2023 Range Rover Velar drive review: Luxury SUV for the elite buyer
- Solid styling
- Spacious cabin
- Planted drive
- No physical buttons for controlling cabin features
- Not quite excitable at high speeds
The Range Rover Velar has always had its priorities cut out in precise measures - big but not boisterous, pleasant but not pretentious. First launched in India in January of 2018, the SUV may not have managed to challenge most of its heavyweight rivals tooth and nail. But in these past years, it has still established itself as a formidable player in the family - sitting between the Evoque and Discovery Sport and below the Range Rover Sport.
Earlier this year - in September, the Range Rover Velar facelift was introduced in the market with minor cosmetic changes on the outside and some updates in the cabin. And these updates have been in tune with the overall character of the vehicle itself - subtle, slightly understated and yet quite classy.
Here is the review of the 2023 Range Rover Velar:
Watch: 2023 Range Rover Velar SUV review: Luxury powerhouse for the elite
The updated Range Rover is priced at ₹94.30 lakh (ex-showroom) with bookings being opened in July and the official launch taking place in September. Is it an expensive SUV, even by the lofty standards of luxury cars? Of course. But does it look the part?
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The Velar continues to adhere to the Range Rover styling philosophy of minimalist magnetism which goes a long way in turning heads a long way. It is difficult to miss this mammoth SUV out and about on Indian roads, especially in cities where it manages to command a respect that is otherwise mostly reserved for large SUV offerings from German rival brands.
The updated Velar doesn't make much of a noise about its visual changes on the outside but look close and the appreciation would be evident. A new set of pixel LED headlamps are positioned prominently on the face, complete with an updated design for the LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs). The bumper is more chiselled now and there are chrome inserts that complete the look from this angle. Over at the side, the 10-spoke Satin Dark Grey wheels lend the vehicle with a slightly menacing appeal while the tail lights at the back have been redesigned as well.
On the inside, the Velar remains a very, very spacious SUV with ample space for even five adults. Considering its massive presence from the outside, this may have seemed obvious but the proof of this proverbial pudding remains in sprawling inside. The fit and finish of materials also remain of a high standard making for a very pleasant cabin.
Where the Velar tries a bit too hard is also perhaps where it falls a bit short. The 11.4-inch main infotainment screen is great but the SUV loses all its physical buttons and instead, controls are teleported to the screen itself. And while the screen may be responsive to touch, it is quite a task to find and press the right controls for the right purpose. From climate control to seat ventilation, and more, everything is on the screen now which may make the Velar more modern than ever but now requires a new set of muscle memory to be developed. More so when on the move.
The feature list, however, is indeed exhaustive and includes a 12-speaker Meridian audio system, air-purification system, wireless support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, four-zone climate control, panoramic sunroof and wireless phone charging, among others.
Get the Velar moving and much of everything else will melt into oblivion. And that's great because the petrol motor under this particular test unit is quite an agreeable motor. There is 296 bhp on offer and 365 Nm of peak torque, figures that manifest into the real world in the form of a linear and planted drive. The Velar still doesn't feel like the huge car that it is - in terms of dimensions, and that is largely due to a well-weighted steering set up that makes managing traffic quite easy. Cancelling ambient noise is a mammoth strength as well and the Velar goes towards triple digits with minimal effort. But push it aggressively beyond three-digit speed marks and the SUV starts to lose either enthusiasm or intent. Or perhaps both. Don't expect goosebumps and you ought to be fine.
For an SUV that is crafted well and is fairly good to drive, the Velar remains a sensible package for the sensible buyer with big bucks. But it also does go up against some very strong opponents like the Porsche Macan, Jaguar F-Pace, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Volvo XC90, Audi Q7 and BMW X5. And that's a mighty long list of some very mighty opponents.