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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks,

Here's the post from my Volvo XC60 forum where we have a thread which began in early 2016 as I started my search for a new car. With over 1,400 replies and in excess of 100,000 views it's become something of an unexpected hit!

If you want to read the rest of the thread then the link is at the foot of this post. But, be warned, you will need to set some serious bedtime reading aside for this one....

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Sorry folks, forgive the delay which wasn't intentional. I hate it when people tease and I wouldn't do that. The delay is because it's been so, so busy - elderly parents, work (from home this weekend), the trip with the family yesterday and the complexity of the Range Rover Velar.

Once again, can I start by mentioning my dealer - Lloyd Kelso. The car was in perfect condition when we arrived yesterday and that is no small accolade coming from me! She had been given a second PDI and valeted to a higher standard than the last visit.

Everything went well although it could have failed at the last minute. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) promised us months ago that we would receive a compensation cheque from them in recognition of the fact we had missed the 1 April 2017 deadline for the new VED road tax hike for cars with list prices over £40k. Despite it being all agreed, JLR hadn't determined how they were going to make it actually happen. So, in the end, my dealer stepped in and passed me a 'Brown Envelope" (yes, it really was) stuffed with a cheque from them. They confirmed that they would seek reimbursement from JLR themselves.

Otherwise, it was the usual stuff - a bouquet of beautiful flowers for Mrs A in the boot, the presentation key rings and box, a Land Rover umbrella and the free Service Pack for five years. We agreed with the Sales Executive that, since we probably knew more about the Velar than him, we would skip the detailed walk through and just say thank you to everyone, sign off on collection, grab the keys and drive off for the Scottish Highlands.

So what about the car then, I hear you ask?

Well, it's lovely and so far appears to be in perfect working order. I'll be honest, I am gobsmacked that this is the case - especially the onboard technology. Oh, hang on - there is one thing. The media system isn't getting on seamlessly with my two USB drives with music. Sometimes everything is fine and then, at other times on start-up, it says the queue of music is corrupt and won't play anything. I will get to the bottom of that over the next few weeks.

Driving Experience
Okay, let's cut to the chase. What is the RR Velar D300 V6 R-dynamic like to drive? How does it compare to the Jaguar F-Pace with the same engine? What's the ride like with air suspension on 21" rims. This stuff has been well documented by the mainstream journalists but here's a real-world average guy!

Well, the honest answer is that the Velar is neither the sporty F-Pace (or Macan) nor is it a ponderous SUV either. It sits between the typical SUV driving experience and the sporty extreme - offset towards the sporty end somewhat.

It's a bit weird really. The F-Pace defies the laws of physics in terms of handling and the way the 700Nm of torque force you back into your seat. The Jaguar wants to be driven hard almost every time you get into it. On the other hand, the Velar is controlled and tight. Prim and proper. It doesn't beg to be driven hard although she will quite happily be a willing partner if you want to 'press on' into corners and fast country roads. But it's not a thrilling drive. Instead I find myself thinking how composed and predictable the Velar performs when driving such roads at night (the A7 from Edinburgh down to the Central Borders).

The suspension is much more forgiving than either my F-Pace on springs & 22" rims or the Volvo XC60 R-design on 20" wheels. It is composed and balanced at speed on motorways. It's very quiet in the cabin. It doesn't wallow but it doesn't float along quite like the Jaguar XJ.

And the reason is, I suspect, because of the weight of the Velar compared to either the F-Pace or the XJ. All three cars have the same 300bhp, V6, 700Nm diesel engine. But, despite the Velar having more aluminium in the shell than the F-Pace, the Range Rover is heavier. I suspect the full-length panoramic opening sunroof weighs a fair bit. But overall, the Velar's performance is strong but not astounding. Or is it that occupants are so cosseted in the cabin that there is no sense of drama when the power is applied? Probably a bit of both I suspect. And of course, the engine only had 24 miles on the clock when we pulled off the forecourt and just 250 as of this evening - so things need to loosen up a bit and we don't want to push it too much too soon.

Now at this point I want to talk about tyre pressure. People don't realise how incorrect tyre pressure can make or break the ride. Checking this afternoon the onboard Tyre Pressure Monitoring System told me that, despite the recommendation for light loads being 34PSI all round, not a single wheel had the right pressure and Noe of them were at the same inflation. They were all overinflated to a greater of lesser extent - one being 39PSI. Not good.

The ride is better still, especially at lower speed over broken surfaces, now that I have dropped all four wheels back to 34PSI.

