2024 Land Rover Range Rover Velar Review and Test Drive
Shoppers shouldn't overlook the British midsize luxury SUV — however imperfect.
Think you can't afford a Range Rover? I have good news. Now that the company that builds them considers Range Rover a brand instead of a model, there are four from which to choose, and the least expensive of them starts at just over $50,000. That's loaded Kia Telluride territory.
That sum buys you a base Evoque, the smallest member of the Range Rover family. The leader of the pack, the Range Rover, still lives at the top of the lineup, commanding a six-figure price tag — and then some. In between, you'll find the Range Rover Sport and the Range Rover Velar.
The Land Rover Range Rover Velar is a midsize SUV with two rows of seats, a five-passenger capacity, and up to 62.7 cubic-feet of cargo space. As with other Range Rovers, it offers significant off-roading capability. Still, it is likely to spend most of its time waiting for neighborhood gates to open rather than forging a path through the wilderness. It is styled and tuned for the posh environments where it typically lives but is ready for more challenging assignments, if necessary.
This year, the 2024 Range Rover Velar gets subtle exterior styling and interior design updates, a new infotainment system, and other minor modifications. The updates make the 2024 Velar more appealing than ever, but you'll still pay a premium for the Range Rover name spelled out on the leading edge of the hood.
2024 Velar Prices Put a Range Rover Within Reach — for Some
The 2024 Range Rover Velar is available in S, Dynamic SE, and Dynamic HSE trim levels. As of this publication, only the S and Dynamic SE are available. For those two versions, base prices range from the mid-$60,000s (S P250) to the low $70,000s (Dynamic SE P400), including the destination charge to ship the SUV from the Solihull, England, factory that builds it to your local dealership.
For this Range Rover Velar review, I test-drove the Dynamic SE P400 in Southern California. Highlights from the optional equipment list included 21-inch wheels, extra-cost paint, a Cold Climate Pack, a head-up display, and other cosmetic upgrades. These add-ons brought the manufacturer's suggested retail price to $80,533, including the $1,275 destination charge. Jaguar Land Rover provided the vehicle for this Velar review.
Range Rover Takes Reductive Design To New Levels
Range Rover is on a reductive design kick. Defined, it means simple, modern, uncluttered forms and details, inside and out. Arguably, the Velar was the first of the reductive Range Rovers when it appeared in 2018 with its smooth flanks, flush door handles, and tapered tail. Today, every Range Rover features a similar approach.
You can't deny the design is aging well. The Velar is seven years old, and it still looks fresh. For 2024, the SUV gets a new grille, headlights, and updated taillights with what Land Rover calls "super red" LEDs. In addition, a restyled rear bumper cover eliminates the previous Velar's unflattering high-waisted look.
The interior gets a new, tidy center console, and with the arrival of a next-generation Pivi Pro infotainment system, all the buttons and knobs are gone. The look is clean and elegant, but I still want at least one knob to adjust stereo volume and toggle to change radio stations.
While the latest infotainment system has a larger 11.4-inch touchscreen and an improved interface, you may still need to dive deeper into the menus. It is still easy to forget which menu provides access to what features and settings. That makes Pivi Pro distracting while driving, especially since you must jump through hoops to get the natural voice recognition system to work.
Generally speaking, Range Rover fits the Velar Dynamic SE's interior with quality materials. However, the plastic on the lower door panels looks inexpensive, and the tiny, almost useless driver's side floor mat had already lost the metal grommets that should hold it in place. The test vehicle had fewer than 4,000 miles on it.
Impressive Comfort for Four Adults
My test vehicle had 14-way power-adjustable front seats with heating and ventilation, a heated power-adjustable steering wheel, and perforated leather of decent quality. It proved comfortable to sit in and drive, but the Velar's rakish windshield and small driver door opening threatened my head each time I got into the SUV. Also, the upper corners of the front doors stick out, so watch your face and glasses when opening and closing them.
The back seat provides a satisfying seating position with good lumbar and leg support and decent legroom. Also, the standard panoramic glass sunroof extends entirely over the rear seating area. All that's missing are the expected rear-side window sunshades.
Adequate Storage and Cargo Space for This Type of Vehicle
Reductionism reduces more than clutter in the Range Rover Velar. Storage space is also a victim. Trays in the door armrest and sizable lower door panel bins help to make up for it. There's a handy smartphone charging pad behind a cover — located forward of the transmission shifter — where you can also stash house keys and whatnot. But the bin under the center armrest is small and has an impractical split top.
Cargo space behind the back seat is reasonable at 30.9 cu-ft. The luggage area includes hooks where you can hang grocery bags and a netted storage area to the side. The rear seat folds in a 40/20/40 split to create a maximum of 62.7 cu-ft of volume.
