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Test Drive: Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic SE D300

ACROFAN=Yong-Man Kwon | Published : Monday, September 25, 2017, 10:22 pm
SUV will be the area that is most interested in the global automobile market recently. From subminiature CUV and crossovers to luxury SUV, which could be challenging RV, SUV market is getting bigger and more segmented. At the same time, as well as having all the advantages of SUV type, onroad type SUVs, which pursue the performance and comfort of onroad driving rather than off-road driving, are now becoming completely mainstream in the SUV market.

This kind of market movement in recent years has affected the strategy of many automobile manufacturers. Brands that were standing apart from SUVs are also trying to approach this market with onroad-focused SUVs and crossovers, and other brands that were traditionally dealing with SUVs are expanding their capabilities into new models and segments. And this change of market often brings both crisis and opportunity at the same time. From the perspective of Jaguar Land Rover, this change seems to have served as an opportunity to both brands.

Range Rover Velar is a midrange SUV model that sits between Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Sport in its existing Range Rover brand lineup. Although it also has unique off-road performance of Range Rover, it expresses onroad-focused characteristic. Range Rover Velar is a model that presents the past and future of Range Rover, by combining the latest trends and technologies and clearly handing the heritage of Range Rover, as well as completing Range Rover Family lineup.

 
▲ 'Range Rover Velar', first appeared in Korea at the 2017 Seoul Motor Show

The name 'Range Rover Velar', originated in 'Velare' in Latin meaning 'concealment' or 'curtain,' was also the name of the development of the Range Rover prototypes that only 26 were made in 1969. It now once again reappeared in the world in about 50 years. Range Rover Velar not only expresses a completely new dimension of Range Rover that opens up the era of the future while continuing the heritage of Range Rover, but also has proper modern interpretation while inheriting Range Rover's unique design DNA.

Range Rover Velar has refined its details based on the latest design elements of "familiar" Range Rover, which is similar to the existing Range Rover Evoque and Sport. Floating loops and clamshell-shaped bonnets have inherited the main elements of the existing Range Rover, and the powerfully rising waistline is an element that completes unique silhouettes and balanced exteriors with off-road functionality. The side design is also keeping simplicity, but highlighting the dynamics of the vehicle through the fender vents in the character strings.

The wheel base is 2,874mm so that by keeping the front overhang short and the rear overhang long, thereby achieving the balance overall and highlighting the presence from the full length. The wheels ranging from 19 to 21 inches also make this ratio more attractive. On top of that, the headlights and taillights utilize LEDs to take full advantage of the increased degree of freedom of design. LED headlights provide higher light intensity than the previous designs, and LED tail lights also enhance the design's completeness with sophisticated shapes.

On the other hand, a distinctive feature found in the design of Range Rover Velar is the automatic deployment flush door handle. The flush door handle, which was first applied in Range Rover Velar, is usually in place, but it comes out for allowing you to open the door when you unlock the door with smart key or press the hidden button on the handle. In addition, when the car is locked or starts to run at a speed of more than 8km/h, the door handle returns to its original position, providing an aerodynamic efficiency and fuel economy improvement as well as a sleek side design.

 
▲ In the unique tone of Range Rover, the atmosphere of the interior is changed to the new infotainment system.

 
▲ The buttons to be in the center fascia are hidden with the capacitive touch interface and two dials.

The interior provides freshness focused on the new Touch Pro Duo infotainment system with Range Rover's unique elegant, stylish atmosphere. Based on the new infotainment system, a slick design is completed by integrating various functions, which were originally placed at the center fascia, into the two capacitive touch screens. At the same time, the interior is finished with materials such as fine leather, creating a space that is luxurious and spacious enough for the Range Rover.

InControl Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, which uses two touch screens, performs functions such as navigation and infotainment on the upper display, and vehicle control functions such as an air conditioner or a terrain response system on the lower display. On the lower display, the touchscreen's operability is complemented with two analog dials, and a flexible touch interface allows for an extremely simplified operator interface. On the other hand, the steering wheel is equipped with a capacitive switch to provide various functions.

A sport command-drive position design is applied to Range Rover Velar so that performance-centered design and luxurious comfort are well combined. S, SE and R-dynamic SE models provide 10-way power front seats, heating function and memory function in driver's seat. R-dynamic HSE and First Edition models provide 20-way adjustable power front seat, and massage, memory, heating and cooling function. In addition, the rear seats are also equipped with heating control and electric backrest angle adjustment function, allowing for a more comfortable ride with a slight adjustment of angle.

The spacious space from the relatively long wheelbase can be used more comfortably with various functions. The basic loading space is 448 liters and the rear compartment enables 4:2:4 folding, providing up to 1,731 liters of loading space. In addition, the center armrest with split sliding function on the front seat and provides a practical storage space, two USB ports and three 12V power sockets can be used in the passenger seat. There is also a 'gesture tailgate system' that allows easy opening and closing of the tailgate via a simple kick motion.

 
▲ There are three engine lineups, and they are featured by the naming standard, 'output'.

