2024 Range Rover Velar First Drive Review: A Fashion Accessory You Can Take Off Road

Chances are, you’ll run into a 2024 Range Rover Velar at a Starbucks parking lot, Harrods valet, or a costly private school drop-off line. With its sleek exterior, minimalist interior, and overall persona that screams “rich city folk,” the Velar has been the stylish Range since day one. Y’know, more Mayfair than Cotswolds.

Since its debut in 2017, the Velar has managed to fill a specific hole in Land Rover’s lineup. If you didn’t want the smaller, cheaper Evoque, had no interest in the more off-road-oriented Defender and Discovery models, and couldn’t quite swing the six-figure Range Rover, chances are you’d buy the Velar.

The luxe SUV still fulfills that role today. But as part of the company spinning off its models into distinct brands—it’s now just Range Rover Velar instead of Land Rover Range Rover Velar—and a new round of styling, tech, and feature upgrades for 2024, the Velar now feels like a much more confident luxury SUV, one with its own identity rather than just another option.

2024 Range Rover Velar Specs
Base Price (Dynamic HSE P400 as-tested)$62,775 ($86,070)
Powertrain3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six with a mild hybrid system | 8-speed automatic | all-wheel drive
Horsepower395 @ 5,500-6,500 rpm
Torque405 lb-ft @ 2,000-5,000 rpm
Seating Capacity5
Curb Weight5,025 pounds
Towing Capacity8,200 pounds
Cargo Volume22.1 cubic feet behind second row | 59.7 cubic feet behind first row
Ground Clearance8.0 inches standard | 8.4 inches in off-road mode
0-60 mph5.1 seconds
Top Speed130 mph
Off-Road Angles25° approach | 22° break-over | 27° departure
EPA fuel economy19 mpg city | 25 highway | 21 combined
Quick TakeA pricey but elegant SUV that takes you off the beaten path—in more ways than one.
Score8/10

The Basics

The Range Rover Velar is a luxury SUV that seats five passengers, offers loads of minimalist luxury, and looks fancy enough to rival SUVs twice as expensive. In the newly rebranded lineup, the Velar sits just above the entry-level Evoque but below the Range Rover Sport and full-blown Range Rover. In a way, the Velar is the middle child. And while it aims to look sporty and elegant, it still possesses that Land Rover ruggedness in its DNA, meaning that it’s more capable than you’d think off the tarmac.

Don’t call it shallow, but the Velar has always been about its looks. At the end of the day, that’s what separates it from the rest of the lineup. A new front fascia for 2024 elevates the Velar even further, boasting a redesigned grille, headlights, and front bumper. Overall, the design remains sleek and sculpted but packs enough fresh lines to give it an air of modernity. Especially the redesigned headlights, which look less convoluted than before thanks to cleaner housings and DRL signatures. It’s the same story out back. The rear retains its iconic long taillight fixture, but the housings and light signatures are new. It’s several subtle changes that add up to a fresher, more vibrant, and certainly more desirable 2024 Velar.

The interior design stands out as the Velar’s pièce de résistance. The ultra-minimalist cabin may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but chances are that if you dig the outside then you will like the inside. If you hate clutter, this is the car for you. Range Rover has ditched all physical buttons and knobs on the dash and doubled down on touchscreen controls—yes, even for the volume. From a design perspective, the results are incredible. The cabin is serene and clean-looking, and there’s nothing to distract you from the task at hand. In terms of usability, well, you have to get used to the touchscreen prompts. Or in the case of music volume, simply click up or down on the steering-wheel-mounted controls.

Driving Experience

When I drove the first-gen Velar years ago, I was left with the impression that Land Rover had created a handsome-looking SUV with not a lot of substance. The interior wasn’t up to par, the driving experience was mediocre, and so was the fit and finish. This time, driving a top-of-the-line Dynamic HSE P400 proved that the British automaker has been spending quality time with its middle child. The end result is a luxury SUV that doesn’t just look great but also feels it.

