2018 Range Rover Velar Review: This Brit Will Delight Design Fans – and Luxury SUV Fans too!

2018 Range Rover Velar Luxury Suv

2018 Range Rover Velar Luxury Suv

The 2019 Range Rover Velar in Byron Blue. Photo: Scotty Reiss

It deserves a place alongside design stars Jimmy Choo, Burberry and Alexander McQueen for keeping you tall, dry and on the cutting edge.

Great design can soothe your soul at the same time it serves your needs. It can make you feel more powerful, more pampered and more privileged, even if you’re not. It can set you apart as one who is discerning and conscientious, even if you’re not. And in a car, design is often the first thing people notice–or don’t.

That was the first thing I loved about the Range Rover Velar: people noticed it and stopped to ask me about it. And there is a lot to say. Range Rover has completely re-thought many features, not just how they function, but how they look. The result is a modernly advanced and innovative car that captivates your intellect and soothes your soul.

2018 Range Rover Velar Luxury Suv Honeycomb Grille

The honeycomb front grille on the Velar gives this SUV a modern feel but harkens to the brand’s heritage, too. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Who This Car is For

  • Buyers who want a luxury SUV
  • Buyers who place a high value on design
  • Drivers who want off-road driving capability
  • Families or couples
  • Buyers who value Range Rover’s heritage of both design and capability
2018 Range Rover Velar Luxury Suv Front Cabin

The front cabin of the Range Rover Velar elegantly presents controls and screens. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What This Car Costs

  • Base price, which features a 4 cylinder 247 horsepower twin turbo engine, active safety features including lane departure warning, off-road driving features and head up display, $49,999
  • R-Dynamic model, which features a 6-cylinder, 380 horsepower supercharged engine, blind spot monitors, surround view camera, traffic sign recognition, 20” wheels and exterior design details: $60,100
  • First Edition top of the line model adds 22” wheels, suede interior details, lane keep assist, upgraded interior and design details: $89,300
  • R-Dynamic model we drove added enhanced blind spot monitors, driver condition monitor and adaptive speed limiter, heated steering wheel and windshield, Meridian premium sound system, Power Pro package with additional USB ports in the second row, interactive driver display cluster, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel and black roof rails, $72,326, including delivery charge

Further Reading:  Taking the Range Rover Td6 Diesel for a Spin

See our walkthrough of the Range Rover Velar, live streamed on Facebook:

Taking a Cue from Evoque, a Sexier, More Streamlined Range Rover

And that is what first gets people’s attention: The shape and slope of this SUV. The Velar is completely new for 2018 and its design was inspired by the very innovative-looking Evoque, which has a sleek, streamlined look that when it popped onto the landscape made everyone think Range Rover had gotten its mojo back. In a big way.

But the Evoque was small. Great for a couple or single driver, but could be a squeeze for a family of four. And at $50k, who wants to make compromises?

One of the things we most loved about the Range Rover Velar? This!


So the Velar was born to fill the spot between the Evoque and the full-size Range Rover Sport. Designed and built in Solihull, England, Range Rover’s home, the Velar is big enough to give you the feel of a full-sized SUV but not so big it feels as if you’re driving a living room on wheels.

But Velar takes it all a step further with its interior design: its design is innovative and beautiful, feeling every bit the cutting-edge luxury car you’d expect for $72,000.

Further Reading: The All-New Acura RDX Innovates the Luxury SUV 

2018 Range Rover Velar Luxury Suv Center Console

The center console has two screens, one for infotainment and one for vehicle settings such as climate and off road driving. Photo: Scotty Reiss

An Innovative Touch Screen System Adds Elegance and Imagination

Probably the most notable thing in the Velar’s interior is the curved glass of the center console. It presents controls and images to you in a beautiful, elegant and completely modern way. The lower touch screen isn’t framed in a chrome bracket and set on high, it’s right there, touchable, an extension of your fingers. Controlling some of the car’s functions, like all wheel drives settings and climate, it lights up when you need it and lights soften when you don’t.

Above it is a more standard touch screen (this one framed in chrome) that holds controls to the radio, phone and navigation. Not to be outdone, it sits at an angle from the dashboard (a quilted leather dashboard, that is!) but with the push of a button it can be darkened and folded away, flush with the dash. So elegant.

All these elegant touch screens may cause frustration to drivers in a panic looking for the radio column control or the air conditioning. The Velar takes care of that, too. There are knobs, two of them are rings actually, on the bottom of the touch screen that control the radio volume (the standard knob) and fan speed. A second ring controls the item on display such as vehicle settings or climate temperature. There are also set touch-controls for climate control so you’re never at the mercy of a loading screen.

