Published on September 11th, 2018 | by Subhash Nair0
Range Rover Velar: What We Liked and Disliked
Last week, we took the Land Rover Range Rover Velar P250 SE R-Dynamic out for a drive. It was definitely uncharted territory but a few hours with the car gave us the context we needed. While we formulate a full review, here are some essential thoughts about what we liked and disliked about the car.
High-end Land Rovers are often very imposing things with large V8 engines and simplistic construction. This was NOT the case in the Range Rover Velar we took. Under the hood was an ultra-modern, highly-efficient, and fairly powerful 2-litre turbo petrol engine. An 8-speed ZF gearbox was present as well. This, combined with Land Rover’s Terrain Response technology, lent the car great performance characteristics.
This is essentially what is expected of any modern SUV, plus Land Rover added some proper off-roading capabilities to the mix. What’s more, it has all the amenities and equipment one would expect from a modern premium SUV, more of this in the review.
Despite sharing a lot of common specifications and outputs as German rivals, the Velar’s suspension characteristics and throttle response was a little refined than its competitors.
It’s probably down to the fact that the Velar is still expected to be a serious off-roading machine. However, since most buyers are going to spend time using this car on tarmac doing regular driving, we can’t ignore its performance as a soft-roader.
The Velar is an extremely striking vehicle. Land Rover’s current design language is pushed the to new levels here. Intricate detail is everywhere you look. Even the lighting helps create new levels of drama.
There are also a lot of parts that extend and retract into the car (door handles, step, gear selector, infotainment display) which further enhance the spectacle that is the Velar. Use of textures and material is good, above par when compared to a few of its competitors.
There are many ways to make a car feel and look special. And while the objective was achieved, Land Rover definitely tried very risky things. The dramatic rear end, for instance, is somewhat ruined by a misaligned boot lid.
Motorising the door handles and gear selector, two very essential parts, may look good now, but may not be the best idea for longevity.
These days, luxury is about exclusivity. With so many premium brands selling thousands of cars in Malaysia annually, true exclusivity is a rare commodity.
Land Rover is one of the few brands that have managed to properly package cars in a way that makes all competitors look like reasonable business expenses. The Range Rover Velar is a symbol of opulence. It’s not a car for the elite accountants of the world, it’s a car for the people paying those accountants.
Unfortunately, to know where a product stands, one must look at its closest rivals. Doing this reveals the Velar’s biggest flaw – it’s too expensive for most Malaysians to consider. Of course, this would be totally fine if it was an full-blown Range Rover or even Range Rover Sport.
However, the Range Rover Velar leans closer toward its smaller sibling, the Range Rover Evoque. This means it still comes across as a watered down version of the real thing. Had it been truly competitive against its German, Swedish and Japanese rivals, we would have given it a pass. But there are just too many things it does wrong for it to get away with a price tag of half a million Ringgit.