Rover and a 22nd-place finish out of the 29 brands featured in our 2021 Driver Power Survey is a potential worry.

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