Further Reading: Meet the All-New 2019 Infiniti QX50 Luxury SUV  

2018 Range Rover Velar Luxury Suv

The Range Rover Velar’s dials are evoked by the design of the gear selector (in the foreground). Photo: Scotty Reiss

The Design DNA Started With the Gear Selector. Really.

Those rings that control climate and functions? They mimic the design of the gear selector, which Land Rover and sister brands Range Rover and Jaguar introduced a few years ago. When the car is started, a dial magically arises from the center console, allowing you to select your gear. Dial it over to drive, or dial it a notch further for sport. And when you turn the car off, the dial disappears back into the console, laying flush with the surface.

It’s a bit of flourish in ‘presenting’ the gear selector to you, and while possibly not necessary, it never gets tiring.

2018 Range Rover Velar Luxury Suv Steering Wheel

The steering wheel in the Range Rover Velar has a modern, minimalist design, making it more open so you can see more of the dashboard. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The Next Innovation: The Steering Wheel

This one might seem hard to innovate. Steering wheels have gotten so advanced and do so much. Is there room to put any more controls on a steering wheel? Range Rover’s answer: Yes! And, without feeling cluttered or overwhelming (though it does take some learning). The wheel on the Velar has two modules on either side. Each is touch-sensitive and lights up to indicate function. They do the basic things—change the radio station, set the volume, activate voice control, etc— but in a simple touch function. The glossy black modules are also lovely to the touch and fingerprints wipe off easily. They were pleasant to look at and fun to use.

2018 Range Rover Velar Luxury Suv Dashboard

The dashboard and door panels are covered in this gorgeous diamond textured leather, giving the Velar an elegant, sophisticated feel. Photo: Scotty Reiss

An Elegant Interior for Those Not Obsessed with the Technology

Despite the captivating technology, we can’t forget we are in a luxury car. Just look around. The diamond-quilted leather-covered dashboard and door panels are a front-and-center reminder of this. So is the leather upholstery in a gorgeous beige. A soft headliner, or ceiling cover, in the same elegant color. And a panoramic sunroof, which brings even more light and loveliness into the car. If for nothing else, you feel comfortable, relaxed and pampered in this interior.

Climbing into the back, the seats are comfortable and the cabin is roomy. Though like most 5 passenger cars and SUVs, this one is better suited for two passengers and a bit cramped for 3.

2018 Range Rover Velar Luxury Suv Sunroof

That sunroof! The panoramic sunroof makes the Velar feel more spacious and open. Photo: Scotty Reiss

But Driving is the Real Purpose, Right?

And that experience doesn’t disappoint. The Velar R-Dynamic model we test drove was equipped with the larger 6-cylinder 380 horsepower engine. Probably more power than you’d ever need getting in and out of the valet or even onto the highway. But it was fun.

Making it more fun was the head up display, which is standard on all Velar models, and paddle shifters.

And, the dynamic off road settings. From height adjustment that elevates the car a few inches for higher ground clearance to drive modes for different settings, the Velar is designed to go everywhere a Range Rover should. We didn’t get to take it off road (this time!) but the capability is clearly engrained in the car’s DNA.

And that is the magic of the Velar. For all its design innovations and details, it still does what you want and need a car like this to do: get you where you need to go, with capability and confidence.

2018 Range Rover Velar Luxury Suv

A wide rear view camera gives you a great view behind the car. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What We Loved

  • The Velar’s streamlined, sexy design
  • The innovative center touch screens
  • The dial controls for climate, gear selection and more
  • That panoramic sunroof!
  • A re-imagined steering wheel
  • Motion activated lift gate, just swipe your foot under and voila, it opens!
  • Flush door handles that extend when the car is unlocked
  • Road sign recognition displays road signs and speed limit
  • Head up display
  • Five USB ports! Two in the front and three in back seat (these are an option)
2018 Range Rover Velar Luxury Suv

Rear seat legroom in the Velar is acceptable but not overly roomy. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What You Need to Know

  • This is a luxury car and it has a luxury price tag
  • Premium fuel is recommended but regular may be used
  • USB ports for the driver are inside the center armrest console
  • 4 year/50,000 mile warranty and roadside assistance included Estimated fuel economy: 18 MPG city/24 MPG highway; we averaged about 20 MPG in city driving


2018 Range Rover Velar Luxury Suv Cargo Room

The cargo area of the Range Rover Velar is ample with 34 cubic feet of space. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What We Listened to in the Range Rover Velar

This British import made us think a bit more in a jet-set mode. Here’s what we loved to listen to on the Meridian premium sound system:

Disclosure: The Range Rover Velar was provided for our review; all opinions are my own

2018 Range Rover Velar Monroney

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Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss