There’s a huge difference between a fling and a relationship.
Late last year, we spent an entire day with the all-new 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar, the fourth member of the Range Rover lineup. And what a day it was. We met it at a picturesque boutique hotel, then went on an adventure with it through the desert scenery of Palm Springs, California. We stopped off for snacks, then went for a hike through terrain that would look perfect on a post card. Over the course of the day, we got to learn about the different facets to the Velar’s personality, such as how energetic its available 380-horsepower supercharged 3.0-liter gas V6 is and how the ground clearance provided by the available air suspension takes the stress out of going over rough southwestern trails.
However, that was just several hours with the Velar. We knew living with one could be an entirely different experience. When Land Rover gave us the chance to do that for a whole week with a 2018 Velar R-Dynamic HSE D180, we took it.
2018 Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic HSE Exterior
We weren’t expecting any surprises from the outside of the Velar and we didn’t get any. We were fine with that. The Velar looked as sleek and modern in our neck of the woods as it did on the West Coast. With its subtle Byron Blue paint and distinct lack of chrome, it softly announced – instead of shouted – its presence.
R-Dynamic models come standard with LED headlights, power folding and heated side mirrors, and a gesture-activated liftgate. Our particular test vehicle was also equipped with the R-Dynamic Black Package, which darkened areas such as the hood vents, hood and tailgate lettering, front grille mesh, and lower body. The headlights flowed back into the front fenders as the seemingly floating roof sloped gently back toward the liftgate and its brilliant U-shape tail lights. The Velar looked as if it could effortlessly slip through the wind. It didn’t escape the attention of the people around us, though. Out on the road and in parking lots, we caught people gazing at the Velar. Whether or not they knew what it was, they seemed to like what they saw. We certainly did – even on Day 7.
2018 Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic HSE Interior
As much as we enjoyed getting an eyeful of the Velar’s sleek lines, we spent most of our week with it behind the wheel. Automakers always take a risk when they put a longstanding and beloved name on a new model. For decades, the name Range Rover has been synonymous with not only off-road capability, but elegance and luxury, as well. Land Rover can rest easy because the inside of the Velar was everything the cabin of a modern Range Rover should be. Just as we learned in California, it was quiet. Our tester’s perforated Light Oyster Windsor leather seats and door panel trim contrasted with the soft-touch Ebony dashboard and door uppers. Shadow Aluminum trim and the sleek screens of the Touch Pro Duo infotainment and vehicle management system gave our surroundings a modern flair. It was almost as if we were in a hot new upscale lounge. All we were missing were drinks with hand-cut ice cubes theatrically prepared by an expert mixologist.
A sliding panoramic roof; 20-way, heated, ventilated, and massaging front seats; 825-watt Meridian surround sound system; and power reclining rear seats come standard on the R-Dynamic version of the Velar. Our test vehicle featured the optional heated steering wheel, illuminated metal treadplates, loadspace storage rails, and premium carpet mats. The Climate Package added four-zone climate control, cabin air ionization, and a cooled glovebox. The Convenience Package gave us a cargo space partition net, the ability to lower the rear seats with buttons in the luggage area, and an Activity Key wristband for truly keyless entry. We wanted for nothing. We felt privileged, comfortable, and confident—exactly how we did when we drove Range Rovers and Range Rover Sports in the past. It’s safe to say the Velar earned the 10 letters on its hood.
2018 Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic HSE Performance
Just behind that legendary name tag was Jaguar Land Rover’s turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder diesel engine. As the D180 badge implies, it produces 180 horsepower. Torque peaks at 317 lb-ft. Engineers connected that engine to an eight-speed automatic with Sport mode and permanent all-wheel drive. According the EPA, that power train configuration is capable of 26 city, 30 highway, and 28 combined mpg.**
The Velar’s Terrain Response system allowed us to quickly and easily change its driving dynamics, such as throttle response and traction control, based on the type of ground we were covering in it. Available modes included Dynamic, Eco, Comfort, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud Ruts, and Sand. We used Grass/Gravel/Snow a lot during the Velar media launch and found it to be effective at helping us traverse rough and bumpy paths through the desert. Throughout our week with the Velar, we focused on its Normal and Dynamic modes. Even with regular steel springs, it provided a smooth, gentle ride. The sound of the diesel was barely perceptible. Using the Comfort setting and turning the transmission dial to its sport mode position was a nice midpoint between the Velar’s regular performance setup and its hotter Dynamic calibration. When we engaged Dynamic mode, the diesel’s and eight-speed auto’s reflexes grew sharper and their appetites for velocity became more intense. We had our fun with that, but the Velar was such a pleasure to drive in its Comfort mode that we often just left it there. The magic and charm the Velar exhibited during our time with it in Palm Springs was still there when we decided to get a little more serious with it.
2018 Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic HSE Safety
Being a thoroughly modern, confidence-inspiring vehicle, the Velar R-Dynamic HSE offers an extensive amount of safety features. Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist and Intelligent Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, automatic Emergency Braking, and Blind Spot Assist are standard. Add front, front side, and full-length head curtain airbags to that list, too.
2018 Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic HSE Overall
After our pleasant one-day fling with the Velar during its North American media debut, we decided to give a longer relationship with it a shot, even if it was just for a week. We’d say it worked out.
Prices for the Velar R-Dynamic start at $60,100.* Our Velar R-Dynamic HSE D180 had an as-tested price of $75,415. If you’d like to start a rewarding relationship with the 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar, you can meet it at an AutoNation-affiliated Land Rover dealership.
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.