Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: April 3, 2022
The Range Rover Velar is a fashion statement. It’s not the most practical SUV out there, nor is it the most ergonomic or the most comfortable. Instead, it’s here to make its mark on the world and let everyone know you have arrived in style. As such, Land Rover’s designers have managed to create one of the best looking mid-size SUVs on the market, but what lies beneath the surface? Is there a proper foundation uplifting its beautiful brows and chiseled face?
The good news is that the Velar is a properly tuned and well-packaged SUV. It’s spacious where it counts, refined where it’s needed, and luxurious in all areas. And it has aged incredibly well since we first tested it back in 2018. The black contrasting roof and optional blacked out exterior trim elements help to shrink its visual footprint and make it appear lower, sleeker, and sportier, as do the retractable door handles that remain flush with the body, and only pop out when unlocked.
The same goes for the chic and upscale interior. The cabin is beautifully arranged with intricate details like the Union Jack design on the pores of the leather seats, the subtle wood accents on the door panels, the flat window sills that let you comfortably rest your arm, and the largest door handles we have ever seen on a road car. The steering wheel is coated in the softest leather, glossy panels hide the tactile buttons, and even the arrow-shaped metallic paddle shifters exude the highest quality, and offer more engaging feedback than those in six-figure sports cars like the BMW M5 and Audi RS 6. Oddly enough, the leather on the door panel and armrest is slightly grainier and coarser than the hides used in the Evoque.
If you found the Evoque too cramped then the Velar will feel much more open and spacious. There is ample room in the rear seats for six-foot adults, and the expansive sunroof lets in enough light to keep claustrophobia at bay. The 20-way adjustable seats come with an optional massaging feature with five modes and five strengths, and are actually decent. They knurl and knead with a considerable amount of strength, and while it won’t ever replace an OSIM chair, it’s enough to have you reaching for the massage button every time you enter the vehicle.
Calling it the Evoque’s bigger brother would be a bit of a disservice to the Velar, reason being the Velar feels ten times smoother and more refined on the road, at least with the P400 powertrain we had on test. It’s not nearly as jittery when disengaging the brake hold, and power delivery is much more linear and free from vibrations. The P400 is equipped with a 3.0-litre turbocharged inline-six mated with a mild hybrid system, producing 395 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque, enough for a 0-100 km/h time of 5.5 seconds. While it’s not nearly as polished as an inline-six from the BMW or Mercedes camp, power is good with an abundance of low-end grunt, making the Velar feel lively and athletic under acceleration.
But it’s the ride comfort that stands out. Loaded with an electronic air suspension, the Velar absorbs bumps and potholes better than the Porsche Cayenne and Jaguar F-Pace, and never loses composure when the terrain is anything but smooth. The ride stands out even more at highway speeds where it demonstrates excellent on-road stability, hardly wavering as the triple digits climb and into the harsh turbulence of large lorries. Body roll is equally minimal and the steering is fluid enough to actually feel engaging.
Better yet, because of its mild hybrid assist our Velar P400 yielded similar fuel consumption numbers to the four-cylinder Evoque P250 we just tested last week. Over the highway we managed 9.8 L/100km, while a mix with city driving averaged it out to 12.1 L/100km. That’s better than the 12.2 L/100km we managed in the smaller, less powerful Evoque.
The Velar proves that it’s not just another pretty face. There’s proper substance underneath. But it’s far from a value offering, starting at $64,600 for the base model, while our heavily optioned R-Dynamic HSE P400 rang the bell at $91,100. For that money, you could easily entertain performance SUVs like the Jaguar F-Pace SVR and Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, or even a fully decked out Defender 110. But for those that seek a chic, upscale SUV spoiled by every luxury amenity in the book, then the Velar and its gorgeous sheetmetal will ensure you never go unnoticed.
Model: 2022 Range Rover Velar P400 R-Dynamic HSE
Paint Type: Eiger Grey
Base Price: $85,700
Price as Tested: $91,100
Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,797 / 2,041 / 1,683
Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged inline-six with mild-hybrid
Horsepower: 395 hp @ 5,500 - 6,500 rpm
Torque: 405 lb-ft @ 2,000 - 5,000 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 12.1
Wheels: 21" Style 5109, Diamond Turned with Satin Dark Grey contrast