The Spousal Report: Does The 2018 Range Rover Velar Supply Any Substance Beneath Its Seductive Styling?

You are looking at something as rare as rain in Southern California: a can’t-miss hit in a long-established vehicle segment. Styled to look like the more expensive Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, priced to directly compete with the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, and outfitted with as much luxury and technology as your budget can withstand, the 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar could easily become the company’s most popular SUV.

To understand why, you must understand the potential buyer’s mindset. Image is what matters most, and the Velar delivers at what could be considered a bargain price. Instantly appealing to aspirational buyers who can’t quite close the financial gap between their income, savings, assets, and the true object of their desire (a “real” Range Rover), this stylish new Velar is a perfect substitute while they continue climbing social and financial ladders.

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Style will sell the 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar, which looks like it costs more than it actually does.

(Speedy Daddy Media, Inc.)

Beneath its svelte skin, the Velar shares much of its mechanical hardware and technological software with the Jaguar F-Pace. Naturally, to credibly slot into the Land Rover lineup, the Velar must demonstrate a modicum of off-roading capability, and it certainly does though perhaps not to the extent of say, it’s more utilitarian sibling, the Discovery. But that’s OK, you see, because Velars are unlikely to tackle much tougher terrain beyond speed bumps in lengthy valet lines.

Daily News Autos editor Christian Wardlaw and his wife, contributing writer Liz Kim, are married with children. They live in Southern California, too, right over the mountains from Malibu, where Velars were already proliferating like prairie dogs as of the first of the year.

To assess this new Range Rover’s capabilities within its natural habitat, they spent a week driving one in R-Dynamic SE P250 trim, and loaded with options. The cost came to $73,300 (including the destination charge of $995), which is about halfway between the base price of $50,895 and a fully-pimped sticker of $99,235.

This is their story…

How it Looks

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Long and lean, the Range Rover Velar is the best-looking SUV in Land Rover’s lineup.

(Speedy Daddy Media, Inc.)

She Says:

No doubt about it, the Velar looks cool.

From its sparkling red paint to its blacked-out wheels and trim, the Velar’s lines evoke the boxiness of its big brother, the Range Rover, while dramatic vectors give it a squinty-eyed sizzle. As a result, the Velar easily drew the attention of motorists on the road and squeals from the moms at the school drop-off line.

One trick design element is the pop-out door handles. When the Velar is locked, the doors have a smooth, clean surface, When the Velar is unlocked, they deploy for use. They’re reminiscent of the headlights of a late-80s Honda Accord, but classier.

Our test car’s 20-inch satin dark gray wheels gave the Velar a custom look, and you can get wheels up to 22 inches in diameter if you really want to get upset when they get damaged. Exterior puddle lights project a silhouette of the Velar on the ground, as if you needed a reminder of what you drive.

Inside, our test vehicle was upgraded with the whimsical Windsor leather, perforations of which place a subtle Union Jack graphic upon the seats. Or, depending on how you look at them, a bunch of triangles. The Light Oyster leather contrasted beautifully against the black dashboard, gloss black panels, aluminum trim pieces, and black headliner (although I would have preferred a lighter headliner to give the cabin a roomier look and feel).

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Available premium interior materials and standard high-tech instrumentation give the Range Rover Velar’s cabin a luxurious appearance.

(Speedy Daddy Media, Inc.)

He Says:

Huh. I didn’t notice the Union Jack graphic. I saw triangles. I wonder what a psychologist would say about that.

In any case, design is clearly the main reason to buy a Range Rover Velar, and you can have this SUV just about any way you want it – as long as you’re willing to pay for it. From paint to wheels to leather to trim to headliner to roof, you can tailor the Velar to exacting specifications.

Personally, I’m sick of the whole blacked-out trim and wheels trend, so I’d skip the Black Package and spend that money on a black painted roof instead. Something about that treatment, plus dark tinted windows, plus the Velar’s super-clean design aesthetic, really appeals to me.

Rakishly drawn, the long, low, and sleek Velar makes the Range Rover Sport look downright frumpy and the flagship Range Rover tea-and-crumpets conservative. Dare I say that this mid-grade model is the best looking one in the lineup?

That flair for style carries into the Velar’s cabin, where Land Rover has introduced its somewhat infuriating but nevertheless technologically advanced triple-screen instrumentation. Push the engine start button, and the cold, blank, black displays come to life, offering myriad pathways to just about anything you might require.

No doubt, you are sure to be impressed with it, until the day that it no longer works. My suggestion? Lease, or get an extended warranty.

