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In-depth reviews

Range Rover Velar PHEV review

It's not the last word in practicality, but in plug-in hybrid form, the luxurious and good-to-drive Range Rover Velar is appealingly affordable to run for such an upmarket car

Range Rover Velar PHEV
Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Pros

  • Great to drive
  • Stunning looks
  • Low running costs

Cons

  • Pretty expensive
  • Diesel still better for high mileage
  • Not the most practical luxury SUV
Car typeElectric rangeFuel economyCO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid29-33 miles113-128mpg50-56g/km

Land Rover and sister brand Jaguar have been on a plug-in hybrid blitz of late, with petrol-electric versions of the Discovery Sport, Range Rover Evoque, E-Pace and F-Pace all joining the fray to do battle with established premium competition from Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Volvo.

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The latest model to get the plug-in treatment is the Range Rover Velar, the sleeker version of the larger Range Rover and Range Rover Sport – both of which have offered plug-in power for several years now. The Velar was intended from the outset to be a desirable, head-turning car, so it's hoped this kerb appeal will make the Velar PHEV more than just another big petrol-electric SUV that exists solely to take advantage of favourable company-car tax rates.

It certainly helps that the Velar was a pretty strong proposition in the first place, with a nicely balanced chassis and a smooth ride. The P400e powertrain in this version certainly lets you exploit that fully: there's 399bhp and 640Nm of torque on offer when you put your foot down, which is enough for a 5.1-second 0-60mph time.

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And when driving more sedately, the Velar offers serenely quiet progress – either because it's reverted to full electric mode, or because its clever noise-cancelling technology is suppressing any din from under the bonnet or outside.

Returning to matters financial, the Velar makes as compelling a case for company-car buyers as any plug-in. But you need to choose your spec carefully to get maximum benefit: only SE hits the magic 50g/km CO2 emissions mark that – together with the car's 33-mile electric range – ensures an 11% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax rating during the 2021/22 financial year.

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The other versions have CO2 numbers ranging from 51 to 56g/km and electric ranges from 29 to 32 miles, so fall into either the 14% and 15% band. But that's still significantly less than the 36% and 37% figures that apply to the purely petrol and diesel-engined Velar models.

As for fuel bills, if you rarely exceed the car's 30-or-so-mile electric range and can charge its 17.1kWh battery up at either or both ends of your journeys, they'll barely exist – but if you do regular long-distance runs that see the battery become fully depleted and the petrol engine have to work on its own, the claimed circa-120mpg economy figure will become a distant mirage. This is where diesel can still end up making sense for high-mileage drivers.

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While a lot of those points apply to the Velar's German rivals, there is one area where it comprehensively outdoes them: off-road ability. Land Rover never cuts corners in this respect and the Velar is no exception.

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It can also hold its head pretty high when it comes to interior quality and on-board technology: the new Pivi and Pivi Pro systems found in all the latest Jaguar and Land Rover models are a quantum leap over the brands' clunky setups of old. That said, the Velar itself is already a little behind the curve in this area, missing out on the lovely 11.4-inch touchscreen you get in the latest Land Rover Discovery.

The Discovery is also a better choice if it's sheer practicality you're after: the Velar will seat five at most (although three in the rear is a bit of squeeze), while the plug-in version sees boot capacity with all seats in place drop from 748 to 625 litres.

Pricing may also give you pause for thought if you're buying privately: the cheapest Velar plug-in will set you back a whopping £10,000 more than the entry-level petrol model and you can spend over £70,000 if you're minded to go for the all-bells-and-whistles R-Dynamic HSE version. But for company-car buyers fortunate enough to choose cars in this class, a hybrid Velar in one of the mid-range trims will be hard to resist.

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