The $95,000 Range Rover Velar is ready to stare down luxury SUV rivals from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi

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The Range Rover Velar stands out in a forest of luxury SUVs. Matthew DeBord/Insider
  • I drove a $US94,655 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition, a midsize, high-performance, off-road-ready luxury SUV.
  • The Velar nameplate is relatively new for Jaguar Land Rover and the Range Rover brand.
  • The Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition is going up against SUVs from Porsche, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Alfa Romeo.
  • I was completely blown away by the Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition’s combination of performance, style, and versatility.
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I’m not sure I’ve found a Range Rover I don’t like.

So the question then becomes, as I march though the carmaker’s lineup, “Can I find a Range Rover that’s overpriced?” I mean, c’mon! Give me something to complain about.

In that context, I could complain about the Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition, which is almost $US50,000 more expensive than the base Velar. It’s a midsize SUV, after all! How could one Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition be worth two of the base vehicle?

For good reason, as it turns out.

Read on to find out why the Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition is as good as it looks:


The 2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography “Dynamic Edition” arrived wearing a truly stunning “Firenze Red” paint job.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

The Velar nameplate is relatively new for Range Rover, part of the India-owned Jaguar Land Rover conglomerate. Velars are midsize SUVs that hit the road in 2018.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

The Velar is to Range Rover what the I-PACE is to Jaguar. The sleek lines, floating roof, and notable but hardly extreme rear overhang are a departure from the boxiness of past Ranges.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

This is an undeniably good-looking SUV. The proportions are perfect, the sense of power and style palpable. But unlike, say, a Jeep vehicle or even some SUVs that bear the Land Rover moniker, the Velar’s mojo is restrained.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

Just have a gander at the balance of the fascia for proof. The undulating, blacked-out grille, the bold scoops, the headlights — it all works together to exude grace, power, and purpose. The lamps are LEDs with LED running lights.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

Range Rover is basically a sub-brand of Land Rover, and its role is be overtly luxurious.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

But it still functions as a Land Rover brand, so it has to have fairly robust off-road capability — even if its target customers are less likely to test those capabilities.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

The Velar is mercifully free of exterior bling, but there is some.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

For the most part, it’s low-key and tasteful, and it adds to the Velar’s aesthetic rather than detracts from it.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

A feature that also adds to the Velar’s sleekness is the recessed, self-presenting door handles.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

They extend when the vehicle is unlocked.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

I’m on the fence here. While they look cool, it’s slightly annoying to have to wait for them or engage them whenever you want to get into the Velar.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

My tester had an attractive set of 21-inch alloy wheels.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

And a set of high-performance brakes to control the Velar’s bulk, which is considerable at around 4,500 pounds. The Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition can tow a respectable 5,000 pounds.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

With its floating, sloped roofline and integrated spoiler, the Velar creates a cool trick: the rear actually comes off as refined, not like a box with a barn door.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

The Range Rover nameplate is echoed at the rear.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

“Velar” means “veiled” — but this SUV isn’t really hiding anything. (Decades ago, when the name was used for top-secret protoypes, it was.)

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

The SVAutobiography trim is the highest level available. My test vehicle started at $US91,000 for this configuration, with just a few grand in extras and a destination and delivery charge taking the sticker to $US95,000.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

The quad tailpipes are a clue that this Velar might have something special under the hood.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

The back of the Velar is almost intimidating!

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

The powered hatch raises to reveal 34 cubic feet of cargo space.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

That’s excellent — the Velar handled everything I threw at it over a week. Drop the rear seats and the cargo area expands to 60 cubic feet.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

The cargo area has a power supply.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

And the Velar has a spare “tyre” stashed under the floor of the cargo space.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

Now for what we’ve all been waiting for! The Range Rover Velar SV Autobiography Dynamic’s engine!

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

In a world a magnificent V8s — a shrinking world, sad to say — the 5.0-litre, 550-horsepower motor that propels the Velar SVAutobiography is a stunner. I know, it doesn’t look like much. But it delivers. The power is sent to the all-wheel-drive system through a fantastic eight-speed automatic transmission.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

Fuel economy is predictably poor, but that’s the trade-off for the power: 15 mpg city/20 highway/17 combined.


