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Dynamic by name, dynamic by nature
Beautiful interior packed with technology
Great handling but with SUV practicality
Expensive running costs and high tax bills
Up against stiff opposition in the premium performance SUV sector
Start button is awkwardly positioned away from view
The Range Rover Velar is the company’s flagship model – it oozes quality, style and great driving dynamics. And while Land Rover has added plug-in hybrid technology to the line-up, there is also a model at the other end of the scale that is not quite so friendly to the planet.
It’s the Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic and it delivers outstanding pace and performance ability that seems to break every rule in the book.
And on top of that, the Velar was voted the world car design of the year in 2018, so it really looks the business too.
On The Road
Beneath the bonnet of the Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic is a 5.0-litre V8 Supercharged petrol engine delivering 550PS and 680Nm of torque and that means this is quite a powerhouse of a vehicle.
And the performance figures are the ultimate proof of that with a 0-62mph sprint time of 4.5 seconds and top speed of 170mph.
This is a car that offers the practicality of an SUV, but delivers the wow factor when it comes to performance.
Press the start button and this Velar bursts into life with a fearsome roar (you won’t be on any neighbour’s Christmas lists if you work shifts!) and the acceleration through the eight-speed quick-shift automatic transmission is rapid with steering wheel-mounted paddles for added driver engagement.
The design of this model has been tweaked to deliver improved aerodynamics and that in turn means an enhanced performance.
It cruises on motorways, but is as agile as any SUV could possibly be through the country lanes where the sports-tuned electronic differential ensures the greatest level traction in all weather conditions both on and off road.
The steering is beautifully weighted with perfect levels of driver feedback and it’s deceptively agile in busier town centres where all the sensors, cameras and parking aids are really practical.
The Range Rover Velar is perfectly balanced with very little sign of body sway into tight bends – even when attacked quite eagerly.
There are drive modes to flick through called Dynamic, Eco and Comfort as well as some off-road settings such as Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud ruts and Sand.
In the ‘sensible’ driving modes, it can be quite mature and refined. But, select Dynamic and expect your breath to be taken away. The volume is cranked up and the acceleration, brakes, gear shifts and steering all gain a certain edge that’s definitely not for the fainthearted.
You may notice a little body sway in this mode, but generally the car is incredibly forgiving and the air suspension does a very worth job of making our crumbling roads seem silky smooth.
And being a full blooded Land Rover, the Velar is more than capable away from the comfort of the Tarmac. Most owners will be reluctant to get the car that dirty, but it does offer all the assurances of a ‘proper’ 4×4 should Mother Nature have a particularly bad mood swing.
The front double wishbone suspension system is modelled on the Jaguar F-Type for precise and controlled handling and, at the rear, an integral link suspension system provides stiffness for improved ride quality and enhanced dynamic capability.
The car has an intelligent, torque-on-demand all-wheel drive system to deliver optimum torque distribution in any conditions. This means the Velar can perform dynamically on the open road or pull sharply away on polished ice.
Building on the looks of a car that has scooped the world Design Car of the Year award in 2018 is a tricky project as you wouldn’t want to spoil any of the Velar’s gorgeous looks. But the SVAutobiography Dynamic model builds on the styling adding quite an aggressive tone to the mix.
It boasts Matrix LED headlights with signature daytime running lights, a black contrast roof, rear fog lights, quad exhaust pipes, a more aerodynamic grille, a sliding panoramic roof, door handles that are flush to the bodywork, forged 21-inch alloys that are exclusive to the model and red brake calipers.
The bonnet and fender vents have a unique gloss black outer finish and Graphite Atlas inner finish to complete the dynamic styling.
This car has all the beautiful looks we have come to associate with the Range Rover Velar, but has a certain edge as well.
The interior is premium quality throughout with 20-way powered seats created from the finest Windsor leather with a quilted pattern – they have memory settings and can be heated or ventilated. And there is a massage function for extra pampering on longer trips.
There are premium carpets, soft-touch surfaces, beautiful door panels and trims, a neat rotary shifter, along with clear instrumentation and a steering wheel that has thumb rests.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
With full powered seats and steering wheel, finding the ideal driving position is a breeze in the Range Rover Velar and the settings can be stored away just in case someone grabs the keys and alters everything.
The elevated seating position results in good all-round visibility and all dials, readouts and controls are perfectly positioned within the cockpit for ease of use.
The list of on-board technology seems endless with Land Rover’s innovative Touch Pro Duo screens that provide quick and simple access to the plethora of on-board systems. There is a pitch-perfect Meridian surround sound system, sat nav, full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, four-zone climate control, a DAB radio and plenty more besides.
