Car Review: It’s hard not to fawn over the Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic

WASHINGTON — When you hear the name Range Rover, you immediately think large, luxury SUV that can go anywhere in comfort.

While the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport are handsome vehicles, their styling may be a bit understated for some buyers. Now, there is a new Range Rover called the Velar R-Dynamic HSE that really catches your eye.

You know it’s a Range Rover at first glance but you quickly move on to admiring its high-end, modern and fresh look. There are curves and rounded edges on this Range Rover and the Byron Blue paint shows it all off from the flared fenders that have large 20-inch wheels filling up all the space.

The Dynamic Black Exterior package adds blacked-out trim pieces on the hood and on the side of the doors and front fenders. The door handles are flush with the body, unless you’re parked and the doors are unlocked, which makes for a clean side profile. The blacked-out trim between the rear side glass and rear hatch gives the roof a floating effect when you look at it from the side. The back end of the Velar sports large dual exhaust pipes, and here again are more curves and blacked-out trim work that seem to highlight cool LED lighting clusters for the rear lighting.

The new Velar starts around $50,000, so this isn’t as pricey as some other Range Rover models. Still, high fashion isn’t cheap. The Velar R-Dynamic HSE I drove is the top-of-the-line model with a big price tag of $87,100 and loaded with a lot of options. For that price, the cabin is luxurious and comfortable with a new look and feel for Range Rover that’s sure to carry over to other models.

You notice two large screens have taken over the central area of the dash handling most of the functions of the car. The top screen handles navigation, media, phone and the camera system. The lower screen handles climate controls and the vehicle settings for the four-wheel drive system. Usually the dual screen set up can be confusing but this setup really works well together and is user-friendly.

The perforated leather seats are heated and cooled up front with 20-way power adjustments for getting comfortable. Those in the back seat are treated nicely too with heated seats and good head room. Leg room isn’t as ample as some of the competition. The materials are top notch with soft-touch materials, leather and aluminum trim. Beware those with children that the Light Oyster colored interior shows dirt easily and needs some spot cleaning every few days with three kids in and out all the time.

Driving the Velar R-Dynamic is a treat with 380 horsepower and a slick-shifting 8spd automatic. The supercharged V6 easily moves the midsize Range Rover with ease and gives off a satisfying growl when pushed. Handling is good. While the Velar is not a sports car by any means, it feels more confident in the corners and handles like a smaller vehicle. I pushed it much more than I would the big Range Rover, and it didn’t disappoint.

The Velar was quiet on the road with little noise breaking into the cabin, unless of course you have the large panoramic roof open. High fashion comes with slightly less rear visibility; luckily, the camera helps when parking in tight spaces.

Fuel economy isn’t great. I managed 19.2 mpg, a bit less than the 20 mpg on the sticker.

If you want to standout in the crowded luxury crossover marketplace, the Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic checks that box. With stunning exterior styling and a space age interior, the Velar takes on high style and combines a good driving crossover worthy of the Range Rover badge.

Mike Parris is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association. The vehicles are provided by DriveShop, FMI or Motus One for the purpose of this review.

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