2018 Range Rover Velar

2018 Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic SE I-4 First Test

Despite both my parents having careers in the fashion industry, the fashion gene appears to have skipped me. My approach to fashion mirrors my attitude toward just about everything from cars to cuisine—KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Yet even I can appreciate the game-elevating styling the 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar P250 R-Dynamic SE brings to the table. Despite lacking the Posh Spice seal of approval, the fashion-forward Range Rover Velar brings a lot to the crowded two-row luxury crossover space—and it’d better, considering how pricey and late to the game it is.

Built on a modular architecture shared with the Jaguar F-Pace, the Range Rover Velar is designed to fill the narrow white space between the baby Range Rover Evoque and the Range Rover Sport. This luxury crossover is intended to be the Range Rover line’s most carlike offering while still providing the off-road capability that the Land Rover badge demands. Given this goal, the Range Rover design team fully delivered—especially with a well-equipped sample like our Velar R-Dynamic tester. The extra-sporty Velar R-Dynamic is strikingly handsome and concept car pretty, with a rakish station wagon-esque look outside and a beautifully finished cabin inside.

With the Velar’s neck-snapping looks bound to bring buyers into the Range Rover section of the showroom, Land Rover was content to borrow three (quite good) powertrains from the Jaguar F-Pace—a 180-hp turbodiesel I-4, a 380-hp supercharged V-6, and the base engine found in our Velar P250 tester, a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 that produces 247 hp and 269 lb-ft of toque. Like the F-Pace, all Velars get an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive.

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Despite the Velar P250 R-Dynamic SE’s sporty looks, its performance at our test track was far more modest. Our four-cylinder Velar accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds and went through the quarter mile in 16.0 seconds at 85.7 mph. That’s substantially slower than our comparably equipped Velar P380 R-Dynamic SE long-termer, which needs 5.7 seconds to hit 60 mph and runs the quarter mile in 14.2 seconds at 97.7 mph.

That’s all well and good, but the Velar’s infotainment suite leaves a lot to be desired. The Velar, like the latest Range Rover Sport and Range Rover, features a high-resolution dual-screen infotainment suite.

It’s possible to work around a lot of poorly engineered infotainment systems by simply plugging in your iPhone or Android device and using either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but unfortunately, neither of those alternatives is currently available on the Velar—or any Land Rover vehicle, for that matter.

The Land Rover Range Rover Velar P250 ultimately delivers the fashion-forward experience its presence promises. It’s beautiful to behold inside and out and has exceptional material quality. It, like many fashion-forward items, lacks a bit of functionality—in this case, sacrificing some performance and infotainment user-friendliness—but the Velar’s unmistakable style largely makes it all worth it.

Denree Smith Author

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