2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.3

The 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar is all about polish, from its silky smooth powertrains, to its relaxing ride quality. It's a good pick for shoppers who prefer handling that's closer to a large luxury car than a sports car. Fuel economy (as estimated by Land Rover) is outstanding for a vehicle this size.

  • "At first blush, the Velar feels good, familiar. We loved F-Pace's mix of sport and civility enough to nearly name it 2017 SUV of the Year, and the Velar comports itself in similar fashion but with more attention focused on smoothing out bumps, rounding off hard edges, and creating a 'calm sanctuary.'" -- Motor Trend
  • "The Velar's name suggests a direct connection to the full-size Range Rover, although the aesthetics crib from the Evoque's playbook. We were pleasantly surprised that, in terms of on-road demeanor, the Velar leans more toward the supple, relaxed ride of the big Rangey rather than the city-ute temperament of its smaller sibling." -- Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

The Velar comes standard with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that cranks out 247 horsepower. It's one of the most fuel-efficient engines in the class, with Land Rover estimating fuel economy at 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway (the EPA has not released gas mileage estimates on the Velar). The polished eight-speed automatic transmission is the only gearbox available.

Land Rover offers two upgraded engines. Available in select models is a 180-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel engine that gets 26 mpg city/30 mpg highway. Spirited drivers will want to spring for the supercharged 3.0-liter V6. This 380-horsepower engine accelerates the Velar with authority, reaching 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. Still, this V6 isn't as meaty as the V8 under the hood of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, to the dismay of performance junkies. Fuel economy for the V6 engine is predicted to be 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway. 

  • "Our V-6 Velar is always a willing partner; no matter the on-road mode selected (Comfort, Eco, Dynamic, or Race), all 332 lb-ft of torque felt readily available via distant thumps of the ZF eight-speed transmission. Popping back the left downshift paddle gets things going fractionally quicker, but the right foot covers most situations. That said, the V-6 Velar is not a head-snapping wolf in a fitted wool suit. There is plenty left to hone a sharper-edged, more track-focused SVR Velar." -- Motor Trend
  • "The supercharged 3.0-liter V-6's 380 horsepower, 332 lb-ft output can scoot Velar to 60 mph in a respectable 5.3 seconds, but that acceleration feels buttery and predictable thanks to the engine's linear power delivery and the ZF 8-speed's smooth shift action." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "With 380 horsepower propelling 4,471 pounds, Velar is capable of reaching 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. The sensation of acceleration isn't remotely brutal or extreme, but rather a buttery waft of forward motion that's managed by a smooth transmission and a linear powerband. Perhaps it's the quiet cabin coupled with the refined engine sound, but the Velar simply doesn't hit you over the head with overly eager acceleration." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

Every Range Rover Velar is outfitted with all-wheel drive and the Terrain Response system (with Eco, Comfort, Grass-Gravel-Snow, Mud-Ruts, Sand, and Dynamic drive modes). Also standard is a rapidly adjusting Adaptive Dynamics suspension system and torque vectoring, which add stability when cornering. The Velar mimics the quiet, soft ride of a luxury vehicle. Though it handles corners with minimal body lean, this SUV focuses on comfort, with few athletic tendencies.

  • On-road it was indeed just as quiet as a luxury car should be. In a straight line, it was the essence of British elegance. In corners, in regular driving mode, the feel behind the wheel (and in the somewhat limited cornering we were able to find) was perhaps slightly less nimble than that of the X5, Macan/Cayenne or F-Pace, … with just a bit more lean in the corners. Twist the transmission selector knob over to S, however, and the Velar jumps to life, trying its best to imitate its Jaguar sibling. … It tries to be sporty but it is still a 4,471-pound luxury SUV. Even with 380 hp that works out to a weight-to-power ratio of 11.8 pounds of Velar for every horse to haul around, not anywhere near what you'd call sporty." -- Autoweek
  • "Linear steering and generally pleasing road manners help make the Velar feel smaller than its size. It rides smoothly and quietly, providing the refinement you expect of a Range Rover. Admittedly, the immaculate and smooth Norwegian roads did little to provoke the 22-inch wheels on our test car. … Land Rover guides led us down some light off-road sections that aimed to demonstrate the Velar's capability. Though we didn't expect much, we found the SUV more capable than its massive wheels and 40 series tires led us to believe." -- Edmunds
  • "The prevailing mood is regal, not rowdy, a quality you'll also find when it comes to cornering, where Velar exhibits enough body control and grip to keep it feeling connected, but not abusive to its occupants. Air suspension smoothens out most of the major road irregularities, which helps the chassis feel generally un-flummoxed during hard cornering. Though it can't stand up to the performance-focused Macan when it comes to outright handling, Velar manages to strike a favorable balance of ride quality and responsiveness, veering closer to the softer side." -- Autoblog

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