Pivi Pro Infotainment Is Better but Not the Best
The Velar gets a new version of the Pivi Pro infotainment system this year. It includes an 11.4-inch touchscreen display that appears to float in the middle of the dashboard and pairs with a standard Meridian sound system. A high-end 17-speaker Meridian 3D surround sound audio system is an option.
Infotainment system improvements include a larger screen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and Amazon Alexa integration. The most significant change is an improved user interface that Range Rover claims puts 80 percent of all tasks within two taps of the home screen.
I agree that Range Rover has improved this version of the infotainment system. However, I still find it frustrating to use because it often remains unclear where I might find a feature or a setting I seek. In addition, the small shortcut icons on the periphery of the display are challenging to use while the Velar is moving. They require a moment to find and fingertip accuracy to achieve success.
The test vehicle's Online Pack of connected services was inactive, and when I tried to use Amazon Alexa, it asked me to sign in to my account. I must be one of the only people in the United States without one. I could not test any of the system's more sophisticated voice recognition features, and the standard tech was not up to par.
Helpful Tech Includes an Optional Head-Up Display
In addition to Pivi Pro, the Velar has a 12.3-inch digital instrumentation panel. It's helpful and offers several themes for viewing information. The optional head-up display is also useful, especially when using the Velar's advanced driving-assistance systems.
Range Rover offers a surround-view camera for the Velar, but my test vehicle didn't have it. Instead, I had to rely on the standard front and rear parking sensors. You can also get a semi-autonomous parking-assistance system for the Velar.
2024 Range Rover Velar Steer Assist Is a Work in Progress
Range Rover equips the 2024 Velar with the advanced driving-assistance systems (ADAS) you've come to expect in a modern luxury SUV. The list includes Adaptive Cruise Control with Steer Assist, with Steer Assist serving as a lane-centering assist.
I extensively used the adaptive cruise control and lane-centering features in various situations and came away unimpressed with Steer Assist. It struggles for accuracy and smoothness in bends in the road, when passing turn lanes and freeway ramps, and when other vehicles cut into the gap ahead of the Velar. In addition, when new vehicles move into the space ahead, the Velar demonstrates a delay in sensing them.
Aside from a sudden, unwanted steering input as the SUV passed through the shadow of a freeway overpass, nothing severe occurred while using the Adaptive Cruise Control with Steer Assist. Still, the technology adds stress instead of reducing it.
If you've ever spent time with a toddler in a home that isn't baby-proof, you'll understand how I felt constantly monitoring the tech's activity. As a result, the Velar was much better to drive without Steer Assist.
Go Mild Hybrid for Best Performance Results
Choose a 2024 Velar with a P250 emblem, and you'll get a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 247 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. Range Rover says this model accelerates to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds, which seems optimistic.
The Dynamic SE P400 has a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine with 48-volt mild-hybrid technology. It produces a satisfying 394 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque, delivering 60 mph in a claimed 5.2 seconds. It felt that fast to me.
Every Velar has an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Several standard and available features enhance the Velar's off-roading capability, but this SUV's overall demeanor suggests it is happier on pavement than on a trail.
Best Stirred, Not Shaken
Since my test-drive agreement precluded off-roading, I did what apparently comes naturally to Range Rover owners: I drove around in a swanky Los Angeles suburb and the mountains near Malibu.
In Comfort mode, the adaptive damping suspension provides a soft ride in the city. Accelerate hard, and the rear squats. Brake hard, and the nose dips. Whip around a corner, and it leans a little bit. Still, the Velar lacks the heavy, clunky sensations of a Range Rover Sport in this setting, feeling lighter and more athletic.
With that said, power surges and sticky brakes can make a Velar P400 tricky to drive. In urban settings, the SUV responds best to deliberate, fine-tuned inputs if you want a smooth, refined experience.
Select Dynamic mode for threading mountain and canyon roads, and the Velar demonstrates an uncanny knack for enthusiastic driving. It's more enjoyable in this environment than any Range Rover this side of an SV-tuned version, and it can cover ground with unexpected zeal.
Back in Comfort mode, the Velar is relatively serene on highways, with little wind, road, or powertrain noise. Effortless acceleration means merging onto a highway and passing slower vehicles is easy. If you regularly use the engine's plentiful power, however, expect lower fuel economy. The EPA says a Velar P400 should get 19/25/21 mpg city/highway/combined. I averaged 19.5 mpg on my evaluation loop.
A Compelling Combination of Qualities
Though its design and engineering are older than some of these alternatives, the Velar's clean and classic look, added off-roading capability, and Range Rover cachet could make it the right midsize luxury SUV for you. Just keep in mind that the technology remains a work in progress.