The Range Rover name has established itself differently in the North American household than it was originally intended to. The large, capable British SUV now represents wealth, style, and has spawned a series of smaller premium crossovers that cater to the modern urban lifestyle. This is the tweener model – the 2022 Range Rover Velar P400 R-Dynamic. It fits into the range (pun fully intended) just below the Range Rover Sport and above the design-focused Evoque. We set out to see how the Velar fares five years into its model cycle.
Compared to its European competition, and there’s plenty of it, the Velar is a stunner. Its sleek and modern lines are aging gracefully and the thing stands out anywhere it’s parked. The relatively simple silver paint on our tester was complemented perfectly with a black roof and gorgeous wheels – of course, there is a multitude of designs to choose from. LED lighting supplements the design and looks simply marvelous. Even in a segment where the highly customizable Porsche Macan GTS plays, the Velar wins if design is the only considered factor.
Inside, at first glance things are just as pretty. The leather looks, feels and smells excellent, and all materials are nice to the touch. The front seats are heated, cooled, and offer a nifty massage function that came in handy during a quick jaunt three hours north of Toronto. There’s enough space up front for larger adults, and most will find the outboard two rear seats plenty comfortable too. 963-liters of your belongings will fit in the rear cargo area, and obviously the rear seats can be folded down for more room. On the surface, everything is exactly as expected.
It’s only when you start to spend time with the Velar that the misses become more obvious. The infotainment system is an updated version of Jaguar Land Rover’s corporate interface. It’s comprised of two touchscreens that work in harmony, providing access to everything from off-road settings to entertainment and climate. There are some physical dials, but everything is too intertwined and the system is prone to glitches. We observed two full reboots (on its own), a couple of instances of freezing, and some lag to boot. Thankfully, wireless Apple CarPlay is on board, so if you just stick to that, you’ll be just fine.
Land Rover offers the Velar with three powertrains, starting with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four. The second step up is a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder. Our tester was equipped with the top-tier powertrain, a higher-tuned version of the six, offering 400 horsepower and 405 lb-ft. of torque versus 340 and 354 in lower iterations. It’s hooked up to an eight-speed automatic and also offers Terrain Response, adaptive dampers and a full four-corner air suspension.
This setup means the second-smallest Range Rover is superbly comfortable to cruise around in. We put a considerable amount of highway mileage on it and exited the vehicle each time feeling refreshed, appreciating the combination of soft yet refined ride quality, snappy engine response, and buttery smooth motions. The Velar is an excellent place to spend time, though those hunting for power may find the delivery falling short. When trying to pull off fast passes, the straight-six delivers with adequacy, though it just doesn’t feel fast enough. Those wanting that sense of urgency should opt for the Range Rover Sport with its supercharged V8.
In moving with the times, Range Rover is moving away from their frugal diesel offering, in favour of new plug-in hybrid models. This traditional powertrain is rated for 12.3L/100km city and 9.6L/100km highway, for a combined 11.1L/100km. It obviously requires 91-octane premium fuel, and over our 800 kilometer run we observed 10.9L/100km. Our drive took place in colder-than-average spring temperatures and consisted of a good amount of highway driving.
There is a slew of sporty luxurious crossovers in this segment, but a few stand out. The Velar’s true competition includes the Porsche Macan S, the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43, the BMW X3 M40i, and the upcoming Maserati Grecale. The Porsche is the most obvious, offering similar style and performance for your money. It boasts a better reputation for reliability, and the infotainment system is more agreeable. The Velar feels a bit roomier and offers a more supple experience versus the Macan’s sportier focus.
Whether looked at in a vacuum or amongst its rivals, the 2022 Range Rover Velar P400 R-Dynamic is a top-notch crossover. We’re hoping that updates and quality control measures taken at the factory level will improve reliability and longevity on these newer models, because outside of that concern, the product is genuinely good. If exterior and interior design is at the top of your priority list when crossover shopping, look no further – your chariot has arrived.