The 10-inch high definition screens offer sharp graphics with the top one offering access to all the infotainment functions and the lower one being where all the climate control settings are located.
There is also a 12.3-inch high-definition driver display that can be personalised to taste and shows a wealth of driving data and can be converted to a full 3D map for navigation instructions.
A head-up display helps to reduce distractions from looking at the road ahead and special mention to the rear seat entertainment with two eight-inch screens built into the front headrests. They should keep the kids happy on longer journeys.
Space & Practicality
At the end of the day, despite all the dynamic styling, the Velar is a family SUV so needs to tick all the right boxes when it comes to practicality. It does just that with a boot that can accommodate 558 litres of kit, increasing to 1,731 litres with the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
It is accessed via a powered tailgate which is really handy if you are carrying lots of shopping bags and there are plenty of convenient storage compartments scattered throughout the car too. These include a lockable glovebox, a central cubby box containing the USB ports, a SIM card slot and 12V outlet. There are deep door bins, front and rear cup holders, seat back pockets and a secret storage section hidden away by the gear selector dial.
Back seat passengers have plenty of leg, head and elbow space, and while a trio of adults could fit comfortably in the back, they would be rubbing shoulders.
The rear doors open nice and wide offering easy access to child seats and, with the elevated seating positions, the Velar is ideal for anyone with mobility issues.
The vehicle has a detachable tow bar and can pull a trailer or caravan weighing up to 2.5 tonnes. Obviously, all the 4WD systems will prove beneficial if towing across slippery or muddy ground.
Our Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic was priced at £86,685 with privacy glass adding a further £400 to the price-tag.
As you might suspect, a car powered by a mighty V8 5.0-litre Supercharged engine gets quite thirsty and you would be spot on with the assumption. Because this car delivers a combined 23.0mpg – and that’s if you drive in a more sedate manner. Drive in Dynamic mode and with a heavy right boot and watch that average fuel figure drop into the teens.
There is more bad news on the running costs front too as the car emits 270g/km of carbon emissions and that means you will be stung for high road tax bills. The first year Vehicle Excise Duty charge on the car will be £2,245 dropping to the standard fee of £155 after 12 months.
But that’s not all as this Velar is priced above £40k, there is a premium car rate levy to be paid. This will set owners back an additional £335 for five years.
The test car sits in the highest insurance group too rated at 50.
Quality & Reliability
In fairness to Land Rover, the Range Rover Velar looks invincible in its design, especially in SVAutobiography Dynamic guise with its added aggression. It looks like a car that could conquer the world and, in fairness, with full Land Rover off-road know-how, it probably could!
As well as delivering all the bells and whistles when it comes to luxury, the Velar has been designed to overcome the roughest of terrains. So it should be just fine powering along our motorways, fizzing through our somewhat pitted country lanes and venturing further afield away from solid ground when called upon.
The interior has been crafted from the finest leather upholstery but it has also been designed with longevity and durability in mind. The touchscreens are easily wiped clean and all the switchgear feels sturdy too.
However, Land Rover does have a somewhat iffy reputation when it comes to reliability and it’s a reputation that’s proving difficult to shake off. Despite its best efforts, the company often scores poorly in customer satisfaction surveys which is not what you would expect from a premium manufacturer.
The vehicle comes with a standard three-year, unlimited mileage warranty.
Safety & Security
The Range Rover Velar was awarded a maximum five stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating and the car is packed with technology to protect occupants, pedestrians and other road users while also helping to prevent accidents happening in the first place.
Our car featured lane keep assist, electronic brakeforce distribution, adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, blind spot assist, a driver condition monitor, high-speed emergency braking, real traffic monitor, plus traffic sign recognition with adaptive speed limiter.
There is a warning system that monitors the brake pads and there are Isofix fittings along with six airbags.
In addition, there are all manner of driver assist features, including hill descent control, dynamic stability control, roll stability control, cornering brake control, hill launch assist, gradient release control and much more besides.
With the pace that the Velar SV Autobiography Dynamic offers, the brakes need to be spot on. With that in mind, the car boasts the striking red Land Rover calipers delivering a performance braking system with rapid, precise responses especially when repeatedly braking from higher speeds.
The vehicle has full security immobiliser and alarm systems for added protection.
The Range Rover Velar SV Autobiography Dynamic is the ultimate proof that performance really doesn’t need to be compromised for practicality. This car can do the daily chores and will be the coolest vehicle on the school run, but when unleashed it’s a whole new experience altogether.
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