The eight speed auto ZF gearbox is fine. It's not as instant as the Porsche PDK box but is almost seamless. Pull away isn't as lazy as the F-Pace but neither is it quite as fast as I would have liked due to JLR's torque converter tending to sound a bit like a slipping clutch at very low speed and on inclines.

Overall verdict then on the engine, gearbox and suspension? It's composed, quiet and delivers pace and handling beyond what you would normally expect from an SUV of this size. It doesn't blow me away with its performance like the F-Pace, neither does it waft along quite like the XJ. It's somewhere in the middle and it's hard to describe. It fits our desires very well but I am left with the overall conclusion that it's impossible to have it all in one single car - a high driving position, sports performance, a limousine ride, great power:weight ratio but solidity and toys too.

Shame that! 8.5/10

Build Quality
Hey, it's impeccable - truly. How is it possible that JLR make both the F-Pace and the Velar on the same production line and yet the cars feel so, so different for quality, fit and finish?

Everything is tight on the Velar - precise shut lines, perfect interior, no rattles and a real solidity. You shut the doors and they close with the reassuring sound you expect. The whole thing hangs together perfectly.

Clearly, the boys on the production line see an F-Pace and relax. Maybe a few of them even head off for a break, leaving their colleagues to cover for them. And then a Velar body shell heads towards them and their backs stiffen, heads rise and brains become focused. I jest but that is what it feels like when you have owned and driven both cars. The difference is palpable.

Everything is exactly as it should be. Leather stitching is as straight as the original sections of the M1 motorway and there is just nothing I can fault on this front. Well done Brits, you have clearly learned a thing or two from your German cousins!

Score 10/10.

Technology
Well good people, this is an interim report. Why? There's just so much of it!

I am computer literate, I use a smartphone, iPad with lots of business productivity apps, Windows computers at work, social media (you knew that already) and home laptop. I am not a geek but, if there's a practical gain to be had from technology, then I am up for it. Otherwise, no thanks.

The display screens on the Velar are beautiful. They are truly better than anything I have seen from BMW, Mercedes, Porsche or Audi. I cannot comment on the XC90 or Tesla - they look to have a similar concept but I thing the pictures I have seen leave me thinking that the Velar is better than the Tesla but perhaps equal to the Volvo XC90 in this department (the Volvo does look very nice at my local dealership inside when the right interior configuration is selected - shame about the 4cyl diesel engine then!).

The definition is excellent, the response rate only a fraction slower than my iPad and the interface is actually very logical. Those two 'magic dials' on the lower display are magical - for example, amongst the many things they can do is adjust your heated seat settings - just press the dial and turn to set the heat of your seat. So much better than the XJ or F-Pace in which you needed to drill down multiple layers to access the functionality. No, JLR have hit the spot with this, for sure.

There's just one thing then that niggles - there's just so, so much of it. Really there is. And so, as a new Velar owner, I feel bombarded with data as I drive along - the weather, the football, flight information, news, music, trip statistics, google satellite views, street view, satnav, speed camera alerts, ambient lighting choices etc. Honestly, the list goes on and on. I don't think my brain was designed for this data onslaught while driving.

Something will need to adjust or give. I suspect it'll be a bit of both over time. But I have switched the football results for my favourite team off. I have a Dottie news blackout rule on Saturdays so I can enjoy Match of the Day in the evening and live in hope that Tony Pulis can pull off yet another exciting 0-0 draw with two banks of four. Yes, WBA are the only Premier Leauge side that I know who once won the match with no shots on target - it was an own goal that got it for us! Season ticket anyone?

Anyway, I spent hours this afternoon setting the car up as I want it. I now have 4G wifi access to something via EE on a 12mth PAYG 2Gb per month data sim. The car connects to my home wifi while on the drive. I can start her up remotely from anywhere in the world, track her journeys, vital statistics and state of health on my phone or iPad. When we park up, the suspension drops to allow easy access and then rises again as we pull away.

And, of course, I look like a complete idiot swinging my foot behind the rear wheels trying to get the gesture tailgate to operate. But my activity key worked first time so I will be using that while I play badminton tomorrow night.

The audio quality is very good but, sadly, not quite as rich as the Jaguar XJ. I wonder why? I have the upgraded surround sound Meridian 825w system with something called trifield surround sound. I have tried it with uncompressed FLAC music files ripped straight from high quality CD recordings and I find it just a little bright, a little too digital. There's more to do here I suspect.