Range Rover has three different engines. All three engines maximize efficiency when driving in the city by equipping with intelligent stop/start technology and smart regeneration charging function to recover kinetic energy from braking. The engine lineup includes D240 2-liter four-cylinder twin-turbocharged Ingenium diesel engine with 240 horsepower and 51kg.m torque, D300 3-liter V6 twin-turbocharged diesel engine with 300 horsepower and 71.4kg.m torque, and P380 3-liter V6 super charger gasoline engine with 380 horsepower and maximum torque of 45.9kg.m. It is a feature that all of the engine names are simply named for output.

Among them, the D240 engine has a considerably higher performance compared to conventional 2L diesel engines, and it is noticeable that it achieves performance close to that of a 3L engine. In addition, D300 engine, which will be the main engine of Range Rover Velar, has higher output than other 3L diesel engines and can provide power performance of 0-100km/h at 6.5 seconds. The transmission is combined with an 8-speed automatic transmission in all engine configurations, designed to have little shifting shock, and the shifting strategy is intelligently controlled according to driving style and driving mode.

The driving system is equipped with a rear-wheel-based intelligent AWD system, Terrain Response 2 and All Terrain Progress Control, providing stable driving performance both on and off-road. In addition, the intelligent torque-on-demand AWD system continuously optimizes the torque distributed to the wheels, and the torque vectoring system that utilizes the brakes helps maintain the desired driving line and prevent understeer phenomenon during high-speed cornering.

The suspension uses double wishbone at front, integrated link at rear wheel to secure both handling and ride comfort at the high level, while D300 and P380 models feature an electronically controlled air suspension system that allows you to control characteristics of suspension depending on driving mode and situation. In addition, electric power steering (EPAS) provides smooth running sensation and intuitive steering response. It also has an active return system that promotes the self-centering effect and a variable ratio system that adjusts the response power according to the operation of the steering wheel.

 
▲ The lightweight aluminum platform also leads to Jaguar models in the same group.

Range Rover Velar's aluminum intensive monocoque body is a modular structure made up of a variety of advanced materials, with more than 82% of advanced aluminum construction. Especially, by using 6000 series high-strength aluminum for the side of the vehicle, the panel thickness is reduced while the strength is maintained. Along with the characteristics focusing on onroad, aluminum was used for roof of the car to lower the center force of the vehicle. In addition, by applying self-piercing rivets for each panel joint and a variety of high-tech materials such as magnesium cross beam and carbon composite material for exteriors, it was possible to realize lightweight and excellent collision protection capability.

Its safety-related technology is a combination of a variety of safety features such as advanced driver assistance systems includes adaptive cruise control, cue assist, adaptive speed limiting, and six airbags. The lane departure warning system informs the driver of the haptic warning through the steering wheel when the driver leaves the lane, and the lane keeping assist system prevents the lane departure through the counter steering. In addition, the driver status monitoring monitors the driver's operation status of the vehicle and recommends that the driver take a rest for a while if it is judged that the driver is drowsy driving. Moreover, the blind zone monitoring system and access vehicle detection function are also installed.

In the parking assistance function, the 360-degree parking assist function displays the overhead view of the vehicle on the screen via cameras and informs how close the obstacle is to help parking in tight space. In addition, a 'park assist' uses an ultrasonic sensor to detect proper parallel and vertical parking spaces, and when the driver accepts the parking position, the vehicle automatically steers, and the driver only needs to operate the gear, accelerator pedal and brake. What's more, the semi-automatic advanced tow assist function helps reverse during towing the trailer, and the hitch assist function helps the vehicle more easily connect to the trailer.

On the other hand, through 'InControl Remote' application, it is possible to remotely lock or unlock the vehicle, check the amount of residual fuel, check the parking position of the vehicle, and set the temperature control system by remotely starting the vehicle. Besides, by using Land Rover app installed on smartphones, it is also possible to use 'Secure Tracker' technology, which tracks stolen vehicles, and SOS Emergency Call, which provides optimized assistance service and automatically detects collision.

 
▲ The test model is R-Dynamics SE D300, which is expected as the mainstream model.

Acrofan tested Range Rover Velar R-Dynamics SE D300 model through the media test-drive event of Range Rover Velar. This model with 3L engine is the mainstream model of Range Rover, and the course for the test drive was mainly focused on onroads, including highways. Through this test, it was able to confirm the comfort in daily driving and performance in high-speed driving. In particular, it was confirmed that the luxurious comfort offered by the Range Rover models is still emphasized in Range Rover Velar.

When you get in the car, the overall composition of the interior is comfortable and very neat. This was possible because it has minimized the number of physically controlled buttons with 'Touch Pro Duo' infotainment system, along with white-based interior color. The dashboard also has a higher resolution display, allowing you to check a variety of information using a total of three screens. However, I think that this new operation method may be a bit cumbersome in function switching and manipulation, and it might be liked or hated according to personal taste.

In general, vibration and noise are well suppressed, and the speed goes up very smoothly from the start to the mid-high range. To ensure this smoothness, the soft start at the beginning could be a bit frustrating, but if you have a bit of composure, the pleasantness that you would get will be bigger. A large amount of torque is poured out from the early 1,500rpm, but it is impressive that it is smooth so that the driver does not feel uncomfortable. In addition, because the noise and vibration are suppressed and the behavior is stable, the feeling of speed could be less than the actual speed.