The mild-hybrid inline-six engine, which I had previously applauded in the Defender, is just as great in the Velar. Step hard on the gas and you’ll feel the SUV lurch forward with urgency, delivering loads of torque and even a pleasant exhaust note. On windy country roads, the 395 ponies on tap were more than enough to deliver an entertaining drive. In Dynamic mode, the Velar’s reactions are quite sporty. The suspension is stout, the steering is sharp, gear shifts are brisk, and pedal calibration is much more sensitive. If there’s a long way home from the office, this is the mode you’ll want to engage. However, if you’ve got a companion—especially kids in the backseat—you’ll want to switch back to Comfort mode. Traveling through narrow farm roads proved to be slightly jarring in Dynamic mode, while Comfort softened the Velar’s suspension and handling reflexes. Throttle inputs are slightly delayed, the steering is more relaxed, and frankly, it feels like the best all-around mode for such an elegant vehicle.

JLR

A quick jaunt off the tarmac allowed for some light off-roading to see how the Velar could deal with cakey, slippery mud. Despite being on all-season tires, the clever all-wheel drive helped the SUV climb up rolling hills with ease, while hill descent control kept things steady heading down. Several trails were so rutted and slippery that the steering wheel could be on full lock to the right while the Velar was traveling straight. Unlike the Defender, the Velar relies on torque vectoring (and a programmable Terrain Response system) to send power to each wheel (or cut it), allowing me to keep control of the vehicle despite the slippery trail.

The passenger seat is also quite comfortable and because this is ultimately an SUV that’s likely to carry several people in the real world, that’s important. The backseat is roomy enough for kids and adults up to six feet tall. There are accommodations for two infant seats should you need them, and the trunk is big enough to throw a set of golf clubs, groceries, a stroller, or whatever else tickles your fancy.

Range Rover Velar Features, Options, and Competition

The base model Velar S is powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 247 horsepower. Additionally, it comes with LED headlights, 19-inch wheels, a heated leather steering wheel, 14-way heated leather seats, a Meridian sound system, and a suite of active safety systems as standard. At $86,070, my Dynamic HSE P400 tester was loaded with a ton of goodies: first and foremost the 3.0-liter engine, $3,400 21-inch wheels, the $1,300 Tech package, a $1,530 Comfort package, the $1,680 Dynamic Handling package, the $800 contrasting roof, and more.

The Velar Dynamic HSE P400 indirectly competes with the majority of two-row luxury SUVs, though when you narrow it down, it would seem that the Porsche Macan S and BMW X3 M40i would be its most direct rivals. Also powered by a mild-hybrid 3.0-liter inline-six with 382 hp, the BMW looks and drives quite differently from the Velar. However, similarly equipped, it comes in at around $69,000, which is considerably less than the fully loaded Velar. On the other hand, a comparable Porsche Macan S comes in at about $90,000, which is more than the Range Rover, but you get a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 with 375 hp, a slightly less spacious car with a stiffer ride, and, well, a Porsche.

Sustainability

Should you choose to buy a Velar but would rather skip the leather seats, Range Rover’s got you covered. Available for 2024 is a leather-free interior option, in which all animal-derived materials are replaced with a product called Kvadrat, a textile composed of wool blends and polyurethane. This material is used throughout the cabin ranging from the seats to the dash, door cards, etc.

Value and Verdict

At $62,775 to start, the Velar is not an inexpensive vehicle, and it certainly comes with a few drawbacks. For starters, its minimalist interior can come off as a bit sterile. Fans of reductionist design will enjoy it, but others may find that there isn’t enough palpable luxury to offset its price tag. And while the 2024 refresh breathes fresh air into the Velar, the truth is that it’s looked more or less the same for several years now. However, it makes up for this with swanky styling, solid off-road chops, and a more luxe and engaging driving experience than most of its rivals.

In the end, the 2024 Range Rover Velar is a luxury SUV that’s part off-roader and part fashion statement. It plays in the luxury SUV segment by its own rules and not by those set by its competitors. It’s different—for better or worse.

Email the author at jerry@thedrive.com