How it Feels

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When equipped with heated, ventilated, and massaging 20-way power adjustable front seats wrapped in premium leather, comfort is virtually guaranteed.

(Speedy Daddy Media, Inc.)

He Says:

Equipped with available heating, ventilation, massage, and 20-way power adjustment, the Velar’s front seats are quite comfortable. Getting into them, though, takes some finesse.

The first time I yanked the SUV’s driver’s door open, the angled upper portion of the frame nearly took my glasses off of my face. The windshield pillars are rakishly swept back, too, tightening the opening to the front seats. Once situated behind the steering wheel, soft surfaces abound with the glaring exception of the gloss black plastic wrapped around the sides of the center console, which dug into the side of my right kneecap.

Snug best describes the feeling of this interior, front and back, and in spite of the panoramic glass sunroof. Hard plastic on the front seat backs may prove unkind to adult knees and shins, but posed no problem for our kids. Notably, the offspring gave the Velar’s 4-zone climate control system a big thumbs up.

Materials are a mixed bag, and the more you spend on a Velar, the less impressed you’ll be by the plastic coating the lower half of the cabin. Our test vehicle’s leather, gloss black finishes, metal speaker grilles, and headliner clearly conveyed luxury, though. And they all cost extra.

As much as I do love me some soft and supple leather, Land Rover thoughtfully offers a premium textile over simulated suede upholstery choice for any animal lovers who might disagree with the use of genuine hides.

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A wee bit cramped for adults, the Velar’s back seat nevertheless offers available heating and 4-zone climate control.

(Speedy Daddy Media, Inc.)

She Says:

Yes, a few choice expletives popped out of my mouth the first time I climbed aboard the Velar and whacked my head against the edge of the roof. It matters not where you may have positioned your seat; you will need to bow your head, and maybe even twist it a little, to get behind the steering wheel.

Once you’re in, you’re assured of a proper driving position, thanks to the upgraded seat’s myriad adjustments. And the massaging function has a way of putting you in a swell mood.

Nevertheless, on the inside, this is a compact SUV, and the Velar ensures that you know it. After a week of riding around in the Velar’s cozy confines, it felt like there was a vast DMZ between us while traveling in our own midsize crossover.

He Says:

After 15 years together, that DMZ comes in handy. (Ba-dum-tsshhh)

How it Works

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Easily, the least appealing thing about the Range Rover Velar is the technologically advanced yet entirely inappropriate infotainment system.

(Speedy Daddy Media, Inc.)

She Says:

Let’s start with what’s good about the Velar’s controls. The head-up display is cool, and gave all kinds of useful information.

The rest? I’m reminded of the times when our daughter was a toddler and I would make Korean fermented bean soup. She would wrinkle her nose and say “Smells bad!” Then I would mix it with a bit of rice and let her have a bite, then she would smile and say “Tastes great!”

Applied to the Velar, I think she would say about the high-tech dashboard: “Looks great! Works bad!”

The Velar’s dual-screen, center-stack setup is indeed as sleek and modern as anything you’d see in a car. The vast expanse of glossy blackness that comes to life when you push the SUV’s engine start button is rivaled only by the latest Mercedes-Benz and Tesla technologies when it comes to “wow” factor. The graphics are crisp and modern, and with just three knobs protruding from the Nebraska-flat panels, nothing interrupts its minimalistic beauty.

But you know what? Buttons, switches and knobs work.

They are a great solution because, as you are driving, you are inherently focused on that task (or should be), and you simply cannot give a touchscreen on your dashboard the same amount of attention as you can your iPhone when you’re lounging on the couch. Buttons, knobs, and switches are tactile and forgiving of fingers that fail to land on a precise spot, and they give a general sense of what you are trying to accomplish, whether it is to change the station or switch to a different driving mode.

Touchscreens are not forgiving. And if you accidentally request the wrong information, you wind up confused and even more distracted from the task of driving than you already were.

Thus, as trendy and cool as Velar’s infotainment panels are, they require an insane amount of concentration to get the result that you want. A steep learning curve, along with requirements for precision that simply should not be afforded while you have your eyes on the road, negates any goodwill that might be bought by this SUV’s lovely furnishings.

The engine start button, by the way, is hidden behind the steering wheel and windshield wiper stalk, and requires you to finagle your hand behind them. The transmission shifter is a rotary knob residing near the climate control knobs, and on more than one occasion, I reached out for the wrong control.

Storage space is almost non-existent. The center console is comically embryonic, the glove box elfin. There is a small storage space underneath the lower of the two dashboard screens, but again, you’ve got to contort your hand to reach for what you put in there, and you can’t see what you’re grabbing. And if you’re using the cupholders, that’s the only place you can put your phone unless you toss it into the lower door panel bin.

