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