 
▲ Among driving modes, 'automatic' mode sets a situation automatically with various situations.

 
▲ 'Dynamic' mode changes not only a characteristic of a vehicle but also lighting settings.

When driving on highways in everyday with comfort mode, it almost eliminates noise and vibration even on poor road surfaces. The electronically controlled air suspension continually monitors the road surface, responds to changes promptly, and shows calm movements in most situations. Even when going over a speed bump, it filters out a lot of shock in the predicted range to some extent, and as soon as it goes out of the bump, it takes a right posture. However, when it went beyond the predicted range, it was able to respond in front, but sometimes there was a feeling that it stops filtering at behind.

As Range Rover Velar is an SUV that focuses on onroad driving performance, the feeling of high-speed cruising is truly impressive. As well as noise and shock coming from the road surface, it is hardly felt even when the engine speed increases, and the wind noise is also held only when reaching fairly high speed area. This seems to be soundproof measures and low air resistance of cd 0.32. Moreover, air suspension keeps the movement of the vehicle calm and smooth by reducing car vibration. The gear ratio of the 8-speed transmission also contributes to maintaining comfort in cruising, and at around 100 km/h, it can stay at around 1,400 rpm.

In dynamic mode, the propensities of the engine, transmission, and suspension are more dynamically adjusted, and more output and responsiveness are achieved by using higher rpm. However, it is quite outstanding at fluently drawing output rather than standing out sporty sound. Although it has a diesel engine with a lot of torque, it's excellent at achieving the output of the rev range of over 3,000 rpm, so you will get a feeling of Range Rover in any style of driving. And even in situations such as a sudden change of lane, it was impressive at showing calm motion without big leaning.

The electric steering almost eliminates the information on the road surface, giving the driver confidence with a fairly unique effort setting at high speed cornering. As even suspension is so calm, I feel like this car will run just as well as a sports sedan or crossover. But believing all of these senses can be a bit dangerous, because, although the limitation seems to be high, the tires collapse sooner than expected. Of course, even in such a case, torque vectoring quickly puts the line in, but sometimes there was a feeling that the feedback was a bit exaggerated than the actual situation of the vehicle.

 
▲ The navigation fitted to the situations in Korea has a good sense of comments.

 
▲ The Meridian surround sound system worked well with the luxurious feel of the car.

Although the basic recognition rate and the brightness of the screen are flawless, that most of the interface inside the vehicle is worked by touch might be a little difficult if there is sweat or moisture on the hand. In addition, in the case of a multipurpose rotary used as an auxiliary, its feeling of operating is unclear and a late reaction or a mistake in use is a little unsatisfactory. The infotainment system is also the latest system with enhanced performance, but the comfortableness in use is felt only a little since the interface is more brilliant. On the other hand, the localized aspect of the interface is done quite excellent.

The driver assistance functions of the test vehicle were experienced by the cruise control function and the lane departure warning system. The lane departure warning system warns the lane quite accurately, but the feeling of vibration to even door glass when warning through vibration loses a sense of luxury. In addition, the control part in the steering for the driver assistance function, vehicle, and dashboard setting has a combination of the touch and button type. In some cases, the feeling of operation method by touch is somewhat inconvenient depending on the situation of fingers.

Meanwhile, Range Rover Velar's "luxury" could be felt from not only material and design, but also the audio performance of the class. The Meridian surround sound system was used in the test car, with a system output of 825W, and it was a remarkable setting to get clear sound of high-end sound in a soundproofed car. This advanced audio system is a pretty outstanding combination to the character of Range Rover Velar, which is generally characterized by quietness and stability.

 
▲ Between Evoque and Sport, Range Rover Velar has unwaveringly sought its position and character.

Range Rover Velar is in a position where "exquisite balance" is demanded from various appearances. It is quite tricky to have a "Range Rover" character and competitiveness among strong competitors, while being a model that links Range Rover's past and future and maintaining balance in the positioning between the Range Rover Evoque and the Sport. However, Range Rover Velar gives a feeling that it has resolved this difficult task "like a Range Rover" in step with the trend of a new era.

Range Rover Velar is a model like "Range Rover" in many ways. It obstinately left some consideration for off-road while still adapting to the situation emphasizing onroad performance. And I guess that they considered characteristics of this car is more comfort and luxury than powerful, precise performance on road. Moreover, between Range Rover Evoque and Sport, it seems to be closer to Range Rover Sport, but many worries about the intentions to enter between the two models without awkwardness could be seen everywhere.

Range Rover Velar would not be a car to ride with a sharp sense. Rather, I believe the ways to feel all the charm of this car are feeling sophisticated design and the unique luxury of Range Rover brand that has been passed down until now, leaving a margin for both a car and driver, and enjoying the margin. Of course, having both professional level of on and off-road with the same level of performance, "Range Rover Velar" is like professional all-around "generalist" that cannot be said to be specialized in one side.

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