Like our first-born might say: “Looks great! Works bad!”

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Land Rover says the Velar holds just 15.7 cubic feet of cargo behind the rear seat, which is about as much as a Nissan Altima’s trunk. That can’t be right. Space expands to 70.1 cu.-ft. with the rear seats dropped. That’s sounds accurate.

(Speedy Daddy Media, Inc.)

He Says:

Alrighty then, tell us how you really feel, Liz...

Actually, I agree with you on all counts. There are good reasons that multiple states have outlawed the use of smartphones while driving, so the idea of using similar design and functionality for a vehicle’s primary controls is mind-bogglingly counterintuitive.

For example, the morning after the Velar arrived I made a coffee run in it. While exiting the drive-thru, I decided to switch into Dynamic mode to sample the differences in throttle response, transmission shifting, steering heft, etc. However, I accidentally selected 4WD Lock instead, either because my finger hit the wrong part of the screen or I unknowingly adjusted the knob beneath the screen. (Depending on what’s shown on the lower screen, knob function changes to correspond to the screen.)

The entire drive back home, the Velar was behaving in slightly strange fashion, and because I hadn’t thoroughly scoured the owner’s manual, I didn’t see or couldn’t recognize any warnings on the dashboard. Once I got home, a message appeared in the instrumentation, explaining that the Velar was in 4WD Lock mode. Duh.

Another gripe I have is that it is easy to get lost in the myriad menus that the system provides. After the Velar arrived and I was going through the different programming choices, I stumbled across something of interest that seemed misclassified into the wrong menu. Naturally, when I tried to get back to it, I couldn’t find it. And now I can’t remember what the hell it was.

My advice to any Velar owner is this: Open the owner’s manual, get everything set up the way you want it before setting off on a drive, and make sure the forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems are set for early detection and intervention.

With that said, Land Rover does provide temperature and volume adjustment knobs, making it easy to make quick changes to frequently modified settings. Also, once you’ve got radio station pre-sets programmed, you can switch between them using the occasionally temperamental steering wheel controls.

How it Drives

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Unexpectedly, the Velar’s standard turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is mostly satisfying in terms of acceleration, but don’t expect to match the EPA’s fuel economy estimates.

(Speedy Daddy Media, Inc.)

He Says:

Thinking it would be best to assess the ‘lease special,’ I purposely requested the Velar P250 for its turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. It saves $14,300 compared to the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 in the Velar P380, and with Land Rover offering a no-charge badge delete option for this SUV, I have absolutely no doubt that aspirational buyers will prefer to spend that cash on upgrades having nothing to do with horsepower and torque.

Can this engine, which makes 247 horsepower and 269 lb.-ft. of torque, adequately propel the 4,217-lb. Velar R-Dynamic SE? Yes, though it doesn’t sound particularly impressive while doing so.

Land Rover says 60 mph arrives in 6.4 seconds, which is quick enough to satisfy most people. It impresses when driven around town at part-throttle, its broad range of torque and the 8-speed automatic transmission’s gearing clearly calibrated for this kind of driving. Floor it, and the turbocharged 2.0-liter seems to generate more noise than forward thrust.

As far as the ride and handling are concerned, the Range Rover Velar feels heavy and solid on the highway, and enjoyably nimble in the city and suburbs. Equipped with the 4-cylinder engine, the SUV supplies 8.4 inches of ground clearance (P380 models provide 9.8 inches), and water fording capability of 23.6 inches (25.6 inches for P380). Both figures are greater than a typical crossover SUV, making the Velar more suitable for off-roading adventures.

Do not, however, expect a Land Rover Velar to be a proper companion for canyon carving on pavement. Equipped with 20-inch wheels wrapped in all-season tires, the standard braking setup, and the standard all-wheel-drive setup, the test vehicle displayed rather sloppy handling on local mountain roads.

Brake fade, syrupy steering, and excessive body motions reduced confidence, and though the drivetrain offered a Dynamic driving mode in combination with transmission paddle shifters, unpredictable surges of power meant I needed to wait until well beyond a corner apex to get back on the gas. No fun.

Land Rover does offer a handful of fixes for this. Options include larger wheels up to 22 inches in diameter, summer performance tires, upgraded front brakes, air suspension, and an active locking rear differential. Unfortunately, the test vehicle had none of these features.

I’m pretty sure the supercharged V6 would add to the Velar’s fun factor, too.

