Many would agree that the Range Rover Velar is not only one of Range Rover’s best-looking model but also one of the best-looking SUV in the market. The design team at Range Rover so deservingly bagged the 2018 World Car Design of the Year at the New York International Auto Show. The lady owner of this Velar could not agree more as it was the design that attracted her to purchase this “baby” as she affectionately calls her Velar. It is a good move for Range Rover to move away from its traditional boxy, squarish DNA to one that is more in tune with time.
The Range Rover Velar chassis is a bit rigid, with understeer going into corners. Steering is not sensitive and “lagging” in response. I would expect a nice luxurious feel of the leather steering wheel but sadly that was not the case. The 265/45/21 standard Continental LX Sports tires is below expectation too. Not gripping as effectively as one would expect getting from a RM600K SUV.
I love using both the round-knob and paddle gear shifter. Driving in “manual” mode using the paddle shifter is a joy. Responsive, smooth, and easy to use, an excellent user experience (UX) indeed. The 8-speed gear changes are smooth with no jerky feeling. Acceleration is a tad slow. Range Rover should have engineered a better power to weigh ratio. The 1,999cc engine with 248 bhp seems to struggle a bit taking off with an almost 2-tonne body. The drive mode switch knob is smooth when switching between different drive modes, but the engine lags in response to the changes.
The so-called innovative Touch Pro Duo infotainment technology is quite cool. Having not one but two touch screens. However the features are not so “innovative” as many lower range vehicles already have these features in them. Touch screen is quite responsive. To disable the traction control and enabling the downhill assist, you need to hold onto the icon for a coupe of seconds to activate them. With so much technology builds in, all owners should get a tutoring lesson on how to fully utilize them.
The automatically deployed side steps should be made a standard feature for the Velar instead of an optional accessory because there are many seniors who find it hard to climb onboard. The rich after all do grow old and mobility becomes an issue. There are certain MPV that are fitted with rear seats that are capable of automatically extend outwards and downwards for the disable or physically challenged people. Now this feature is indeed innovative, useful and a great selling point, not only for MPV class but any other class of vehicle that has a height higher than a sedan.
In my opinion, a good comparison to the Velar would be the Volvo XC 90, although the XC 90 is cheaper by about RM200K, the safety features, driving comfort and sound proofing of the XC 90 beats the Velar hands down. For your information, the Volvo XC 60 was a top three finalist in the 2018 World Car Design of the year.