Looks are a subjective matter, but the Range Rover Velar is hands down one of the prettiest SUVs in the world, irrespective of the price tags or segments that it competes in. Yes, Looks are not everything, we all know that. But if looks were everything then I would have ended my review of the Range Rover Velar by now.
The Velar strikes the perfect balance between what the Range Rover Evoque wanted to be and what the Range Rover Sport hoped it could be. It’s big, it’s brawny and yet it is sophisticated and subtle. Think of it as someone who dresses in sharp suits every day, has well-gelled hair and wears a perfume that makes you want to ask which brand it is from. But come Friday evening, the last thing you would want is to get into a match of arm-wrestling with this person because not only can they drink more beers than you, but also look far prettier even when drunk.
That’s pretty much the Range Rover Velar. It looks painfully beautiful even when standing in a parking lot and can put almost every SUV to shame when it comes to going off-road because well, it is a Range Rover.
And the best part in this story is that the Range Rover Velar is now being manufactured locally and as a result, the price of this SUV has gone down to Rs 72.47 lakh from Rs 88.88 lakh (all prices ex-showroom). That’s a price reduction of over Rs 16 lakhs! How’s that for a discount?
The other new thing is that now, the Velar is only available in a single variant – the R-Dynamic S. This comes with a choice of two engine options – a 2.0-litre Diesel and the one we drove for our test, 2.0-litre petrol.
So with a lower price and the fact that this variant actually offers more than what the entry-level variant of the Velar used to offer before, how does that place the Velar in the market now? We find out in this review.(Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
The first impression that you make of a car is based on the way it looks and the Velar scores full marks on that front because boy does it look good, perhaps even better than before. One of the reasons for that is since it is now offered in the R-Dynamic S trim, it gets the sexier bumper upfront which makes it look properly drool-worthy. And it also gets neat-looking copper accents across the car which lends itself a look of luxury. It has a very minimalistic design and does away with everything that could be distracting or maybe stand out too much, giving it the look of one wholesome package. As if it was meant to look this way from the beginning and is not instead of a result of things being put together and calling it a day.(Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
If you look at it from the sides, you will notice that it does not resort to the boxy look of traditional SUVs but instead goes for curves. The headlamps extend to the sides and the tail lamps begin from the sides as well. And the fact that it now comes with a gloss-black roof, it looks every bit of a Range Rover. And despite being so ‘flowy’ in design, the Velar has a bold stance. And if you like how it looks this way, wait till you check out how it looks with the accessory wheel options. It will blow your mind.(Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
Coming to the front, it gets a bold yet subtle grille which continuously connects to the headlamp clusters. The front splitter is finished in black and that carries on all the way around the car, giving it a raised look. The additional black line that flows on top of this blacked-out lower half continues from the front air dams and on to the rear reflectors. There’s also a line that runs across the edge of the headlamps and all the way to the tail lamps, along the shoulder line. All in all, every design element has a clear, identifiable start and finish, and every line rises towards the rear of the car, giving the velar a swept-back and yet leaned-forward stance. This makes the car look fast, even when it is standing still.(Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
Coming to the back, the split tail lamps are highly detailed and are connected by a gloss-black finished element which runs across the width of the car. This too compliments the other blacked-out panels and the gives the Velar a unique look. Something that you will recognize on the roads the moment you lay your eyes on it.
And the, there’s the party trick. In the images above, you may have noticed that the area where you have door handles, there is a cutout. Well, this is the place where the door handles pop-out when the door is unlocked and go back in when the door is locked again, adding to the clean look of the Velar. Of course, over the duration of our testing spanning multiple days, we used the door handles plenty of times. And it never stops from amusing anyone who wants to step inside the car!(Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
But it is from the inside that the Velar really hits the ball out of the park.
Usually, it is the exterior of a car that raises your expectation quite high and the interiors end up finding it hard enough to match them. In the case of the Velar, you’ll like it more from the inside when you are inside the car and find the exteriors to be better when you are outside of it.(Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
Starting from the front, the moment you will open the door, you will be greeted by white-finished interiors which add to the feeling of spaciousness and premiumness. Everything is finished in this shade and is contrasted by black-finished panels on the centre console and also, on the outside of the steering wheel.
Speaking of the steering wheel, it comes with touch-based controls and has no physical buttons whatsoever. This makes it feel futuristic, clean and also allows for the button orientation to change depending on what function you are operating. For example, since it is basically a touchscreen, the buttons change when you are scrolling the menu, or when you are streaming music or when you are taking a call.(Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
Behind the steering wheel, you have a large screen showing the instrument cluster and since this is a screen as well, you can change the layout and select what all information do you want to see. You can have one dial showing the speed and tachometer together, as shown in the image above, or change it to having two different dials showing these things separately. You get the idea.
And talking about screens, well, the key feature of the interiors are the infotainment screens. They are huge, have crisp displays, and are spread across the centre console. The upper half of the screen shows you all the typical infotainment system stuff, like settings for various things and multimedia information.(Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
The lower half of the screen lets you control features like air-con and the drive modes. Thankfully, there is a physical knob to control the volume level and there are rotary dials with screens within them as well for cycling through various stuff, like fan speed, temperature control and so on.
All in all, it is a very well-thought-out system and the UI is fantastic to use. It does take a bit to calibrate yourself to scrolling through the menu system but once you do, everything is easy to reach and quick. And while you may think that you would need to probably come to a stop and then find your way through the screens, the instrument cluster shows you everything you want to know and you can cycle through the main stuff through the steering-mounted controls. So basically, there are so many ways to go around the features of the car but none of them is distracting or take away from the driving experience.
The same goes for the back too, with a great amount of space on offer and some of the most comfortable rear seats on a car in this segment. The white interiors along with the humongous sunroof make the car feel very spacious and airy.(Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
And finally, about the driving experience. You see, the thing is that when you are about to drive a Range Rover, you know that it is going to be an extremely capable car both on-road and off-road and will nail the driving experience to the tee, and the Velar is no different. And let’s be honest, most of these cars end up spending the majority of their lives on regular roads and only rarely get to stretch their legs on off-road conditions. But given that this is a Range Rover, you know for a fact it can take on the road less taken without breaking a sweat. The Velar gets a host of driving modes to help you through that and will take on the slush, mud and ruts with ease.
But when it comes to the serious stuff, well, the Range Rover Sport will be the one to go for, or even the Discover Sport, as the Velar, honestly, feels more at home on the road. But when on the road, it gives a great driving experience.
We drove the petrol-engine powered variant which means it was powered by Range Rover’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium engine which is offered with 8-speed transmission. The engine is extremely refined and is best driven with a light-foot as when you ask more from it, even in the ‘Dynamic’ mode, it is let down by the gearbox which does take its time to figure out what you want and what it should be doing about it. The suspension is a bit on the stiffer side but that makes for excellent highway-speed stability in exchange for being calm and composed over potholes, which you need to be a bit cautious going over. Adding to the whole experience is the throaty exhaust note from the engine which makes it a delight to push through the RPMs.(Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
All in all, the Range Rover Velar is one of the most impressive SUVs on sale in India right now that looks good, drives good, is loaded with features and gives you the impression of having a futuristic car that offers the premium experience of way more expensive cars. Unless you are looking for a car for hardcore off-roading, you will find the Velar to fulfil all of your needs and the moment you will see it in flesh, you would want one right away.