Behind the Wheel

2020 Land Rover Velar Review: The top-tier trim is fit, and priced, for royalty

The 2020 Land Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition is a modern luxury SUV, through and trough.

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

Land Rovers are traditionally tough, über capable, and fit for both royals and stars of the silver screen. They also are traditionally sturdy, an effect that inspires confidence while driving but also limits the dynamic ability of the model.

Enter: 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition. Yes, that's a mouthful. What it isn't is a lane full. The Velar is the most easy-to-drive Land Rover on the road today, making daily driving a cushy, relaxed experience. Steering, thanks to the "Dynamic" part of the SUV's name, is connected and engaging though the Velar makes its case to not be considered sporty.

2020 Land Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic EditionThe Velar sports typical Land Rover Range Rover looks.Photo courtesy of Land Rover

As tested, the model is powered by a thirsty 5.0-liter V8 that delivers a wonderful 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque. It has a maximum speed of 170 mph and can get from zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. The SUV goes through gasoline at a rate of 15 mpg in the city, 20 mpg on the highway, and 17 mpg combined. That's not ideal, but it's the trade-off for the V8.

Land Rover offers the grade in 25 different paint colors, allowing buyers to choose something other than the white bottom/black roof and black-on-black combinations that are so prominently on Land Rovers in carpools lines across the country.

There are those in my household that extol the greatness of the latest Range Rover Evoque, which was redesigned for the 2020 model year. Those are not me. Sure, the Evoque has a lot to like, but the Velar takes the Evoque's good sides and moves it up a notch.

With Velar, Land Rover allows a driver to feel secure, but not boxed in. The car appears to be built like it can take a slow speed rollover while off-roading without a second thought. Unlike the Audis and BMWs of its segment, the Land Rover doesn't give off a sense of lightweight modernity, which is, perhaps what makes it so appealing.

2020 Land Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic EditionThe Velar is the smallest Range Rover in the company's lineup.Photo courtesy of Land Rover

That's not to say that the Velar isn't modern. It is. As tested, the interior of the car features the highest level appointments and technology that Land Rover offers in its Velar lineup. Twenty-way heated and cooled front seats seats with memory and massage functionality, aluminum trim finishers, a soft grain leather steering wheel, quad-zone climate control, metal pedals, and a 17-speaker Meridian Surround Sound System are all included. The SUV also comes standard with what Land Rover calls a "full leather upgrade" to the upholstery that includes contrast stitching.

It also has an infotainment system with navigation, SiriusXM, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a 360-degree parking aid, along with a lengthy list of safety features including blind spot assist and lane keep assist. The steering wheel controls are Land Rover's finest piano black and offer sophistocated touch functionality and the mostly touch-screen climate, drive, and comfort controls are

The Velar has a starting price of $56,300, which seems about right for a capable and comfortable two-row daily driver in the luxury segment. Four-wheel drive is standard so that drives the base price up some.

The 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition has a starting price of $90,790. If you currently have your head tilted like a dog that's wondering if he just heard the word "treat" correctly, you've assumed the correct position.

2020 Land Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic EditionLand Rover's Pivi Pro operating system is responsive and displays attractive graphics.Photo courtesy of Land Rover

There's something to be understood about the Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition that probably escapes people who go into car shopping with a budget. This particular model isn't for them. It's for an elite customer that can go into a Land Rover dealership and say, "I'll take that one," without having to worry about financing. It's for a parent giving their child a vehicle they'll look cool in and be secure in. It's for a single gal who doesn't need money man to get her what she wants - and she wants horsepower, handling, comfort, and capability, equally.

2020 Land Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic EditionThe Velar handles the road better than the Evoque.Photo courtesy of Land Rover

Though expensive, the Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition is excellent. It's one I'd have in my driveway.

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The 2023 Crosstrek starts at $23,645.

Subaru

Subaru is one of the best at listening to its customers' needs, and the Crosstrek is a great example of that mindset. It's a useful vehicle with plenty of interior space and enough ground clearance to take its passengers well of the beaten path. Today, Subaru announced pricing for the 2023 Crosstrek and Crosstrek Hybrid. The duo will go on sale this summer.

Subaru CrosstrekThe Crosstrek's cabin is adventure-ready and packed with great tech. Subaru

The standard Crosstrek starts at $23,645 before destination and the Crosstrek Hybrid starts at $36,845. Five trims are available for the standard model, including Base, Premium, a new Special Edition, Sport, and Limited. The Hybrid comes in a single trim level. All Crosstrek variants get all-wheel drive with active torque vectoring and 8.7 inches of ground clearance.

The Base, Premium, and Special Edition trims come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 152 horsepower. The Sport and Limited trims get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 182 horsepower. Most models come with a continuously variable transmission, but the Base and Premium trims come standard with a six-speed manual gearbox. The Crosstrek Hybrid comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder paired with two electric motors. The plug-in system can deliver 17 miles of electric range.

Subaru CrosstrekThe Crosstrek delivers 8.7 inches of ground clearance.Subaru

True to Subaru form, the Crosstrek comes with a full suite of advanced driver aids, including automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane departure alerts, adaptive cruise, and more. These features are only available for CVT-equipped models. The Limited trim and the Crosstrek Hybrid add automatic high beams, reverse automatic braking, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alerts.

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The majority of new car buyers paid a markup in January 2022.

VW

It's no secret that new car prices are climbing every year, as new technology and features make their way into even the most basic models. The issue is compounded by massive supply chain issues that have caused vehicle shortages for nearly every major automaker. Some dealers are taking advantage of record low inventory levels by marking up prices, and unfortunately, the problem isn't limited to a handful of bad apples. In analyzing recent sale price data, automotive publication Edmunds found that buyers paid a markup in a whopping 82.2 percent of all new vehicle purchases in January 2022, compared to just 2.8 percent a year before. Overall, the average transaction price rose to $728 above MSRP for new car purchases.


Tesla factoryTesla is looking to expand production in the U.S. beyond the confines of its Fremont factory. Photo courtesy of Tesla Motors

Cadillac buyers saw the largest markups, to the tune of $4,048 on average in January. Land Rover and Kia weren't much better, with average markups of $2,565 and $2,289, respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, Alfa Romeo buyers got discounts that averaged $3,421, while people who bought Volvo or Lincoln vehicles got smaller discounts of $869 and $510, respectively.

Some automakers have taken a stand against dealer markups and the general lack of transparency seen in pricing across the board. Ford and General Motors have been vocal in recent months, threatening to withhold inventory from dealers found to be slapping markups on new vehicles. As Edmunds notes, both automakers have important vehicle launches on the horizon that neither can afford to flub, and inconsistent pricing or markups is a good way to alienate new customers out of the gate.


Cadillac EscaladeCadillac buyers paid the largest markups of any brand. Photo courtesy of Cadillac

If you're thinking of shopping for a new car, the best way to avoid paying a markup is to wait. The pandemic and ongoing supply chain issues have thrown kinks into every automaker's operations that will take time to iron out. That said, it's clear that some brands are committed to having no funny business when it comes to dealerships' pricing and communication. It's possible to get a vehicle at MSRP, or even below in some cases, so if you're in a position that requires you to buy a new car, shop around to get the best deal.

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