When Land Rover introduced the Range Rover Velar here in India in 2019, JLR had decided to assemble the SUV locally at the Pune facility, in the hope to achieve lower costs of course. The locally-assembled Velar is cheaper to buy than the imported model. Also, Land Rover has packed in some additional features to make it a great, value-for-money buy. The variants aren’t as many as before, so all you get is two variants now. There’s no 3.0-litre diesel engine on offer anymore; all you get is a 2.0-litre Ingenium four-cylinder petrol and diesel engine, both available only on the R-Dynamic S variant.
Style is its thing
When we first saw the Land Rover Range Rover Velar for the first time, our jaws dropped. It’s sexy in every sense of the word, particularly for what is an SUV from Land Rover Cars. That long, low-slung silhouette works brilliantly to give you the best visual experience possible. It isn’t difficult to tell it apart from all the other Land Rover Cars. The roof slopes slightly and the crisp lines give it an almost concept car-like stance. Even the door handles sit flush with the bodywork and pop out only when you unlock the car. R-Dynamic means the Land Rover Range Rover Velar features sportier bumpers and bonnet vents. The Burnished Copper details on the grille may not be to everyone’s taste and the black roof comes standard. Along the sides, you’ll notice the big 20-inch wheels.
About the look
You can barely notice the differences between the imported Land Rover Range Rover Velar and the locally assembled one, particularly on the inside. What’s new is the dual-touchscreen Touch Pro Duo infotainment system. You have access to certain functions like audio and navigation through the screen above and other functions like ventilation on the screen below. The screens are better than having all those buttons around, giving it a sleek look. Instead of steering-mounted buttons, you get touch pads that really give the cabin a modern flair. Everything inside is of good quality and feels like it’s built to stand the test of time.
Once seated inside, you find yourself placed at a good height. However, occupants at the back will have to deal with a high door sill during ingress and egress. Space isn’t as good as some competing SUVs. The other problem we had was looking out the small rear windows. The SUV comes well equipped; you get a 360-degree parking camera, powered front seats, LED headlights, a sliding panoramic sunroof, powered steering-adjust, powered and gesture-controlled tailgate, powered backrest-adjust and four-zone climate control.
A proper Ranger
Under the bonnet of the Velar we drove lies a 2.0-litre petrol engine, producing 246bhp. The motor is smooth and silent and power delivery is linear; we found that the 8-speed auto transmission loses its rhythm at low speeds. The Velar isn’t a sharp handler, but is quite a hoot to drive. The tyres offer good grip and the steering feels nice in Dynamic mode. The ride quality, sadly, isn’t what you’d expect of a typical Land Rover. Side-to-side movement can be felt inside the cabin. According to Land Rover, the Velar is the most road-biased SUV they’ve come up with, but that doesn’t mean it won’t perform off the road. It climbs onto rocks and inclines easily, thanks to JLR’s All-Surface Progress Control, which is basically a cruise control that works at low speeds. It also features Terrain Response 2.