The interior is subdued but oh-so lovely and carefully appointed. The “Ebony” tone is rich, and the heated/cooled front seats are exceptionally comfortable.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

That comfort is picked up in the back seats.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

Legroom is good, if not great. This is a midsize SUV, after all.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

I was able to stretch out.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

And passengers in back have their own climate controls.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

The dual-pane moonroof fills the otherwise dark interior with light.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

The overall level of fit, finish, and detail is what makes this low-key interior so appealing. JLR has really concentrated on getting every single detail just right.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

The driver enjoys a high position, but the Velar can be raised and lowered on its suspension depending on drive mode and terrain demands (the vehicle can wade through two feet of water, for example).

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The analogue-digital instrument cluster has a centre screen that can be customised.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

The steering wheel is heated …

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

… And the transmission offers a manual function, with paddle shifters …

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

… Flanking the steering column.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

One complaint: the start-stop button is rather tucked away behind the wheel, on the edge of the dashboard.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

The gearshift knob rises from the centre console — a small pool of piano black — when the engine is fired up. It’s extremely easy to use.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

So much good stuff! Now for the not so good. The Velar’s 10-inch touchscreen runs JLR’s infotainment system, which in the past we’ve found to be glitchy.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

This time around, all I had trouble with was voice-recognition for the navigation feature. So that’s it for the bad! Kudos to JLR for improving the setup.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

The system used a tiled display that’s fairly intuitive. Bluetooth-pairing is easy, there are USB ports for device connectivity, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

You swipe through the apps.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

The rest of the Velar’s functions use a second touchscreen, and it can be a tad confusing at first. The two big knobs perform multiple functions.

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Whenever you switch menus, that feature takes over. Seats, for instance. This is where you control heating and massage functions.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

This is what the AC/heating climate controls look like.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

And this is how you adjust the drive modes, which range from fuel-saving Eco to a cluster of off-road choices.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

You have to love an SUV that treats driving in sand differently from tackling “mud-rutts.”

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

You can also switch off the auto start-stop, as well as tweak the exhaust note.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

The Dynamic mode enables a lot of customisation for driving style and preference.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

The 825-watt Meridian premium audio system sounds phenomenal.

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

So what’s the verdict?

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2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. Matthew DeBord/Insider

It didn’t take me long to fall for the Velar in a big way. How long? Well, Mr. 5.0-Litre, 550-Horsepower, Supercharged V8, meet Mr. Highway On-Ramp. Roar! Whoosh! Growl.

This engine is so viscerally satisfying that while the Velar might come with other options – lower trim levels have a four-cylinder and a pair of V6s available – you gotta ask yourself, “Why?” This SUV’s heart is a beefy V8, and it wants to wear that heart on its gorgeous sleeve.

The Velar already had a lot going for it, from its elegant exterior to its suave, beautifully fitted insides. But the V8 puts it over the top.

Way over, in fact. I had the Velar back-to-back with a Lamborghini Huracán Evo Spyder in my test-vehicle progression, and I’m here to tell you that I wanted for little after I returned the Lambo and focused on the Range Rover.

The full-on SVAutobiography Dynamic option, as concocted by Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations unit, means that this Range is going after the Porsche Macan (and even sort of the Cayenne), the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63, the BMW X5 M, and the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. It certainly holds its own.

And in some ways, the Velar really is a proper, downsized version of the Range Rover SVAutobiography, its $US200,000-plus full-size counterpart. I, at no point, felt as though I were piloting a midsize SUV – that massive engine subdued any smallness in the SUV. The solidity of the vehicle also made for an impeccable merger of freeway cruising a twisty-road cornering.

I didn’t explore the Velar’s off-road capabilities, but they are many: hill-launch assist, low-traction launch, hill-descent control, all-terrain progress control, and dynamic terrain adaptation. These accompany a passel of driver-assist features, including adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, lane-keep, and a rear-traffic monitor.

What you get with the Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic is a potent backwoods chariot that can also dash from 0-60 mph in about four seconds and, despite its heft, gobble up curves with composure. Conjoined with the beauty of the machine, it all made me think that while $US95,000 is a lot, it isn’t that much – not when you’re getting so much SUV.

The 2020 Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition has achieved something special in the age of the luxury sport ute: it can reasonably claim to do it all. And look glorious the whole time.