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The Land Rover Range Rover Velar — one of the latest offerings of the iconic English luxury SUV manufacturer — was launched in India during the last quarter of 2017, at an introductory starting price of Rs 78.83 lakh ex-showroom (Delhi).
Slotted in between the Range Range Evoque and the Sport, the Velar is available in both petrol and diesel formats. The petrol engine is a 2.0-litre turbocharged Ingenium unit while the diesel options include a 2.0-litre four-cylinder and a 3.0-litre V6.
Since diesel SUVs are the more mainstream choice, we decided to drive the Range Rover Velar P250 SE variant to see how such a near-two-tonne petrol vehicle can perform on our roads.
The Range Rover Velar — the amalgamation between Gerry McGovern's flawless lines and the unmatchable all-terrain prowess of a Land Rover — is the relatively-new entrant on the luxury-SUV market. The Velar is officially nicknamed as ‘The Avant-Garde Range Rover'; meaning that it is quite different from any other product from the Tata Motors-owned automotive company.
Design & Styling
The Range Rover Velar takes a slight shift from the conventional Land Rover approach; less on boxiness and more on smoothness. The design of the Velar explores a new sphere in the world of SUVs, so much so that it has been titled as ‘The Most Beautiful Car In The World' at 2018 World Car Awards.
The overall design is noticeably aerodynamic for an SUV with the neatly-skewed front-end. Everything seems to be elongated towards the rear, giving a sense of motion even when the car is lying still.
The hexagonal mesh grille provides the aesthetic balance at the front and wears the traditional ‘R A N G E R O V E R' crown. The grille and the offset-embedded Land Rover logo has got a chrome foundation. The Matrix-laser LED headlamps flow towards the back while the sharp-cut DRLs proclaim the boundaries.
The bumper details are minimal with narrow openings and no lighting systems. As a thick black line connects the apertures directing air to the wheel wells, the wide grille at the bottom and above the fibre skid plate forms a strong base to the front proportion.
The side profile develops around the subtle yet strong shoulder line which evolves from the headlamps and end at the tail lamps; supporting a side streak in the process. The floating roof forms gradually towards the end after which it abruptly curves and cuts at the D-pillar to meet the spoiler. There is also a slit at the base of the car which starts from the front bumper and meets the rear fog lamps.
The Velar we drove rode on 19-inch five-spoke alloy wheels which are not the best-suiting but certainly instils a massive presence. The near-30-degree departure angle looks good when viewed from the side but not so much from the rear.
While most of the design details on the Velar are rather straight, the rear follows a curvier approach from the LED tail lamps shaped like a ‘U', to the spoiler. Like most recent Land Rover products, the rear does not offer the best looks even though it is still better than many other vehicles on the market. As for the Velar, the rear is better looking than the new Discovery and the Discovery Sport.
Interiors, Features & Practicality
Stepping inside the Velar itself has got some drama with the retracting door handles. They not only look clean and modern but also help a slight bit in reducing drag.
Once you get inside, a whole new atmosphere is created by the dual 10-inch screens on the central console, dubbed as the Touch Pro Duo. The screens are large and well integrated into the dashboard such that they look like gloss black panels when the vehicle is turned off. The top screen also tilts a bit when the ignition is on, for better reachability and glare avoidance.
The UI of the InControl infotainment system is really smooth and the resolution is on a different league. With the dual-display layout, Land Rover has greatly reduced the visual pollution otherwise caused by buttons and knobs. The screens also let the driver access multiple functions at the same time but operating the bottom screen requires taking the eyes away from road, to a good extent.
The functionalities on either screen can either be correlated or completely different. For instance, you can access the navigation on the top screen and adjust the climate control settings at the bottom. The bottom screen can also be used to access the various drive modes offered by the Terrain Response system. It is almost impossible to explain everything the screens offer in just a few paragraphs.
The instrument console is also a notch higher compared to its rivals, with the fully-digital layout and the fancy graphic transitions. You can set up the display in three formats: Dual Dial, Single Dial and Extended.
The seats offer good support but are on the harder side, in terms of comfort. The ergonomics is pretty decent for an SUV and there are quite some storage spaces within reach too; especially under the split armrests. You can also get ventilated and massaging seats as optional extras and if you do, you'll not be disappointed at all.
The fact that the seats are on the stiffer side is especially proved at the rear. First-time passengers sitting on the second row seats might not experience the best of comfort during long rides. The seats do not hurt you but is noticeably hard for a premium vehicle. The rear estate is good for three adults of any size but the small greenhouse could worry the claustrophobic.
At 558 litres, the boot space is more than enough and to extend the luggage capacity even more, the rear seats can be split-folded in 40:20:40 ratio. Practicality is further improved by the various hooks and hinges to keep stuff in place, plus the full-size spare wheel hiding underneath.
All the above-mentioned elements are overlooked by a panoramic roof which creates a brilliant sense of occasion whilst you drive the ‘Avant-Garde Range Rover'.
Performance, Mileage & All-Round Capability
As we mentioned at the very beginning, we opted the Range Rover P250* petrol variant. On paper, the 2.0-litre turbocharged Ingenium petrol unit produces 247bhp and 365Nm of torque; similar figures to that of the other petrol SUVs at the price point. The power plant comes mated to ZF's much-acclaimed 8-speed automatic transmission which sends power to all four wheels.
