Land Rover Range Rover (simply called Range Rover) is the only manufacturer which makes profit purely by designing and building SUVs. Although most manufacturers have at least one SUV offering in their lineup these days, they were forced to do so by the ever-increasing SUV popularity. Land Rover doesn’t speak any language other than SUV. They’ve been designing some of the finest, most luxurious and off-road capable vehicles for well over 40 years. If you want a full-size luxury SUV, you buy the Range Rover. It’s as simple as that really.
In recent years however, trends started to shift. People began replacing small and mid-size sedans with SUV alternatives. To keep up with demand and take a big chunk of that market, Land Rover decided to follow suite. The first small SUV they ever did also turned out to be one of the most successful. The Range Rover Evoque quickly captured the hearts of millions of people around the world, and spurred on by that success, they’ve introduced the 2018 Range Rover Velar.
Essentially, the 2018 Velar fills the gap between the smaller Evoque and the full size Range Rover. As such, it’s bigger than the Evoque but smaller than its bigger sibling and the price is matched accordingly too. While it all sounds great on paper, it does raise the dilemma – is the Velar really worth the premium over the Evoque, or should you just pay a bit more and get the full size Range Rover?
The Range Rover DNA is immediately apparent in the 2018 Velar. This is a true-blooded Range Rover through and through. Most people expected a slightly bigger Evoque, but it turned out to be the complete opposite. The 2018 Velar looks more like a smaller Range Rover Sport than it does an Evoque. If you were to park it next to its other two siblings, it would have far more similarities with the larger Sport model.
The front fascia for instance, is remarkably similar. The headlights and the grille are gorgeous. The 2018 Range Rover Velar receives a new bumper with different air intakes to separate it from the larger Sport model. The overhang is short, so the departure and arrival angles are massive.
The side panels are incredibly smooth and the pictures really don’t do the Velar any justice because in real life, it’s breathtaking. The single line running down the side all the way to the taillights creates some separation between the tall body and the high waistline. The 2018 Velar may be the newest addition to the Range Rover family, but it’s one of the best looking.
The rear end is, again, closer to the Sport but still unique in its own right. The roofline doesn’t slope down as aggressively as it does in the Evoque, but the small spoiler at the top finishes off the entire look quite nicely. The standard 18-inch wheels are great, but the optional 22-inch really add an aggressiveness to the overall appearance.
Having been in the big Range Rover Sport before, we expected a scaled-down version in the 2018 Velar. We were wrong! While the layout and the controls are similar, everything has taken a sleek, minimalist, futuristic direction as far as design is concerned. The Velar’s interior is truly stunning!
The double stitched leather dash consists of sleek and narrow air vents, a wide, tilting touch screen display and another huge touch screen for the climate and driving controls. There’s also another digital display for the gauge cluster in front of the steering wheel. All these screens are fully customizable to allow each driver to personalize the interior of their Velar. Stepping into the cabin of the 2018 Velar is quite the awe inspiring experience.
Inside the 2018 Range Rover Velar, there’s plenty of space in all rows, with head and legroom to spare. It’s much bigger inside than it looks from the exterior. The firm yet supportive leather seats are double stitched and have a premium look and feel, while also comfortable for long drives. They also offer great lateral support if the mood happens to be some spirited driving. The premium seats also offer many variations of heating, cooling and massage. The seating position is expectedly high since it’s an SUV, but the option to raise and lower the suspension is as easy as a push of the button.
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE
With two options for engines, the entry level model 2018 Range Rover Velar S comes equipped with a 2.0L diesel outputting 180hp and 317ft-lb of torque and doing the 0-60mph sprint at 8.9 seconds. Upgrade to the 3.0L gas engine outputting 380hp and 332ft-lb of torque, and you can do the 0-60mph sprint in only 5.7 seconds. Now that’s an impressive acceleration for performance oriented sports cars, let alone a large SUV!
While most of the acceleration performance comes from the powerful engine, this power is honed perfectly by the 8 speed automatic transmission offering smooth and responsive gear changes between the closely spaced ratios. The base suspension includes coil-springs on all four corners, but the flagship Velar HSE features air suspension offering adjustable ground clearance of up to 251mm.
The Terrain Response 2 system is naturally present in all of its glory in the 2018 Velar. The driver can choose between different settings depending on the terrain, and the center-mounted transfer case does a brilliant job of distributing power between the front and rear axles.
Even with the Velar’s off road functionality and technology, it also does an incredible job of driving around the city. The only sound that makes its way into the cabin is the humming of the tires, and really depends more on the quality of the roads. Combine the quiet interior with the smooth ride of the air suspension and the slick shifting of the 8 speed automatic and you have a very comfortable SUV that’s more than capable both on and off road.
The 2018 Range Rover Velar is not just a slightly bigger Evoque – it’s much closer to the slightly bigger Range Rover Sport. However, unless you absolutely must have the larger Range Rover, the 2018 Velar will be able to do the same things as the Sport 99 percent of the time. As far as value for money goes, it has the Evoque and the big Range Rover trumped with a starting price of only $62,000. With so much performance both on and off road, a plethora features and technology and a one of a kind stunning interior, it will be hard to look at another SUV once you take a 2018 Velar for a drive!