Your Guide to the 2018 Land Rover Velar
By Zlatan Stankovic on September 27, 2017
If we look back through time, Land Rover has released some remarkable models so it’s no wonder they now have huge support all around the world. First introduced in 1948, the 2018 model we’re going to discuss today marks the 70th birthday of the brand and, although they’ve been through a few changes in ownership in this time, Tata Motors is now at the wheel and they’re looking to impress. In fact, 2018 will also mark the tenth anniversary of Tata Motors taking over so it should be a special year. As a British icon, the Land Rover is very special but how will their new model shape up?
Latin for ‘veiled’, Velar is actually a throwback to the end of the 1960s where decoy badges were used on prototypes before the first ever Range Rover models were released. If you’ve followed Land Rover and Range Rover on their journey over time, you’ll know that they haven’t actually released a midsize SUV…until now. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the Velar name was actually dropped once the secrecy was no longer required but now the company is back to enter a market they aren't all too familiar with (and we can’t wait!).
DesignWhen we first saw the Land Rover Velar, it was instantly recognizable yet a stranger we’ve never met all at the same time. From front to back, it had a familiar look and it made us feel welcome despite being something completely new and something we shouldn't recognize. Not quite a smaller version of the popular Range Rover Sport, the model also falls short of being a larger version of the Evoque. Despite samples from both, it stands alone and enters territory we were sure was unavailable just a few months ago for Land Rover.
Boasting a long clamshell hood, the model begins with elegance before reaching further back and hitting the sloping rear which almost makes it look like a hybrid of two different styles. With a wheelbase comparable to the Mercedes Benz GLC at 113 inches, the Velar creates a beautiful balance between functionality and luxury. Even with the functional wheelbase, the interior screams luxuriousness which is only helped by improved air quality and various other features.
If you plan on taking trips with your family or perhaps moving house in the near future, the nearly 35 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row will certainly come in handy. However, all who ride inside the model will be focusing their attentions on the flush door handles and, dare we use the word again, luxurious design of the interior. Whether you’re inside, outside, or 100 feet away, the Land Rover Velar is impressive. Despite offering the best of both worlds in many different areas, it hasn't sacrificed anything and it looks absolutely stunning.
If you’ve seen the Jaguar F-Pace crossover, you’ll recognize the basic aluminum platform but Land Rover has gone further with the Velar after adding reinforcement for when those trips take an unexpected turn off-road. Feeling just like a Range Rover, the driver will sit high up which gives a fantastic view out the windscreen; this is something first introduced with the 1969 Range Rover model and still providing a key emphasis here today. After the first drive, we couldn't believe how quiet this model is and it all contributes to a sensational driving experience owners are going to love five years down the line just as much as they do in the first few days.
PerformanceMost importantly, what engine options are going to be available? Well, the Velar is going to have EIGHT different options available across the globe with three coming to the US. In addition to the 2.0-liter turbodiesel four engine, there’ll be a 2.0-liter turbo-four, as well as a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 option; these will produce 180, 247, and 380 horsepower respectively.
Regardless of the engine choice, the power will be distributed to all four wheels with a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. After putting the vehicle into Dynamic Mode and switching the setting to Sport, the gears will actually be held in a similar way to the F-Type. With the most powerful model, the V6 engine can power the car forward to 60mph in just over five seconds but there’s also an opportunity to tow up to 5,500 pounds which perhaps shows the sheer strength of this beast; to put this into context, it’s like having a trailer with a Porsche on-board.
For suspension adjustment, the guesswork is removed thanks to adaptive damping but the driver can still make certain decisions on-the-go which creates yet another nice balance. In terms of tuning, you might feel as though you’re driving a sports car as opposed to an SUV/all-terrain vehicle but stability and stiffness is provided through the double wishbone front suspension. With this, and many other features, it becomes nimble and agile on all surfaces and this has been lacking in the SUV market for some time.