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Based on the Jaguar Land Rover platform that underpins the F-Pace SUV and XE and XF sedans, the Range Rover Velar does get enhancements to improve its off-roading capability. But this ain’t no Discovery.

(Speedy Daddy Media, Inc.)

She Says:

The Range Rover Velar shares its platform with Jaguar’s F-Pace crossover SUV, which means that it is cousin to Jaguar’s XE, XF, and upcoming redesigned XJ sedans. This also means that it lacks the off-road robustness that its Range Rover moniker might imply.

You can get optional equipment like an air suspension that raises ground clearance to 9.8 inches, but overall, a car-based vehicle without a low-speed transfer case doesn’t give you as much confidence to voyage where the road gets gnarley with troughs and boulders as does a vehicle designed from the outset to go off-roading. Where would you even mount a tow winch?

So is it fun on the road? It’s reasonably spirited off the line, although it pales in comparison to the performance versions of other competitively priced vehicles such as the Audi SQ5, BMW X3 M40i, and Mercedes-AMG GLC43.

Dynamically, the Velar feels more like a truck-based SUV than a crossover, with lots of wallow and driver head toss, although it does have an appealing solidity and heft in its driving character. Brakes and steering lack precision, and it plows around turns, although in a fairly predictable fashion. This is a heavy vehicle, and it shows its weight when tossed into corners.

By the way, the EPA said to expect about 23 mpg in combined driving, and we only managed 19 mpg on our testing loop. Rather disappointing, to say the least.

Would we buy one?

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Think you’ll be embarrassed by that P250 badge on the Velar’s tidy tailgate? Delete it, and few people will be the wiser.

(Speedy Daddy Media, Inc.)

Her Verdict:

I’m an Anglophile. Both of my degrees involve English Literature. I pay an inordinate amount of attention to royal lineage. I get a little sad when one of the Windsor boys gets engaged, because it lessens my chance of inheriting an HRH title someday.

And I love to see the cars the Queen drives. I always enjoy the pictures of her in her do-rag and Hunters at Balmoral, in front of the Range Rover that she pilots herself. The heritage of the Range Rover name has power, a narrative, and an esoteric charm.

Yes, they may seem ubiquitous in parts of Los Angeles and the surrounding environs, but there’s still a mystique to them, as if the vehicle and occupants at the Peet’s coffee were actually waiting to be whisked off to a safari, or tea at the Dorchester, rather than biding time before their Pilates class starts.

And I hate that Land Rover is slapping this name on a whole host of vehicles that, in my opinion, don’t deserve it, thereby diluting the brand. Range Rover Sport? Range Rover Not. Range Rover Evoque? Silly rabbit. Range Rover Velar? Lots of sizzle, little steak. Full of designer touches, tech and style, yet lacking in functionality, as well as its ability to plaster a big grin on the driver’s face.

There are SO many spectacular vehicles at this price point, and that don’t ask you to make the many compromises that the Velar does. Image counts for a lot when it comes to luxury vehicles, though, and I have no doubt that I will be seeing many Velars around these parts.

His Verdict:

I like the Range Rover Velar more than Liz does, and find that it does offer substance beyond its styling. But to specifically answer this question, no, I don’t think I would buy one. That’s because I seek value in almost everything, and I simply don’t find value in this SUV because I don’t care one whit about the image it projects.

With that said, the Velar exudes value for people who want to appear wealthier and more successful than they really are. Even at our test vehicle’s sticker price, it looks like it costs at least $25,000 more, inside and out. That alone virtually guarantees that the Range Rover Velar will be a runaway success for Land Rover, and not just in the U.S. market.

Just be sure to get the badge-delete option when choosing the P250, as the little emblem is the only suggestion outside of the engine and exhaust note that you didn’t drop as big a pile of cash as onlookers might otherwise guess.

First Pictures: 2018 Range Rover Velar

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Tags:
auto reviews
2018
land rover
range rover velar
land rover range rover velar
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Source : http://www.nydailynews.com/autos/latest-reviews/2018-land-rover-range-rover-velar-spousal-report-review-article-1.3790883

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The Spousal Report: Does The 2018 Range Rover Velar Supply Any Substance Beneath Its Seductive Styling?

Source:New York Daily News

The Spousal Report: Does The 2018 Range Rover Velar Supply Any Substance Beneath Its Seductive Styling?

The Spousal Report: Does The 2018 Range Rover Velar Supply Any Substance Beneath Its Seductive Styling?

Source:4 Traders

The Spousal Report: Does The 2018 Range Rover Velar Supply Any Substance Beneath Its Seductive Styling?