*In global markets, there is also a P300 petrol variant which employs the same engine, but retuned to produce 296bhp and 400Nm.
How much can a 2.0-litre petrol engine move such a huge vehicle? — one might wonder. However, the Velar P250 performs decently with the rather small engine, if not with minimal effort. Of course, it is only when you really push the RPMs up when you feel the need of a bit more oomph.
But the driveability is quite good considering the size of the Velar and the power plant. The engine's best for relaxed cruises rather than outright performance numbers. Overtaking is quite effortless at mid-range engine speeds but not that great towards the top. Turbo lag is obviously there although not being too much to complain about.
The Range Rover Velar P250 performs really well for town runs and occasional off-the-road jaunts. Even though the engine is a bit noisy for a petrol engine, the NVH controls inside the cabin make up for it.
The eight-speed automatic works like a charm but you would have to deal with a slight jerkiness during aggressive driving. The paddle shifters are not sportscar-responsive but rows through the gears really smoothly. Slick throttle response isn't something you should expect in the Velar P250 or any other petrol-powered SUVs for that matter (unless if it's a performance-focussed model).
The leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel has got a good feel to it. The steering feedback is decent and weighs up nicely with speed. A quick flick will bring all the weight of the vehicle to the other side and reveals the inevitable body roll of large SUVs. But sharp turns are very unlikely during normal drives and the Velar P250 does a good job as a relaxed mode of transportation.
Being a Land Rover, the Velar is meant to be as good off the road as it is on the road. The brand's Terrain Response system features six driving modes: Dynamic, Eco, Comfort, Mud Ruts, Gravel and Snow; each of which adjusts the steering calibration and throttle response to keep the Velar on the move, at all times.
No terrain will be an unbeatable challenge for the Velar and the all-wheel-drive system will make sure that it crawls out from any ground condition. A water wading depth of 600mm further adds to its off-roading capabilities.
Some of the other main driver-aid equipment are:
- Terrain Response 2 (optional)
- Open rear differential
- Torque Vectoring (by braking)
- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
- Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)
- Speed-sensitive steering
- Hill Descent Control (HDC) & Assist
- Surround camera and park assist (optional)
- Heads-Up Display (HUD)
- Six airbags (standard)
- Roll Stability Control (RSC)
- Cornering Brake Control (CBC)
Finally, coming to the fuel economy department, the Range Rover Velar P250 petrol variant returned us a mileage of around 10km/l (and less at times) in the city and near 11.5km/l on the highway. These figures, combined with the relatively-meagre fuel tank capacity of 62.8 litres and the rising petrol price in India, make it a bit expensive to live with.
Specifications, Variants & Pricing
Our test vehicle was a Velar P250 variant in the SE trim. The four trims (base, S, SE & HSE) combined with the three variants (D180, P250 & D300) make up for 12 purchase choices. In addition to this, each variant gets a sportier R-Dynamic package too while there is an exclusive D300 First Edition at the very top.
Confusingly enough, put together, there are 25 options for you to choose a Range Rover Velar in. Ex-showroom prices start at Rs 83.34 lakh for the base D180 trim and extend up to Rs 1.45 crore for the D300 First Edition.
That said, here are the technical specifications of the Range Rover Velar P250, we've tested:
|Engine||1998cc Turbo Petrol|
|No. Of Cylinders||4|
|Transmission||8-Speed ZF Automatic|
|Top Speed (km/h)||217|
|Mileage (km/l)||11.5 (Claimed)|
|Wheel Size (mm)||255/55 R19|
|Kerb Weight (kg) ||1874|
|Price (Ex-Showroom)||Rs 90.11 Lakh|
|Price As Tested||Rs 1.07 Crore|
In India, the Range Rover Velar is offered with three engine choices as shown below:
|D180||2.0-Litre I4 Diesel||Rs 83.34 Lakh|
|P250||2.0-Litre I4 Petrol||Rs 83.35 Lakh|
|D300||3.0-Litre V6 Diesel||Rs 1.17 Crore|
The petrol-powered luxury SUV segment in India still appeals to only a niche customer base, unless it's an outright performance monster (the Range Rover Sport SVR being an example). For the same reason, very few brands were courageous enough to introduce petrol versions of SUVs costing almost a crore on-road.
Here's a small comparison of the Range Rover Velar petrol with two of its main rivals:
|Models||Power/Torque (bhp/Nm)||Starting Price|
|Range Rover Velar P250||247/365||Rs 83.35 Lakh|
|Porsche Macan 2.0 Petrol||252/370||Rs 76.84 Lakh|
|Audi Q7 40 TFSi||248/370||Rs 73.73 Lakh|
The Range Rover Velar P250 is a good choice if you use it the way it is meant to be. It isn't a strong performer for the speed-addict or a wise decision for the fuel-conscious. But that doesn't make it an underperformer either. The Range Rover Velar, in totality, is a brilliant SUV and one of the best in the business.
The Velar P250 petrol, on the other hand, doesn't excel in something in particular but does a bit of everything.