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2018 Land-rover Range Rover Velar

The Range Rover Velar is the newest member of the Land Rover line-up. It's marketed as a style-focused, road-oriented model positioned between the Sport and the Evoque.

Overview

The Velar takes Land Rover's design language in a decidedly more stylish direction. It shares an unmistakable family resemblance with other members of the line-up, including the Discovery and the bigger Range Rover models, but it gets a more swept-back front end that flows into rakish a-pillars.

Door handles that automatically retract into the body give the Velar a clean, uncluttered look. And, though not quite coupe-like, the sloping roof line further differentiates it from more utilitarian SUVs in its segment. Land Rover's designers clearly played the curb appeal card.

Life aboard

The emphasis on clean, tech-driven design continues inside. Land Rover sent most of the knobs, dials, and buttons normally found on the dashboard back to the parts bin and replaced them with a pair of 10-inch screens. The top one displays the infotainment system; the bottom one lets the front passengers adjusts the climate control settings. The brand wisely retained a volume knob.

There's a driver-configurable 12.3-inch screen behind the steering wheel that replaces the analog instrument cluster. And, remote-like inserts in the steering wheel let the driver perform a wide variety of functions, from changing the radio station to turning on or off some of the driving aids.

The Velar's cabin offers space for five passengers in a quiet, luxurious atmosphere with mood lighting and available leather upholstery. The middle seat on the rear bench is tight and therefore best reserved for small passengers, though.

Trunk space checks in at 34.4 cubic feet with five passengers on board. Folding down the second-row seat yields 70.1 cubes.

Technical specifications

The Velar's base engine is a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 247 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. The sprint from zero to 60 mph takes 6.4 seconds and top speed checks in at 135 mph.

The EPA rates fuel economy at 21 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 23 mpg in a combined cycle.

Next up in the engine hierarchy is a 2.0-liter turbodiesel with 180 horsepower and a strong 317 pound-feet of torque. It's two second slower to 60 mph than the gas two-liter, but it's the efficiency champ of the line-up. The EPA pegs its fuel economy figures at 26, 30, and 28, respectively.

Finally, for those who want more power, the top-spec engine is a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 with 380 horsepower. It lowers the Velar's zero-to-60-mph time to 5.3 seconds and bumps its fuel economy numbers down to 18, 24, and 20.

Every engine shifts through an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive comes standard regardless of engine type or trim level.

Properly equipped, the Velar can tow up to 5,291 pounds. And, though few examples will see a surface other than asphalt, Land Rover notes it can safely drive through 23.6 inches of water.

Standard and optional features

Land Rover offers the Range Rover Velar in five trim levels named base, S, SE, R-Dynamic SE, and R-Dynamic HSE, respectively.

The base model comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, a manual tail gate, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, Luxtec upholstery on the seats, an eight-speaker sound system, keyless entry, a steel suspension, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights with a self-leveling function, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity with voice commands, and the trick power-retractable door handles.

The list of standalone options includes bigger wheels, signature daytime running lights, heated door mirrors, 10-way power-adjustable seats, an upgraded sound system, navigation, a heated windshield, a full-size spare tire, and SiriusXM satellite radio.

Occupant safety

The Velar comes with front, side, and curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems. Every trim also comes with trailer stability assist, and autonomous emergency braking.

Key competitors

Buyers in the market for a Land Rover Range Rover Velar can cross-shop it against the Porsche Macan, the Audi Q5, the BMW X5, and even the Volvo XC60.