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 Edition The 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 Edition The 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 Edition Land 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 Edition The 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 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has been enhanced for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

The plug-in electric vehicle world is getting more competitive. Ahead of its next-gen launch, Mitsubishi has announced the its 2021 Outlander Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) has been significantly upgraded to include a revised powertrain, enlarged battery pack, and better performance. there's a also a new trim level.

This comes as the company has revealed the redesigned 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander will go on sale this spring.

Mitsubishi will sell the Outlander PHEV in three trim levels for 2021: SEL, Limited Edition (LE), and GT. The LE trim is new and adds a standard sunroof, Mitsubishi Power Sound System, black grille, dark chrome dual-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels, and black front and rear bumper design to the model.

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV The Outlander PHEV can be charged to make use of all-electric range or run as a traditional hybrid.Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

The 2021 version of the Outlander PHEV now comes with a 2.4-liter engine with the ability to achieve 126 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a 70-kilowatt electric motor, upgraded from a 60-kilowatt unit. The total system output has now increased to 221 horsepower, up 31 horsepower from the previous model.

For the new model year, the SUV's main battery drive capacity has grown from 12.0 kilowatts per hour to 13.8 kilowatts per hour, increasing the SUV's all-electric range from 22 to 24 miles. It's all-electric top-speed has increased from 79 mph to 83 mph.

Mitsubishi says that the Outlander PHEV has also received software updates that improve the synchronization between the SUV's battery and engine, which is meant to reduce overall noise, vibration, and harshness.

Every Outlander PHEV comes equipped with all-wheel drive. It now has Sport and Snow driving modes as well.

The Mitsubishi has increased range for the 2021 model year.Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

Efficiency upgrades, combined with the new powertrain, lead the Outlander PHEV to achieve 74 MPGe and 26 mpg. Those are respectable numbers for a three-row SUV.

Forward collision alert with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring with assist, and automatic high beam headlights are standard on every Outlander PHEV model.

Mitsubishi backs every Outlander PHEV with a fully transferrable five-year/60,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty, as well as a fully transferable 10-year /100,000-mile limited warranty on PHEV components and the Main Drive Lithium-ion battery. These limited warranties are in addition to a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty to the original retail purchaser and a seven-year/100,000-mile anti-corrosion perforation limited warranty. Every Outlander PHEV also comes standard with a 5-year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance program.

The 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV starts at $36,295. The Outlander PHEV LE is priced at $37,995 while the top-tier Outlander PHEV GT comes in at $41,995.

Outlander PHEV is now eligible for $6,587 in federal tax credits, an increase of $751 compared to the 2020 model year.

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Photo courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service

The long process to design, engineer, and award a contract for the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) next-generation mail delivery vehicle (NGDV) has finally come to an end. The government has awarded Oshkosh Defense a contract to produce the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle for service. Oshkosh Defense is a a wholly owned subsidiary of Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK).

The NGDV project is the USPS's first large-scale fleet procurement in three decades. Over the next 10 years, the contract allows for the delivery of between 50,000 and 165,000 new vehicles.

"Oshkosh operates with unparalleled commitment to those who depend on our products and services to build, protect and serve communities around the world. We are honored to have been selected by the USPS to support their important work by manufacturing American-made Next Generation Delivery Vehicles that will connect every home and business across the United States for decades to come," said John Pfeifer, President & Chief Operating Officer, Oshkosh Corporation.

U.S. Postal Service's Next-Generation Mail Delivery Vehicle

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service

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The new mail trucks will have multiple powertrain options, just like many passenger vehicles on the road today. There will be a battery electric vehicle (BEV) version that runs exclusively on electric power and a fuel-efficient low-emission internal combustion engine vehicles (ICE) variant.

Under the contract awarded today, USPS has committed to paying Oshkosh Defense $482 million as a first step toward the new vehicles' production. The money will be used to finalize the production vehicle design and complete factory build-out, all of which is necessary before production gets underway. The process is similar to ones mass market vehicle manufacturers use.

"Our century-long history of delivering products to customers, operating in some of the most demanding and severe conditions on the planet, uniquely positions us to bring exceptional reliability, safety, and maintainability to USPS's Next Generation Delivery Vehicles," said John Bryant, Executive Vice President, Oshkosh Corporation, and President, Oshkosh Defense. "Partnering with trusted suppliers, we have developed a purpose-built solution to support the current and future needs of the USPS," Bryant concluded.

In addition to a new exterior and powertrain options, the NGTV also gets modern features and amenities like a rearview camera, walk-in cargo area, air condition, telematics, and a sliding cargo door. There's also a host of safety technology and equipment including airbags, automatic front and rear braking, blind spot warning, a 360-degree camera, and forward collision warning.

Production of the next generation delivery vehicle is expected to begin in 2023.

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