Published on May 25th, 2024 | by Subhash Nair


Range Rover Velar P250 Review: Bridging The Gap

The Range Rover Velar does a fine job of bridging the gap between Evoque & Range Rover Sport.

Last year, Malaysia got the facelifted Range Rover Velar which brought a refreshed design, more equipment, a minimalist interior philosophy and just one powertrain option. For those unfamiliar, there are three sub-brands within Land Rover – Defender (think premium rugged, boxy G-Class competitor), Discovery (think premium but dressed down off-roader), and Range Rover (upmarket, dressed up off-roaders).

Range Rover products start with the Evoque – the smallest and only one with a transversely-mounted engine. One tier above the Evoque is the Velar, which delivers a usable size and a longitudinally-mounted powertrain. This is the sweet spot, as the price and size of Range Rover products quickly rise when shopping for anything more than a Velar.

There are three specifications on offer, starting with the M-spec at RM638,800. The options are plentiful, but the price adds up quickly and our tester comes Windsor leather and 22″ 10-spoke Style 1075 alloy wheels and a few other toys for about RM100,000 extra. It’s pretty clear these cars are made for another class of buyer who’s far removed from the mainstream.

Range Rover Velar wheel

In Malaysia the Velar comes to us in P250 form, meaning its powertrain consists of a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder Ingenium motor that sends power to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic. The smaller engine keeps road tax and fuel consumption low, so it really does work as a less expensive, scaled down version of a proper Range Rover.

The facelift brings the Velar into the 2020s with a cleaner look and a focus on tech. Slim Pixel LED headlights with a jewel-like LED daytime running light communicate that this is a slightly tweaked Land Rover design language. The taillight signature is also slightly different this time around. The radiator grille has also been reshaped, but it’s not very obvious with the Black Exterior Pack. The Velar facelift retains its signature design features – a trim strip that runs from the corner of the tailgate lid right into the front bumper intake and a corresponding crease that runs parallel to this trim piece connecting the headlights to the taillights. You even get a hidden silhouette stamped into the B-pillar to remind you of the car’s signature lines.

While some may scoff at the idea of paying such a huge sum of money for the Velar, you also have to remember that full-sized Range Rover now costs RM2.488 million and the Range Rover Sport costs RM1.698 million… At RM638,800 the Velar isn’t a steal but it’s adequately positioned in the line-up for the brand given its ambitions of being the Porsche of luxury SUVs.

Range Rover Velar from the rear

You also have to take into account how much of the Velar’s cost is hidden in the engineering. 81% of the body-in-white consists of aluminium alloys at the largest aluminium body shop in Europe, at the historically significant Solihull production site. The use of aluminium helps Land Rover keep the weight of this thing manageable while also making it rigid enough to handle proper off-road terrain.

Obviously, very few Velar owners are going to take this thing off tacmac but at the same time, should the need arise this is one luxury SUV that has the hardware and software to actually get itself unstuck where its locally-assembled peers would have to wait for the weather to change.

Plus it gets style points for the little things. Land Rover certainly have a flair for design and even with a minimalist design there are enough details here to draw the eyes.

Behind the wheel, it’s a dignified drive that can handle a bit of hard shoving around corners. This chassis in combination with Active Road Noise Cancellation actually make the cabin really quiet even at high speed. This is yet another factor that distinguishes the Velar from the Evoque – it feels a bit more removed from the action behind the hood, which is what one wants out of a luxury SUV.

The steering wheel’s wrapped in some lovely leather but we were not a fan of the glossy black steering controls that are not individually separated for each function. It achieves a more upmarket look, but some sense of tactility is lost. It’s also a shame that the metal bezel has been removed from the option list – we remember it elevating our experience of the car in the previous generation. The digital gauges also seemed to be a little lower in terms of frames per second shown than on many rival displays. That being said, the menus and fonts are all a class above the competition. It’s also neat that there are both night and day themes for the digital elements.

It’s tough to blend classy and minimalist design language together but the Velar does so effortlessly, especially with the facelift model. Before, there was a bit too much drama going on with the deploying of the infotainment headunit at start-up and the secondary display taking up loads of room. Now things are simplified and kept as clean as possible, which also opens up space for storage and more.

The 11.4″ curved glass of the Pivi Pro infotainment system is truly one of a kind in the industry. Plus there are persistent menu items along the sides giving access to core functionality and climate controls. Cabin Air Purification Plus is one of the highlights of this new Velar as we certainly found it interesting to learn that Ara Damansara still has relatively good air quality even during peak traffic hours. Apple Carplay and Android Auto are also present.

Unlike the Evoque, the Velar was designed with rear occupants in mind. There’s more than enough room for four adults to sit in comfort and a fifth adult can squeeze in no problem. Besides the panoramic sunroof, there are loads of other little things to enjoy around back. The rear seat backs recline with a power adjustment button located around the side of the bench.

Fold the armrest down and you’ll find a couple of USB type-C ports hidden away.

Those at the rear not only get their own air cond vents but their own individual climate zone controls and it’s a good mix of digital and physical buttons here which we like. Everything down to the last switch follows the same design language set in the front and in all Range Rover products.

Perhaps the best aspect of this cabin is the genuine Windsor leather. In an age where even premium brands are fitting Million-Ringgit cars with synthetic leather, it’s such a breath of fresh air to finally see some high-grade leather in a cabin.

It’s also a rather practical cargo mover as well with the expected powered tailgate, drop-down seats, 12V socket and flip out hooks. It’s large enough for a family getaway or for the odd oversized cargo piece.

In closing, the Range Rover Velar is a fine vehicle for an affluent family-oriented buyer who wants something a touch more stately than your average German SUV and doesn’t want something as large as a Volvo XC90. It’s a touch expensive for sure, and you can find more agile and dynamic SUVs out there but if its ruggedness, capability, comfort, class, style you’re looking for then the Velar is in a class of its own. For 13% more money than an Evoque, it’s definitely more than 13% more car so perhaps it’s time for the Velar to have its moment to shine.

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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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