Once again, we return to the brute strength and ruggedness with coil springs (on four-cylinder models) and four-corner air suspension (V6 models) to form the multi-link rear suspension. Depending on the model you choose and, therefore, the suspension option you enjoy, ground clearance is just 0.1 inches away from reaching 10 inches. With this, the model can withstand over 25 inches of water which really does show the ‘all-terrain’ label working in practice.
As you can see, there are features designed for a sporty performance and others that offer strength and this beautiful balance is one of which Land Rover should be proud. In the past, we’ve seen cars attempt this sort of hybrid car but without any luck. With Land Rover, they have all the right features in all the right areas and it allows for speed on the road and agile movement on rocks and gravel.
Off-RoadWhat’s more, the model also boasts electronic off-road features including hill-descent control, low-traction launch system, and active rear locking differential. Of course, this is before we even discuss the All Terrain Progress Control software we’ve seen from Land Rover in recent years. During the promotional videos and material provided by Land Rover, they did tests on ski resorts in the mountains of Norway and the Velar looked at home. As it meandered upwards, it never really looked in doubt even with the 22-inch road tires affixed.
InteriorSo, we know all about the design and performance in addition to how well the Velar can handle the slopes in Scandinavia but what about inside? Although we’ve touched on the interior slightly, we haven't told you how each seat is divine and almost looks professionally-tailored. From the people we’ve spoken to about the model, they’ve also noted how the headrests are as soft as pillows so this is yet another advantage we can add to the list. Wherever material is used, there’s a brilliant pattern shaped like the Union Jack and Land Rover has already noted how this will become standard in all future Range Rover models.
With real Windsor leather, Land Rover teamed up with one of the most famous textile companies in Europe, Kvadrat, in order to create the modern furniture design. For Kvadrat themselves, they also regularly work with famous brands including Vitra and B&B Italia so the finest minds were working on the interior and the results clearly show this.
In the exclusive First Edition models, the leather interior will be replaced by wool blends and sustainable Miko suede cloth which is an innovative and brave move from the manufacturers. However, you’d have to be extremely lucky to even catch glimpse of the First Edition models since only 500 are to be produced in the world. If you do manage to get on the list and make an attempt to buy the First Edition model, you’ll also have to pay over $90,000; the Standard Edition models will be available for under $50,000 (quite some difference!).
TechnologyTo finish, perhaps we should delve into the available technology since this is always important in vehicles these days. With the Velar, you have a model that boasts a center stack which is actually nicknamed as ‘the blade’. Connecting with the main console, you’ll see two 10-inch touch screens with one on top of the other like stacked iPads. Within seconds, the whole system will integrate and you only have to worry about four dials in the whole vehicle; a volume knob, rotary gear-shifter, and a climate control adjuster on both the passenger and driver sides. With everything else accessible via the touch screens, it’s comparable to when our mobile phones started to lose the buttons; however, this is all for positive change.
On both screens, the graphics look sharper than ever and the interface is easy to use. With some devices in cars these days, the interface is a little messy and it leaves you feeling confused but the one here has been designed for beginners and experts alike. With the infotainment system, the 12.3-inch high-definition virtual instrument cluster works seamlessly which means that changes can be made while driving without being at all distracting. With the steering wheel and touch-sensitive controls, it’s easy to adjust the volume while driving but you soon get used to where the sensors are for a better experience.
SummaryAt first, we made sure to read about the model before we looked at any pictures and before we watched videos and reviews. After seeing the sheer amount of opposing features, we were a little worried because, on paper, it doesn’t seem as though the model should work if you only give it a quick glance. In fact, we’re almost certain people will take a quick glimpse at the specifications and laugh. However, the deeper you dig, the more you realize how carefully thought out this model actually is.
From design to performance, the seemingly contrasting features actually combine to make the experience worthwhile whether you’re on the open road or trying to climb over hills. Although it still sounds strange, the words we could use to describe this model include strong, nimble, agile, powerful, fast, and adventurous. Mastering the best of both worlds, we can’t wait to see the vehicle in action some more and we don’t have long to wait!