Is the 2018 Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic SE the Best Range Rover? [Review]

2018 Range Rover Velar
[Photo: Land Rover]

WHAT’S NEW

While it borrows design elements and equipment from other Range Rover models, the 2018 Range Rover Velar is all new for this year. The Velar is positioned between the smaller Evoque and the larger Sport, as well as the original Range Rover. The Velar’s design takes on a familiar style to its cousins. Jaguar Land Rover took a revolutionary approach with this new SUV, rather than starting over from a clean sheet of paper. Its smooth sides and range of standard exterior features, such as standard LED lights and an integrated rear spoiler give the car a distinctive, bold presence. Matrix LED and Matrix-Laser LED headlights are available as an option. In terms of visual appeal, the Velar is a well-proportioned take on the classic, original Range Rover.

The 2018 Range Rover Velar is available in four trim levels. Starting from $49,900, there’s the S model, followed by SE and HSE. There is also a “First Edition” model, marking the launch of the Range Rover’s newest nameplate.

COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE

Elegant simplicity comprises the 2018 Range Rover Velar’s interior design. Two seamlessly integrated 10.0-inch touchscreens are standard, which allows occupants to access only the controls they need for a particular function. The twin sliding armrests operate separately, so driver and passenger have more control over their own levels of comfort. The 2018 Range Rover Velar’s new infotainment system is sharper and more intuitive to use, as well. While it doesn’t support Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, the Velar’s system proves automakers don’t necessarily need to third parties for an attractive, user-friendly infotainment experience.

A rich selection of quality materials, such as Windsor leather with a diamond pattern add a contemporary twist. If you don’t want to opt for the leather, a modern premium textile interior is an alternative. The 2018 Range Rover Velar also sports configurable ambient interior lighting, offering a choice of ten colors to create the right mood.

Switchgear and controls are highly intuitive with some valuable redundancy. Climate controls, for instance, are configurable using the rotary dials as well as the screen. Those two rotary dials flank the bottom touchscreen, controlling different functions depending on which menu you select. Land Rover also kept the volume knob intact, which allows for occupants to easily adjust the volume without having to dig through the infotainment system.

2018 Range Rover Velar
[Photo: Land Rover]

PERFORMANCE

The 2018 Range Rover Velar offers three available engines. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine in this R-Dynamic SE is the base engine. This engine delivers 247 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. However, a 2.0-liter turbodiesel is available in R-Dynamic SE and HSE models. A 3.0-liter supercharged V6 is also an option in all models except the base Velar. An 8-speed automatic transmission gears energy to the driving wheels.

The 2018 Range Rover Velar has nice and sporty handling, although some may argue the steering feel is a bit artificial in sport mode. That second infotainment screen is the nerve center for Land Rover’s new terrain management system. It allows the driver to toggle between ECO, Comfort, Dynamic and Off-Road modes. When you go into the Off-Road mode, you can select whether you’re on grass, gravel and snow, mud and ruts, or sand.

There are a host of available seating configurations, and with the rear seats up, cargo space is 34.4 cubic feet, or 70.1 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat. The 2018 Range Rover Velar can seat five comfortably, although taller passengers may feel a bit cramped in the back.

2018 Range Rover Velar
The Range Rover Velar covers the urban jungle just as well as it can head off-road. [Photo: Land Rover]

TFLCAR’S TAKE

The 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic SE is certainly worthy of its Range Rover name. It offers attractive styling, an elegant interior, and great off-road capability at a more affordable level than the full-on Range Rover. It’s also loaded with the latest available technology. What’s not to like? It offers much of the same luxury as the full size Range Rover, while offering a greater sense of occasion than the entry-level Evoque.

Jaguar Land Rover sets the base sticker price for the R-Dynamic SE at $60,100. However, the list of options drove the final tally to $74,895. Major options included the Drive Pro, Climate, North American Towing and On/Off-Road Packages. Those packages add a wide range of features to the mix, including Adaptive Cruise Control, four-zone climate control, a Surround Camera System, and the Terrain Response 2 system.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic SE

On Sale: Now
Base MSRP: $60,100
Price as Tested:
$74,895
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged I4
Drivetrain (Layout): Longitudinally mounted front engine, all-wheel drive
Horsepower: 247 hp @ 5,500 RPM
Torque: 269 lb-ft @ 1,200 – 4,500 RPM
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Suspension: Front: Double Wishbone w/ air or coil springs, continuously variable dampers, passive anti-roll bar

Rear:  Integral Link w/ air or coil springs, continuously variable dampers, passive anti-roll bar

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (12.8 inches front and rear)
Tires: Pirelli Scorpion Verde A/S P255/50 R20 109W
Fuel capacity: 15.8 gallons
Fuel economy (EPA): 21 City / 27 Highway MPG

Dimensions:

Wheelbase: 113.0 inches
Length: 188.9 inches
Width: 76.1 inches
Height: 65.6 inches
Turning Circle: 38.1 feet
Curb Weight: 4,217 pounds
Arv Voss
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring journalist and member and past officer of several noted automotive journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.