Car Reviews SUV of the Year

Range Rover Velar: 2019 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Finalist

The SUV as modern art

The SUV as modern art

WE LIKE Stunning design, compliant ride, all-road capability

WE DON’T LIKE Digital user interface, interior trim glare, poor price-value

If the Jeep Wrangler is an analog off-roader, the Velar is the digital future, with its various drivetrain and suspension modes selectable by touch rather than tugging at levers. Which would be fine if the Velar touchscreens’ user interface and switches were fast, intuitive, and reliable. Unfortunately, they’re not. “When it comes to using this interior, nothing is easy,” Christian Seabaugh grumbled. “Bad electronics are ruining an otherwise nice car for me.”

True that, because for most judges the Velar was love at first sight. Its elegant, sheer surfacing, extravagant proportions, and obsessively reductive detailing set a new benchmark for modern SUV styling. “Advancement in design? Do you even have to ask?” Scott Evans said. The haute couture interior has only one glaring design fault—literally. Sunlight reflected off the shiny aluminum on the center console is blinding, bad enough to be a deal-breaker for customers in Sun Belt states.

On the road the Velar is defined by great body control and chassis balance, enhanced by delicate steering. “Remarkably strong handling for a car this big,” Mark Rechtin said. “It feels really planted.” But the 380-hp V-6 is grainy at idle and under load. The 180-hp I-4 diesel is, apart from startup, smoother and more efficient, but it takes almost twice as long to get the 4,500-pound (2,041-kg) Velar to 60 mph.

We found the Velar’s options pricing inscrutable. Although $70,000 USD gets you a cranking Meridian audio system, two versions we tested at this price point lacked adjustable lumbar in your powered seats, nor did either have smart cruise control.

The Range Rover Velar is gorgeous to look at and enjoyable to drive, which makes its niggling disappointments that much harder to bear.



2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar D180 S P380 S
Base Price/As tested $57,195/$66,820 $65,195/$69,461
Power (SAE net) 180 hp @ 4,000 rpm 380 hp @ 6,500 rpm
Torque (SAE net) 317 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm 332 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm
Accel, 0-60 mph 10.6 sec 5.8 sec
Quarter-mile 17.7 sec @ 78.2 mph 14.2 sec @ 99.2 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 131 ft 128 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.77 g (avg) 0.82 g (avg)
MT Figure Eight 28.6 sec @ 0.57 g (avg) 27.0 sec @ 0.65 g (avg)
EPA City/Hwy/Comb 26/30/28 mpg 18/24/20 mpg
Vehicle Layout Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine/Transmission 2.0L turbodiesel DOHC 16-valve I-4 /8-speed automatic 3.0L supercharged DOHC 24-valve V-6 /8-speed automatic
Curb Weight (F/R Dist) 4,491 lb (50/50%) 4,521 lb (50/50%)
Wheelbase 113.1 in 113.1 in
Length x Width x Height 189.1 x 76.0 x 65.6 in 189.1 x 76.0 x 63.1-67.0 in
Energy Cons, City/Hwy 145/126 kW-hrs/100 miles 187/140 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 Emissions, Comb 0.80 lb/mile 0.96 lb/mile