Like a sporty SUV should. It's no car. And it's heavy. So, when you go into a corner, you will feel the Velar's heft in the way it dives and then rolls. But, it's not too pronounced. And with its rear bias power delivery, 255-section tyres, and torque vectoring, you'd have to be really pushing it to get it to understeer. It loves the long and fast corners and straight line drags. And if driven sensibly, it will take on the tighter, twister bit as well. But, sporty or not, it's still an SUV.
And that means when the going gets rough, the Velar begins to shine brighter. The 19-inch wheels with higher profile tyres help. And the suspension too is absorbent and quiet. It doesn't get unsettled by the undulations at speeds; it barely mumbles over road joints and broken tarmac patches; and even the sharper, squared out bumps don't exactly shock your spine. The steering is nice as it strikes a good balance between being light and alert. The visibility is handy especially for a long SUV. And the throttle response, is well measured. And all of this together makes the Velar a surprisingly easy SUV to drive around.
And lest we forget, there are six driving modes to choose from. I mostly left it in Comfort, but there's Dynamic that adds weight to the steering, makes the throttle response more alert and brings an overall spring to the Velar's steps. There's also the boring Eco mode and three off-road modes. Now, we didn't go looking for any challenging trails with the Velar. And we only once used the Gravel mode for our short off-the-road excursion. But it did tell us that in typical Range Rover style, this too has good wheel articulation and gradient tackling ability.
As far as engines go, our Velar is the petrol-powered version. It is powered by JLR's new-age Ingenium family of engines. It displaces 1997cc and is rated at almost 250bhp. Also, thanks to a turbocharger, the 4-cylinder unit manages to churn out 365Nm of peak torque from just 1500rpm! The engine is refined and torquey in the low and mid range – which is where you'd end up driving it almost 99 per cent of the time. And when you decide to rev it to its redline, besides the turbo whistle, a little more engine noise and the engine losing some of its accelerative oomph, there isn't much to complain about.
But, if you are more of a diesel person, there are 2- and 3-litre engine options with four and six cylinders respectively to choose from as well. All engines, meanwhile, are mated to a smooth shifting – if not the most alert – 8-speed torque converter automatic. It comes with Sport mode and steering mounted paddle shifters.