So what's the score for the technology? Well, this is an interim score but, for the 451 page hard-copy instruction manual alone (there are other documents in the JLR wallet) here's my score: 9/10

Interim Conclusion
Mrs A's verdict is 10/10 and she says Holly (that's her name) is beautiful and she is totally in love with the Velar (that's a direct quote).

The lad gave it 9.5/10. He says it's great, no car is perfect and he would have one himself - which is, he says, the ultimate accolade for someone driving a sports coupe at 25yrs old.

Me? Well, I am a perfectionist and she is a cruel mistress. The Velar has, so far, done everything I expected her to do. But no one single car can do everything.

I loved the Jaguar XJ, she was called Camille. What a driver's car that was and yet it was a limousine too. But it was impractical - my defunct dishwasher has been sitting in my garage waiting for an SUV to arrive so we could transfer it to the recycling centre. And one looks like a true twot pulling up at farms in an XJ. It's RWD and so, in the wet it fishtails and would be hopeless in the snow. You sit down low, which is great for handling, but not so great for the command view. And the boot is a weird shape. Plus Mrs A says it makes her feel old when she is driving it.

I loved the Jaguar F-Pace, albeit for just the three weeks we drove her. She was called Heidi and I remember detailing her for about eight hours before dropping her into the dealer for repairs - never to be returned to me again! Heidi was a joy to drive on the open, fast twisty roads around the Borders. But she wanted to be driven fast all of the time, was a bit fidgety on town roads and the build quality always felt a bit suspect - not just that noisy offside front wheel!

The Range Rover Velar is really well built (as far as I can tell). Much better than the two Jaguars or my previous Volvo XC60. The design inside and out is stunning. It's a special experience to be inside the Velar's cabin. The broken dishwasher will easily fit inside the big boot, I sit up high, she handles well, can overtake Nissan Micras without any drama and I could probably control North Korea's missile development programme with the huge amount of IT equipment JLR have loaded into the car.

Oddly then, I am awarding Holly just 8.5/10 at this stage, 24hrs into ownership. I don't know why as I want to edge closer to the perfect 10 (especially when one has spent slightly over £70k for the thing). Perhaps it's the hassle over the last 18mths, maybe the fact that I have driven five different cars this year or it could be that Holly and I need more time together.

What a journey this has been. What a thread this has become (we broke the 100k views this weekend). Cars, we just love them really. Enjoy them because I suspect that the upcoming disruptive change of autonomous cars and electric may be a game changer.

I will get some images and further news over the coming week. In the meantime, have a good one yourselves - whatever you're driving.

Best wishes,

Arianne

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Hyperlink to the main thread itself:

https://www.volvoforums.org.uk/showthread.php?t=243664
 

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First of all, thank you for sharing your impressions! I'm not sharing the judgment of the fellow commentators, though.

About "It doesn't beg to be driven hard although she will quite happily be a willing partner if you want to ". This assures me that the 6 cyl are not needed for a Velar, specially not in countries where speed limits are in place. That's from a guy owning a Z4 340hp in Germany.

About the overwhelming amount of information. I have a different take on this. "I don't think my brain was designed for this data onslaught while driving" who is asking you to do so if not yourself?
The measurement is to be done by the individual. You can't blame information to be available, it's the individual to choose to consume it. Is a smartphone to criticize because of the amount of information it can deliver at a given situation? In my opinion it's up to the individual to adjust the handling that suits the situation and time of consumption. Not the information to blame. You don't blame the 300 hp to be available while driving through town for to much power. JLR did an excellent job here and there is nothing to complain, but to congrat here in my opinion. I don't want to get into discussing a parent mode, right?
It seems you're enjoying some of the usages made available?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Joe said:
First of all, thank you for sharing your impressions! I'm not sharing the judgment of the fellow commentators, though.

About "It doesn't beg to be driven hard although she will quite happily be a willing partner if you want to ". This assures me that the 6 cyl are not needed for a Velar, specially not in countries where speed limits are in place. That's from a guy owning a Z4 340hp in Germany.

