When Jaguar entered the SUV world with the F-PACE, we raved about the excellence of their mostly ground up design. After all, they could have simply rebadged a ute from their cousin Land Rover. Now, as it turns out, it’s Land Rover doing some reverse engineering, with a new SUV based on the F-PACE, the Range Rover Velar.
If you’re not a Land Rover enthusiast, you might wonder where this 2018 Range Rover Velar fits in. Well, it’s a true midsize entry, slotting in between the larger Range Rover Sport and compact Evoque.
Engine choices are in step with the Jaguar F-Pace; 2.0-liter turbo-4s, one diesel one petrol, and a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that rates 380-horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque. All work with a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission.
But lest you think this is simply old-school badge engineering, know that Land Rover engineers did indeed start with the bare bones of the F-Pace, including maintaining its 113–inch wheelbase. But from there, they created an all-new Range Rover.
And certainly a high-fashion one. With no obvious resemblance to the F-Pace; just plenty of styling cues from other Land Rovers; with a floating roof design, some snazzy fender trim, and pop out door handles thrown in for good measure. All standing on up to 22-inch wheels.
More emphasis was put on off-road performance as well. So, in addition to standard all-wheel-drive, the Velar is available with Terrain Response 2, and gets an electronic air suspension setup not obtainable on the F-Pace, at least for now anyway. And, it’s not just pretty, with a towing capacity of 5,500-lbs.
Admittedly, handling prowess has been lost in the process, as the Velar doesn’t feel quite as light on its feet as the F-Pace, but ride quality is truly sublime.
Dialing up Dynamic mode helps it feel it’s sportiest, and owners can dial in their own customized setup.
Maintaining their superior off-road image is vital to Land Rover, and the Velar is truly more capable than most will ever experience. It also feels rock solid with its aluminum monocoque chassis construction. There’s no ability to engage a low range; but the full suite of electronic aids specific for the trail, have the ability to send full power to whichever wheel is getting the most traction, getting you through just about anything you might encounter.
Of course you’re well-swaddled in Range Rover luxury while doing that, including numerous leather packages, and supremely comfortable seats. It’s a gorgeous look.
This is certainly not your father’s Land Rover, unless he had his own proprietary touch panel control system installed. Here it’s Land Rover’s new InControl Touch Pro Duo with twin 10-inch capacitive touchscreens.
With few traditional physical controls, it can be intimidating when you first hop in, but it’s a mostly-logical setup that doesn’t take too long to get comfortable with.
Rear seat passengers don’t miss out on the luxury treatment either, and space is among best in class.
As is cargo room, 34.4 cubic-ft. behind the 2nd row, 70.1 with the 40/20/40 split seatbacks folded flat.
All of that makes this Range Rover as functional as it is beautiful.
As for track work, our supercharged V6 Velar hopped off the line eagerly with good all-wheel-drive grip. The rear really squats down as you take off, hitting 60 in 5.5-seconds.
And right away, you realize Jaguar kept all of the cool exhaust notes for themselves, as here you just get some droning engine noise. Shifts are quick and smooth however, taking you through the ¼-mile in 14.0-seconds flat at a nice even 100 miles-per-hour.
It was a difficult task determining what exactly its capabilities are in the handling department. The chassis feels proficient enough, but as soon as there’s even a hint of understeer, the “safety at all costs” computer initiates “priority slow down procedures” and starts triggering the brakes.
It does exhibit only minor body roll throughout the cones however, with medium to light steering.
And just 102-feet is all it took to bring this thing to a halt from 60. Some nose dive is to be expected bringing 4,471-lbs. to a complete stop that quickly, but even that was relatively minor.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the V6 are 18-City, 24-Highway, and 20-Combined. We averaged a fine 21.7 miles-per-gallon on the required Premium. That makes for an Energy Impact Score slightly below the average for all cars, with annual oil consumption of 16.5-barrels and CO2 emissions of 7.3 tons.
A wide range for this Rover has prices starting at just $50,895, and stretching to at least $78,095 for an R-Dynamic HSE V6; our tester was closer to $90,000. Yikes!
Still, if you’re like us, your first response to the middle-weight 2018 Range Rover Velar may be “just what we needed, another luxury SUV”. But, Land Rover has been building posh off-roaders for longer than anybody, so it’s always good to see what they’re up to next. Now it’s up to the rest of the segment to see if they can keep up with the Velar.
Engine: 3.0 liter
Torque: 332 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 5.5 seconds
1/4 mile: 14.0 seconds @100 mph
EPA: 18 mpg city / 24 mpg highway,
Energy Impact: 16.5 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 7.3 tons/yr