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Range Rover Velar: A handsome car that's high on speed, comfort

Range Rover gives the Velar a blink-and-miss-it facelift, offering minimal changes on the outside and a chic minimalistic design inside

The Velar comes with petrol and diesel options (both priced at  <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>87.90 lakh). The petrol is a 2.0L producing 250hp.
The Velar comes with petrol and diesel options (both priced at 87.90 lakh). The petrol is a 2.0L producing 250hp.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it—that’s what car makers at Range Rover were probably thinking while working on the new version of the Velar. The exterior changes in the latest Velar would be hard to spot unless you are a keen car enthusiast.

Among the noticeable changes are a new grille design and slim pixel LEDs with a DRL signature replacing the matrix LEDs. The headlight washers are gone and at the rear, the bumper is slightly different with the skid plate in body colour and vertical reflectors instead of horizontal ones. The bonnet carries a new trim element akin to the one on the sides and the alloys have a new design. Apart from that, it’s hard to tell the difference. That doesn’t matter, though, since the Velar was and still is a very handsome car.

To complement the minimal changes to the outside is a minimalistic interior design. It has an immaculate but sparse interior where all the physical buttons and dials are replaced by an 11.4” screen. The vertically curved infotainment screen comes with the new generation of the Pivi Pro, where you find all the controls. The screen’s curvature keeps it glare-free even when the sunroof is open in harsh light, and combined with the sharp graphics and responsive controls, it is excellent. However, I am a little old school and still believe some functions like volume, fan speed and temperature should have physical buttons.

With the terrain response controls shifted to the screen, the central console now houses only the gear selector. The freed-up space allows for a wireless charging pad, cup holders and charging ports. Speaking of wireless, a welcome addition is the ability to now use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto wirelessly. Besides this, the feature list remains as rich as before, and worthy mentions are the panoramic sunroof, the excellent 3D view camera with the under-bonnet view for off-roading and the air purifier.

The Velar also has air suspension with three different height settings: lowest for easy access so you don’t have to clamber in, normal for the regular drive, and the raised level for off-roading.

The front seats remain large and comfortable, offering ventilation and massage functions. In the driver’s seat, it’s a nice commanding position with ample height adjustment. You really feel like you are towering over others on the road. The refinement levels are excellent, and you get the luxury feel as you shut the doors and leave the rest of the world outside. In fact, the refinement is so good that you’d have to look at the fuel cap to figure out whether you are driving a diesel or a petrol.

The Velar comes with petrol and diesel options (both priced at 87.90 lakh). The petrol is a 2.0L producing 250hp.

I have the 2.0L Ingenium diesel that is smooth and silent. It has a mild hybrid system and produces a reasonable 204hp with a strong 430Nm of torque. The torque, however, comes in a surge after the needle crosses 1800rpm and combined with a snappy gearbox, driving in slow-moving traffic can be jerky. Spin it past the 1800rpm mark, and it all becomes smooth.

The 8-speed gearbox loves to climb the gears quickly, keeping the revs low, and it’s not the fastest to drop down either, so overtakes don’t come easy. The trick is to shift the gear lever to Sport or Dynamic mode; it results in quicker responses, making the Velar feel a little more alive and much nicer to drive.

Staying in Dynamic mode has other advantages. While Comfort mode makes the choppy roads of the city seem far better than they are at low speed, when you pick up the pace, there is a lot of movement with the soft set-up. Dynamic mode tethers the Velar, providing an excellent middle ground and keeping it more planted and composed while not making the ride too firm.

In the back, you will find the seating position low, with small window areas and the window line being relatively high. It doesn’t quite have the feel of its larger siblings, but you don’t feel hemmed in with the spacious seat and the panoramic sunroof extending over the rear. The back has plenty of leg room, but it’s more suited for two people rather than three, as the central tunnel is relatively high, and the console comes quite far back.

Now, while most Velar owners will be trotting around town in this one, its terrain response system does ensure that you can do a fair bit of off-roading as well.

Not a lot has changed with this iteration of the Velar. It remains a tough but luxurious and comfortable vehicle that comes with desirable styling. What has changed is the competition, with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLE and BMW X5 raising the bar. The Velar now has a tougher playing field.

While lifting the game on the interior with its modern minimalism and adding a few more functional features may not be enough to take on the competition, Range Rover is still banking on the Velar’s heart-tugging design to keep it in the fray.

Key vehicle specifications

Petrol: 2.0 L mild hybrid

Power: 250hp

Torque: 365NM

0-100: 7.5 seconds

Diesel: 2.0 L Ingenium

Power: 204hp

Torque: 430NM

0-100: 8.3 seconds

Renuka Kirpalani is consulting editor, Autocar India. Write to us at businessoflife@livemint.com

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