Naming a vehicle after a Latin word meaning to veil something’s identity seems odd. So why would Land Rover call its handsome new Range Rover sport utility vehicle the Velar?
It wasn’t the British manufacturer’s intent to keep it a secret. The name is an homage to the brand’s first prototypes in the late 1960s. And considering the sophistication and sleekness of the 2018 Range Rover Velar, forget the name’s origin.
Instead, embrace the craftsmanship, and tell your friends and colleagues. The Velar, released about one year ago, defines the worthy combination of luxury and ruggedness. With its available exterior and interior color choices, including my test vehicle’s Firenze Red exterior with black lettering and its Light Oyster interior, the Range Rover is big and bold and should never be veiled.
Available in five trims, the three upper-level offerings, including the reviewed R-Dynamic SE, get bigger wheels and updated styling, among other features added to the base equipment. The Velar features a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with 247 horsepower. It’s matched with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The standard features list is long and varied, as expected with a luxury SUV. The base price is $60,100, the fully-loaded overall price is $74,895.
With its awkwardly named R-Dynamic SE trim, upgrades include perforated leather with microfiber-suede seats, a full-digital gauge cluster and a 17-speaker Meridian sound system. Convenience and safety assistance additions include front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, a driver attention monitor and traffic sign recognition.
For off-road wanderings, the Range Rover is ready. In addition to all-wheel drive, the Terrain Response system includes Eco, Comfort, Grass-Gravel-Snow, Mud-Ruts, Sand and Dynamic drive modes. The Velar also has 8.4 inches of ground clearance and touted with a wading depth of 23.6 inches.
The interior has an overall minimalist appeal, further defined by a futuristic-looking infotainment system. It features two large displays, one tilts to 30 degrees for better non-glare viewing, and the other is mounted below. Graphics are crisp, with functions controlled by touch screens or the long, flat vertical buttons on the steering wheel.
With its standard engine, the Velar can’t boast of advanced acceleration. But it’s smooth-driving with a solid, steady feel on the freeway, albeit with a noticeable wind rush. The Velar drives bigger than its compact SUV status, but its turning radius is tight, a trait of a much smaller vehicle.
As a cargo and passenger carrier, the Velar is impressive. Second-row seating is spacious for two large adults or three smaller individuals. There are 34.4 cubic feet behind the second row. With the three-way, split-folding seat folded, the cargo area expands to 70.1 cubic feet.
Gas mileage averages are 21 miles per gallon in city driving, 27 miles per gallon on the freeway. Land Rover’s is warranty is 4 years or 50,000 miles and six years and unlimited mileage for corrosion. Roadside assistance and on-site technician assistance towing services are complimentary, but with some restrictions.
Technology standard equipment on all trims gives the Velar an advantage over competitors. Consider: Adaptive cruise control with stop-start functionality and intelligent emergency braking, active park assist for parallel and perpendicular parking, active blind spot assist and lane keep assist. A head-up display, 360-degree camera system, automatic high beams, driver drowsiness monitor, rear cross traffic monitoring, traffic sign recognition with adaptive speed limiter and blind spot monitoring are also included.
The Velar also has one hipness factor feature. The horizontal door handles extend and retract flush with the key fob. It adds to the SUV’s persona. And with all due respect to its name, it deserves to be seen.
Article Last Updated: July 5, 2018.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.