2018 Range Rover Velar ~ A professional driver’s perspective

2018 Range Rover Velar
2018 Range Rover Velar ~ A professional driver’s perspective
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About the Author

R. G. Beltzner

R. G. Beltzner

A long time automobile enthusiast, and competitive race driver, Rainer Beltzner provides performance driving and racing instruction for Porsche, BMW, and Ferrari owners and clubs. He's been doing this for over 25 years. Often, Rainer is found driving/teaching on one of the Canadian Tire Motorsport, Shannonville or Watkins Glen tracks. During the “off-season”, Rainer spends his spare time driving and evaluating a broad range of vehicles. Follow Rainer on Twitter @redy2rol.

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The 2018 Range Rover Velar was first revealed in Canada at the Vancouver Auto Show March 2017. Production started a month later and first sales in August 2017. The 2018 model has had no significant changes. The all-new Velar was introduced, according to Land Rover, to fill the space between the Evoque and Sport models.

The Velar is available with a choice if two engines; the 180hp 4-cylinder Ingenium diesel (317 lb-ft. of torque) or the more powerful 380hp Supercharged V6 gasoline engine with a rated 250 km/h top speed (electronically limited).

The Velar is available in three models:

  1. Standard: base price $62,000
  2. R-Dynamic : base price $67,400
  3. First Edition: base price $95,000

Finally, there are three trim levels available – S, SE or HSE. My “test” vehicle for a week of driving has been the almost top of the line 380hp R-Dynamic with HSE trim in addition to a few optional extras adding $11,840 to the base price.

2018 Range Rover Velar Comfort and Style

The 2018 Range Rover Velar has striking good looks with a sleeker flowing design as compared to the Evoque or Sport. The exterior lines are smooth, flowing and impressive in the Santorini Black paint ($670 extra) – making this “the most aerodynamically efficient Land Rover ever”1.

The exterior all shiny black look is enhanced with the addition of 22” 7-split spoke gloss black rims ($2,040 extra) as well as the R-Dynamic Black Pack ($670 extra) and all black roof rails ($410 extra). The Velar’s LED headlights are standard equipment, quite narrow and wrap around the front of the vehicle.

Of interest are the “all new for Range Rover”, door handles that deploy when the door is unlocked either by the key fob or by pressing what they refer to as a “discreet button” set into the handle. In fact, it is so discreet that finding it in the dark can be a challenge. Given that the door handles stay extended whenever the car is not locked, it can serve as a highly visible reminder to both owner and thief when the interior is available for easy access.

The interior is also quite different from the other Range Rover models and now sports two 10-inch high definition touch screens that remain “hidden” until the vehicle is started. The entire interior of the 2018 Range Rover Velar comes across as elegant and uncluttered.

The usual array of physical switches has been reduced to an absolute minimum contributing to an overall simplistic elegance. Many of the traditional dial or switch controls for adjusting to different driving terrains have been completely integrated into the touch screens.

The only physical dials that remain include the rotary transmission controller that rises from the center console on start up as well as two other multi function and programmable rotary controllers to enhance ease of access to the climate and terrain selections.

The upper touch screen angle is adjustable and contains the navigation, phone and media functions/displays. The driver also has the option of using steering wheel mounted controls as well as the 12.3 inch interactive display with a variety of display options.

Although the access to and sensibility of the all-new touch and display controls is much improved, the inconsistent responsiveness of this technology remains to be sorted out. Similar to the “discreet” door handle button, the steering wheel controls albeit elegant, are perhaps a shade too small contributing to the occasional unintended action.

The front seats have a sporty design (all leather of course) with up to 20-way adjustments and heating, cooling and massage functions ($510 extra). Very comfortable! Even the rear seats (40:20:40) are much improved and come with heating and electric recline (included in the $510 extra option). Of note is the higher rear roof line similar to the Evoque and the longer wheelbase, similar to the Sport, that give rear passengers a little more space.

The test vehicle featured the latest technology that made my ride the most comfortable of all of the Ranger Rover models that I have driven. This includes four-corner air suspension; suspension that automatically lowers by 40mm to provide for easier entry/exit; off-road ride heights that can be increased by 46mm; and finally, the ability to lower and raise the rear end to allow for easier trailer hitching or rear loading.

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2018 Range Rover Velar Handling Characteristics

This Velar is not only comfortable but is also a joy to drive. The 380hp engine is powerful, smooth and matched with an eight speed automatic transmission, all wheel drive and “intelligent driveline dynamics”. This beast can get to100km/hr in less than 6 seconds. You can even use the paddle shifters to choose the rev levels as you shift up or down.

There are a lot of driver assist systems with the R-Dynamic HSE, including:

  1. Adaptive cruise control
  2. Lane keep assist
  3. Traffic sign recognition
  4. Driver condition monitor
  5. Blind spot assist
  6. Reverse traffic detection
  7. Park assist
  8. Tire pressure monitoring
  9. Autonomous emergency braking

The 2018 Range Rover Velar includes many electronic management systems designed to provide increased safety and performance.

The dynamic stability control system monitors the vehicle’s actions and intervenes to improve vehicle stability to counteract both under steer and over steer. This is done by reducing engine power and applying braking force to the appropriate wheels to adjust the vehicles’ direction of travel and reduce the possibility of a rollover.

The Velar’s anti-lock braking system maintains traction with the road surface during braking, helping the vehicle’s ability to steer. Electronic traction control is intended to enhance traction and stability by monitoring and reducing wheel spin. To help prevent wheels from locking up while applying brakes during hard cornering, the Velar is equipped with an electronic system that monitors and varies the amount of braking force to each wheel. In the event that you apply insufficient force on the brake pedal such as in an emergency situation, brake pressure will be automatically boosted to help you stop in time.

An excellent feature is the automatic activation of the hazard warning lights during emergency braking situations.

With all of the driver assist and electronic management systems, it is quite a comfortable and responsive vehicle for everyday driving needs. Our weather and road surface conditions vary a lot, especially this time of year.

The 2018 Range Rover Velar comes equipped with the option to select one of six “terrain response” settings – Comfort, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud and Ruts, Sand, ECO and Dynamic. An optional add-on is the “all terrain progress control” system that enables the driver to set and maintain a steady speed between 1.8 km/h and 30 km/h in conditions such as slippery surfaces like mud, wet grass, snow and dirt roads.

2018 Range Rover Velar

2018 Range Rover Velar; Photo Credit: R.G. Beltzner

Things to consider

The 2018 Range Rover Velar is the best looking of the Range Rover line-up. It is larger than the Evoque and an almost perfect size inside and out that will appeal to many. The range of sophisticated driving aids is a big plus for those of us focused on safety.

Despite a price point that starts at $62,000, those that can afford this vehicle will be attracted by the higher end models and many options that will easily get you close to or even over the $100,000 mark. After a week of driving, gas consumption was 14.6L/100km – not totally unexpected given the 3.0L V6 Supercharged engine.

For more automotive reviews and insights, follow me on Twitter @redy2rol. You can also send your questions about new vehicles to editor@oakvillenews.org.

1 JLR Technical Bulleting # LRP-1801.01

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