2018 Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic HSE

The Velar is a new mid-size SUV in the Range Rover line-up, fitting between the entry-level Evoque and the Range Rover Sport. It’s stylish and fully loaded with a high price tag to match. While you can traverse a stream or cross desert sands in a Range Rover, most of the time they’re driven in well-heeled suburbs.


The five-passenger Velar is all-new for 2018, although it was actually introduced in early 2017. It’s available in Velar, Velar S, Velar SE, Velar R-Dynamic SE, Velar R-Dynamic HSE, and Velar First Edition. Starting prices range from $49,900 to $89,300. All-wheel-drive is standard on all trims.


It’s got handsome looks with its modern, angular profile. The R-Dynamic HSE gets more aggressive styling. It’s a head-turner and stands out from the gazillion other crossovers and SUVs on the roads today.


Three engines are available in the Velar. The base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 247 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. A supercharged 3.0-liter V6 generates 380 hp and 332 lb.-ft. My tester has the 2.0-liter turbodiesel that makes 180 hp and 317 lb. ft. All engines are paired with a smooth-as-glass eight-speed transmission.


The Velar handles like a luxury vehicle. It’s all about comfort and serenity and less about sporty performance. It’s nimble in a well-mannered way. The ride is exceptionally smooth, but the Velar is also ready to respond when you need power. You can choose the drive mode of Comfort, Eco or Dynamic to fit your mood. You can also choose from various Terrain settings: Grass-Gravel-Snow, Mud-Ruts and Sand. The Adaptive Dynamics suspension system and torque vectoring add stability when cornering. Visibility is good all the way around.


Fuel efficiency is better than many competitors. EPA ratings for my tester with the diesel engine are 26 mpg city and 30 mpg highway with a combined rating of 28 mpg. I got 28 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving. The gas-powered four-cylinder Velar gets 21 mpg city/27 mpg highway/23 combined, while the V6 is rated at 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway/20 mpg combined.


The opulent interior is beautiful with attention to every little detail. Not a stitch is out of place. The cabin is spacious with plenty of room for passengers in both rows of seating. As you’d expect, seats are comfortable and supportive.


The centerpiece is Land Rover’s latest infotainment system, the Touch Pro Duo, which is only available in the Velar for now. It has two 10-inch touchscreens. The top screen controls navigation and audio, while the lower screen has climate, heated/cooled/massaging seating and terrain response settings. There are three knobs that let you adjust what you see on the lower screen, as well as touch sensitive controls on both sides of the steering wheel that you can operate with your thumbs. The system takes some getting used to, but in a short time becomes second nature.


There’s a ton of standard features, in addition to the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, including push-button start, proximity key, rearview camera, dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, panoramic sunroof, eight-speakers, two USB ports, Bluetooth, smartphone integration via InControl Apps, and several driver assistance technologies including autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and rear parking sensors.


Options include navigation, a Wi-Fi hot spot that can connect up to eight devices, 11-speaker Meridian sound system, 17-speaker Meridian surround-sound system, an activity key (a wristband, similar to a FitBit, that acts as a key and lets you lock and unlock the vehicle so you don’t have to carry the real key), and two USB ports in the back seat.


Lots of features and driver assistance technologies are available including automatic high beams, head-up display, traffic sign recognition with adaptive speed limiter, 360-degree camera system, adaptive cruise control with stop-start functionality and intelligent emergency braking, driver drowsiness monitoring, rear cross traffic monitoring, blind spot monitoring, active park assist for parallel and perpendicular parking, active blind spot assist and lane keep assist.


The Velar boasts more cargo room than average for the class with 34.4 cubic feet behind the second row and 70.1 cubes with the second row folded. A hands-free power liftgate is optional.


The good:

Beautiful crossover that looks good inside and out

Innovative two-screen infotainment system that’s only available in the Velar

Sumptuous cabin with opulent fit and finish

Lots of cargo space

Good fuel economy for the class, especially with the diesel engine


The not-so-good:

Price tag can quickly climb

Performance-oriented drivers may want to look elsewhere

Land Rover is recalling some 7,000 2018 Velar models because the windows would fog and the heating and cooling systems couldn’t defog them.


Pricing info:

My tester starts at $69,100. Delivery fee is $995 bringing the grand total to $70,095.


Bottom line:

The Velar is a stylish, luxury crossover filled with the latest tech that’ll turn heads and let you slog through just about any kind of weather conditions or terrain. Of course, all of that comes with a premium price tag. If you can afford it, you’ll enjoy every minute behind the wheel.

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