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2018 Range Rover Velar P380 V-6

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 12/8/2017 ALEXANDER STOKLOSA

2018 Range Rover Velar P380 V-6 2018 Range Rover Velar P380 V-6 - Instrumented Test The “compact luxury crossover” descriptor is hardly vivid enough for Land Rover’s Range Rover Velar. The SUV is on the large side of that class and looks it, measuring just shy of the mid-size Range Rover Sport in every dimension. The Velar’s outsize luxuriousness and sleek style further elevate its station above staider (and smaller) sales chasers such as Audi’s Q5 and the BMW X3.

Just don’t call the Velar fat—although it is heavy at 4676 pounds, it’s more big boned. Literally. Underneath its sleeker, low-roof take on Range Rover’s signature rectilinear styling sits the same plus-size architecture that underpins Jaguar’s F-Pace. However, Land Rover tunes most of the Jag’s athleticism out of the chassis, although we’re okay with that, particularly on a luxury-minded SUV. Still, the Velar’s ride could be softened just a smidge further to match the handling’s relaxed vibe.

Engine Trio

There are three engine choices, none of which stands out as a runaway must-have. Base models use a 247-hp turbocharged inline-four and carry the P250 moniker, denoting their 250(-ish) horsepower and P-for-petrol (gasoline) appetite. We have yet to test a P250, but we’ve driven one and it doesn’t move the Velar with much verve. A 180-hp turbo-diesel four-cylinder that flies under the D180 banner is optional, and it is even more sluggish than the P250. Finally, there is the 380-hp supercharged gasoline V-6 tested here, which gets the designation P380.

Related Video: Range Rover Velar: Luxury looks, high tech, off road prowess (Provided by Roadshow)

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Although the six is used in other Jaguar Land Rover products, in the Velar it lacks the sweet exhaust note it exhibits in other JLR applications. And while much of the tire, wind, and suspension noises don’t enter the cabin, the V-6’s unrefined sounds manage to penetrate its firewall. A full-throttle run to highway speeds whips up a great din from the engine, and you’ll get the sense that even this range-topping V-6 and its attendant eight-speed automatic transmission labor to move the hefty SUV. Indeed, the Velar, at 5.7 seconds to 60 mph, is a significant 0.6 second slower than its mechanical twin, the Jaguar F-Pace S. This Range Rover also returned a disappointing 17 mpg overall during our test.

Wow Factor

We suggest embracing the Velar’s relaxed driving demeanor while spending time admiring the stunning interior. Modern and well appointed, the cabin is assembled from high-quality materials combined and executed in novel ways. Take, for example, the door trim, which is available in typical materials such as wood or aluminum but is incorporated in the recessed part of the door panels alongside the elbow rests.

2018 Range Rover Velar P380 V-6© Chris Doane Automotive 2018 Range Rover Velar P380 V-6

Even with all that, the rest of the interior is outshined in wow factor by Land Rover’s all-new dual-display infotainment system, InControl Touch Pro Duo. The system banishes nearly every major physical button in the cabin save for the headlight switch, the transmission’s rotary-knob gear selector, and the window switches. Visually, this is a coup. The two glossy 10-inch touchscreens, which are augmented by the Velar’s standard digital gauge cluster, look incredible.

The upper screen primarily handles audio, navigation, and settings functions, while the lower display swaps between climate controls and driving-mode settings. It’s all stunning to behold, but a dark shadow of confusion draws over the displays when it comes to their boggling configurability. For some reason, one can set the two displays and the gauge cluster to show current audio information or a phone menu—simultaneously. Alternatively, one can pull up a navigation map on the upper central screen and in one of four locations in the gauge cluster: Left of a central tachometer, right of that tachometer, centralized between a tachometer and speedometer, or full width across the entire display. Those four spaces also can play host to audio, phone, and other menus.

With time, owners will likely grow used to the menus or simply set (or have the dealer adjust) them to their liking and never mess with them again. Ditto the multifunction rotary knobs embedded in the lower screen, which—depending on what menu the lower screen is set to—can conceivably alter each front-seat climate zone’s temperature, fan speed, seat-heat or -ventilation levels, and—driver’s side only—choose from among the Velar’s six driving modes. Jumping from one adjustment to the other requires more button presses than seems necessary. Want to adjust the heated seat while the driving-mode menu is active? Tap a shortcut tab at the top of the screen to jump back into the climate menu, then press the rotary dial to switch it to seat-heat adjustment. You’ll probably want to do this while the car is stopped. Worse than the screens’ ergonomic flaws are their occasionally slow and inconsistent responses to touch inputs. This is a criticism we’ve previously leveled at various JLR infotainment systems.

2018 Range Rover Velar P380 V-6© ALEXANDER STOKLOSA 2018 Range Rover Velar P380 V-6

Model Handsome

Perhaps the Velar’s greatest trick is that it doesn’t sacrifice practicality on the altar of style. Although the interior isn’t as cavernous as the Velar’s exterior dimensions suggest, it is useful and roomy. Thanks in part to the ample rear overhang, there is a class-leading 34 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row seats. And Land Rover even cleverly installs a switch in the cargo area for lowering the air suspension (on models so equipped), helping to mitigate the Velar’s somewhat high lift-over height.

Infotainment teething issues aside, the Velar is successful at its mission of feeling like a true luxury good; it’s a comfortable, attractive thing that looks expensive. And it can really nail that last bit, especially the P380 version. Step up the trim-level ladder to our test car’s R-Dynamic HSE spec, and you’re facing a $78,095 bill before adding any options. That’s a long way from the base, $50,895 Velar P250, not to mention the $65,195 Velar S P380 (the cheapest way to get the V-6). Of course, our test vehicle carried a few options on top of the R-Dynamic HSE trim—$11,565 worth—including a $3060, 1600-watt Meridian audio system; an $1125 locking rear differential; the $1380 extended-leather package; $870 for four-zone automatic climate control; and a $580 On/Off Road package with off-road-specific driving modes. The rest of the cost was tied up in nicer floor mats, ambient interior lighting, an R-Dynamic Black exterior trim package, a heated windshield, and other assorted knickknacks. Nick some of those knacks, and you’ll get the same high style for slightly less.

Specifications

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback 

PRICE AS TESTED: $89,660 (base price: $65,195)

ENGINE TYPE: supercharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 183 cu in, 2995 cc

Power: 380 hp @ 6500 rpm

Torque: 332 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS:

Wheelbase: 113.1 in

Length: 189.1 in

Width: 80.0 in Height: 65.6 in

Passenger volume: 99 cu ft

Cargo volume: 34 cu ft

Curb weight: 4676 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS:

Zero to 60 mph: 5.7 sec

Zero to 100 mph: 14.6 sec

Zero to 130 mph: 30.2 sec

Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 6.1 sec

Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.6 sec

Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.6 sec

Standing ¼-mile: 14.2 sec @ 99 mph

Top speed (mfr's est): 155 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 175 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad*: 0.83 g

*stability-control-inhibited

C/D FUEL ECONOMY:

Observed: 17 mpg

75-mph highway driving: 22 mpg

Highway range: 360 mi

EPA FUEL ECONOMY:

Combined/city/highway: 20/18/24 mpg

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