One look at the 2021 Range Rover Velar is enough to convince even the most discerning eye that Land Rover’s designers hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately, the Velar’s blasé driving demeanor doesn’t match its natty attire. Buyers can choose from a turbocharged four-cylinder, a hybridized inline-six, or a raucous V-8 engine, but none of the Velar models quite match rivals such as the BMW X3 or the Porsche Macan for driving satisfaction. Instead, the appeal here is in the Velar’s curb appeal and its high-style cabin, which is outfitted with all manner of tech baubles, as well as nicely chosen materials suitable for an SUV bearing the Range Rover name.
What’s New for 2021?
While the Velar’s base turbocharged four-cylinder carries over unchanged for 2021, last year’s supercharged V-6 engine has been discontinued in favor of a new turbocharged-and-supercharged 3.0-liter inline-six using a 48-volt hybrid system to make 335 horsepower in P340 models and 395 horsepower in the P400. The Velar’s infotainment also receives a big upgrade in the form of Land Rover’s new Pivi Pro software interface. Land Rover has added an active noise cancellation system and an optional cabin air filtration feature.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We’d love to recommend the raucous SV Autobiography model, but its price tag puts it out of reach of most consumers. Instead, we’d recommend going with the P250 R-Dynamic S, which adds 19-inch wheels, a dual exhaust with polished finishers, a blacked-out grille, and leather-and-suede interior upholstery. We’d also suggest adding the Dynamic Handling package, which includes an adjustable suspension system, a drive-mode selector, and All Terrain Progress Control, which acts as a sort of adaptive cruise control for low speeds or in slippery conditions.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The base engine is a 247-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that is well behaved enough but struggles to move the Velar’s substantial heft. We sampled a four-cylinder Velar for a 40,000 mile long-term test, and that model required 7.4 seconds to hit 60 mph. The turbocharged-and-supercharged 3.0-liter inline-six will undoubtedly provide better acceleration performance, but we haven’t yet tested this new powertrain, which is offered in both 335- or 395-hp flavors. The supercharged V-8 in the SV Autobiography is charismatic and powerful, but that model’s high entry price puts it in an entirely different class, going up against the Porsche Macan Turbo, Mercedes-AMG GLC-class, and the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Much like the Velar’s acceleration, its handling is by no means sporty. The suspension competently controls the SUV’s body motions and keeps body roll in check while returning a firm, well-managed ride. Models equipped with the available air suspension can raise and lower their ride height for either more dynamic moves on-road or greater dexterity off it.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA hasn’t released fuel economy estimates for the Velar’s new inline-six engine yet, but the turbocharged four-cylinder carries ratings of 21 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. In our 75-mph highway fuel economy test, the four-cylinder Velar delivered just 26 mpg. The more powerful SV Autobiography model is rated for 15 mpg city and 20 mpg highway and nailed its highway rating figure in our test.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Dig modern architecture? You’ll probably like the Velar’s simple interior, rendered largely from horizontal lines and bold rectilinear forms. Oh, and the materials used throughout are high quality and deployed in interesting ways. Take the door trim: Instead of using a spear of wood or carbon fiber inlaid into the upper part of the door panels, Land Rover adds the owner’s choice of wood or metal into the section of the door between the upper and lower panels. Our test vehicle featured aluminum trim, and every Velar has excellent detailing throughout. The Velar’s generally boxy shape and visually pleasing rear overhang—bodywork that extends behind the rear wheels—combine to swallow more carry-on suitcases than its immediate competitors with its rear seats up or folded. We fit 10 of our carry-ons behind the rear seats and 23 with all seats folded.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Of course, we’d be remiss if we discussed the interior without tipping our caps to the wildly futuristic-looking dual dashboard-touchscreen displays. These dual 10.0-inch displays run Land Rover’s new Pivi Pro infotainment interface, which is both easier to use and more responsive than last year’s InControl Touch Pro system, but it’s not without its quirks. Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, voice control, eight speakers, in-dash navigation, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration are all standard. A better audio system with more speakers and SiriusXM satellite radio requires additional options or a move up through the Velar’s trim levels.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Land Rover makes available the latest driver-assistance technologies such as automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control on the Velar. Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has tested the Velar for crashworthiness. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The Velar’s four-year, 50,000-mile limited warranty is pretty much par for the course among its competitors. Interestingly, Jaguar’s mechanically similar F-Pace carries both a stronger warranty and a five-year, 60,000-mile complimentary scheduled maintenance plan; the latter is something that Land Rover only offers as a dealer add-on.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
More Features and Specs
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