About the overwhelming amount of information. I have a different take on this. "I don't think my brain was designed for this data onslaught while driving" who is asking you to do so if not yourself?
The measurement is to be done by the individual. You can't blame information to be available, it's the individual to choose to consume it. Is a smartphone to criticize because of the amount of information it can deliver at a given situation? In my opinion it's up to the individual to adjust the handling that suits the situation and time of consumption. Not the information to blame. You don't blame the 300 hp to be available while driving through town for to much power. JLR did an excellent job here and there is nothing to complain, but to congrat here in my opinion. I don't want to get into discussing a parent mode, right?
It seems you're enjoying some of the usages made available?
You are right about the data and functionality. I control this as the human being - what check boxes I choose to shut down etc. And which I choose to learn and absorb. There are four stages of learning. I am at the Conscious Competence stage with our new Velar. I knew this would happen and anticipated it - it's how I learn anything new . It's how everyone does. Eventually it will sink down into my Unconscious Competence and it'll be as natural as my instinctive shots tonight in badminton! I am excellent at badminton and this is why - I don't need to think about which shot I will play, it now just happens. My reference to data onslaught and the display screens was a play on words, nothing more.

Regarding the V6 engine..... well there's more to it than just 0-60mph and outright speed. The V6 is an altogether smoother unit than any modern 4cyl diesel. So, even if one doesn't push the car incessantly, the experience of driving the V6 is a better one - albeit it comes at a price premium and it's not quite as agile on the nose because of the extra weight of the engine itself. If I had wanted a 4cyl diesel then I would have seriously considered the Volvo XC90 - all Volvo cars now run off the common engine design architecture of turbo, power pulse 4cyl diesels if a diesel is what you select. They no longer use their D5 five cyl units and that's a shame. There is a story of the guy pulling away from the barrier of the French Autoroute in his new XC90 - loaded with the family and holiday luggage he was outpaced by almost everything else. They just aren't as smooth or quiet as the V6. And that's why I am glad to have the D300. Its marginal as the D240 and D180 Ingenium units are fine too.

Best wishes,

Arianne
 

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Awesome Arianne, so pleased it has worked out for you, and love your descriptions so far, which is as I expected.

One thing needs to be said though....24hrs and no pics!!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
They're coming but I've been so, so busy! Badminton in Jedburgh tonight and enjoyed the drive very much. Definitely getting used to the car - driving position, handling etc. Enjoying it more now than on Saturday as a result.

Both USB drives are now working. One has a small number of reference FLAC lossless music files. The other has a mixture and, on this one, it seems the media player gets confused - perhaps because of the file formats. It displays different library sizes of tracks and I wonder if it is only reading those tracks in the format of the first song on start up?

My reference FLAC files sound better. I still think the Jaguar XJ Meridian Surround Sound system was a bit better.

Anyway, be patient with the images. They will come.

Arianne
 

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Lancer said:
Mud flaps? None fitted I guess? I live on Dartmoor, like you in muddy country. Also, I wonder if visually they would be a nice feature? What do you think?
I too am interested in mud-flaps - I wonder if they can be retro fitted? I would assume this should be the case.

It's proving impossible to keep my Black Velar clean for more than a day, and it always seems to rain right after I get the car washed! 🤦‍♂️

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There are mud flaps on ebay so assume they can be retro fitted, I see no reason why not.

As for black cars....... never again!!
 

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Milky400 said:
There are mud flaps on ebay so assume they can be retro fitted, I see no reason why not.

As for black cars....... never again!!
Cheers, I'll take look. Hopefully that'll save me some money on car washes.

I am already considering how I can get myself into another colour Velar in 12-18 months

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Mud flaps are a hotly debated subject and my personal opinion is 'no thanks' as I don't like the look. Each to their own though.

I do have something that none of you have on your Velars though - I have a cup holder cover for the two bottle holders just in front of the armrests.

When I get a minute I will upload photos so you can see how great it looks (I hate the open slots as they just fill with crumbs, dust and other junk).

Fab!

Arianne
 

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Interesting........
 

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Can I ask one question Arianne.

What does it connect to your home network for ?
Is their benefits ? I assumed like the Disco Sport it has a SIM to talk to the cloud for locking/start up etc.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
To be honest, I am not sure yet! But, as soon as she is within range of my home network she switches automatically from my SIM card to the wireless network. I have yet to know what functionality this might give me because I need time to explore the digital stuff - there's so much of it!

Arianne
 

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VelarDave said:
Can I ask one question Arianne.

What does it connect to your home network for ?
Is their benefits ? I assumed like the Disco Sport it has a SIM to talk to the cloud for locking/start up etc.

Thanks
The only use case I can imagine is to save on data while close to home. This is useful for times when you want to use the app to plan a route and send it to the car's sat nav system.

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Was a great report though.....I'm still in the same 10/10 phase myself but don't like to crow about it given Arianne's later experience 😱

However I'm most definitely still very much loving the Velar, taking it to the French Alps in July so will be interesting to see how we all get on on an extended trip. ..will be doing around 2,000 miles in 10 days.
 
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