Take a deep breath and say it out loud: 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition. It’s a doozy right? Well, it’s fitting, because Land Rover pulled all the stops to deliver a luxury SUV that features a taste of nearly everything the marque has to offer, from a supercharged V-8 engine to massaging seats—and much more. We spent the better part of a week cruising around Los Angles to see if this $95,455 as-tested luxury Brit powerhouse is worth the scratch.
You won’t need to add many options to the one-year-only SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition—or, as we’ve come to call it around the office, the SVADE—the standard configuration is generous, as our example proved over the course of our week with it. Purchasing a Velar at this trim level adds attractive exterior garnishes like Land Rover’s red-painted high-performance brakes and eye-catching 21-inch wheels, although our car received upgraded 22-inch alloys with an understated gloss dark grey finish ($800). Our test car wore Byron Blue paint, which had gorgeous depth and luster, seeming to change hue as the sun struck the surfaces at different angles.
Telling its Own Story
The Velar has more of a wagonoid look than other Land Rovers but once you’re in the driver’s seat, this Range Rover feels very much like an SUV. The windows up front offer massive, panoramic visibility, giving the impression that one is true Road Royalty when seated inside the vehicle. The quilted leather seats cosset occupants with adjustable bolsters are ideal road trip thrones, plus they come with standard massaging, heating, and ventilating functionality.
If it weren’t clear yet, Land Rover did a great job making the Velar’s cabin feel upscale. There are only a few places where (the dreaded) piano black plastic appears. Otherwise, the cabin is wrapped in leather and accented with aluminum trim. The smell of all this luxury is almost another feature itself. As a finishing touch, Land Rover added configurable ambient interior lighting for $255, which allows the owner to customize the lighting style and color to keep things feeling fresh or to set just the right mood.
Power and Speed
Plying the open roads of Southern California seems to be what the Velar SVADE does best. Its 550-horsepower, 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 engine has the same brash character it does in other Jaguar-Land Rover products. Acceleration is thrilling, in part due to the potent 502 lb-ft of torque output, but also because the mighty quad-tip active exhaust emits a crackling roar that only intensifies as the revs climb higher.
The SV-programmed eight-speed automatic transmission delivers crisp and accurate shifts, with gear changes that range from smooth in the comfort-oriented drive mode profiles to downright violent in the Dynamic setting. The drivetrain is a hair less intense than the 575-hp version that appears in the Range Rover Sport SVR but it still delivers epic acceleration, especially as it sends its stonking power to all four wheels. My only complaint about all this power comes down to the throttle tune: it can be a bit touchy at low speeds.
The Velar SVADE is fast, with a 170-mph top speed and a 0-60 mph sprint time of just 4.3 seconds. Owners will pay for this pleasure at the pump, however, and will have to make do with EPA ratings of 15 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway; in the real world, plan for worse if you’re likely to succumb to the temptation to hear more of that delectable exhaust note.
How Dynamic is this Dynamic Edition?
As with the engine and transmission, Land Rover’s SV department handled the SVADE’s suspension tuning, yielding a sport-oriented version of the Velar’s air suspension system. Even in its most aggressive profiles, the Velar SVADE irons out bumps, sheltering occupants from the harshest of road imperfections the L.A.-area has to offer.
It’s a different story when the road gets twisty, unfortunately. The Velar SVADE turns corners like a giraffe on stilts, awkwardly coping with direction changes in a way its performance-focused, SVR-badged bigger brother does not. After a single run through my favorite canyon road the SVADE’s sloppy handling was a real disappointment, even allowing for the “peerless luxury” positioning of the SVAutobiography subbrand.
Likewise, the included active electronic differential and torque vectoring by braking systems didn’t seem to allow for any rotation when I called upon the Velar for more spirited driving. The brakes also seemed to cope poorly even with my abbreviated stint of enthusiastic driving; they squeaked miserably for 30 minutes after I called it quits.
Equipment, Features, and Options
The Velar SVADE has impressive technology in the form of standard safety systems and driving aids. This model also came equipped with an optional head-up display for $970.
Our test car was also equipped with the “Driver Assist Pack,” a $1,300 addition. With steering assistance to compliment the standard adaptive cruise control, high speed emergency braking, park assist, a 360-degree parking aid, and rear traffic monitoring, it’s a significant upgrade over the base configuration. Most notably, however, is the addition of an ever-useful surround camera system, which displays the vehicle’s surroundings in crisp detail and grants piece of mind when the Velar needs to be wheeled into tight spaces.
Like many actual Range Rover customers, I didn’t take the Velar off-road, but its bevy of all-terrain equipment is worth mentioning. Naturally, it has a wide range of off-road chassis and traction control settings, in lockstep with other Land Rover vehicles. It also has hill launch assist, low traction launch, and hill descent control. Land Rover also delivered our Velar SVADE with the “All-Terrain Progress Control” ($165) and “Terrain Response 2 with Dynamic Program” ($150) options, which brings a beefier version of the terrain-management system that works in even more places and situations.
Land Rover equips the Velar with a dual-screen infotainment that looks beautiful and sophisticated. The touchscreen’s input response is horrific, however, and some of the soft touch buttons, like those that control the air conditioning, have woefully slow response times. The graphics on the displays are high-resolution, but the display lags whenever the screen is changed. The center console serves as the primary hub for access to the Velar SVADE’s settings and technology, but its user experience is a jarring antithesis of luxury.
Closing the Book on the Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition
Falling several thousand dollars shy of the six-figure mark, this Range Rover makes a compelling case for itself in the highly competitive luxury SUV market. Remarkably well-equipped, the SVADE would still be a compelling buy even without any extra options. With a base price of $91,815, the Velar SVADE certainly undercuts competitors like the BMW X6 M and Mercedes-Benz GLE 63 S Coupe on price, but it doesn’t quite have the performance or technological refinement to run with the full-on luxury performance crew. For those who don’t mind a more relaxed pace, and are looking to make a statement just this side of the $100,000 goalposts, however, it would be difficult to find a more stylish or luxurious choice.
2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition Pros
- Aggressive powertrain and exhaust
- Sleek design
- Stuffed with luxurious amenities
2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition Cons
- Slow infotainment software
- Dynamics fall short of SV reputation
- Touchy throttle
2020 Land Rover Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition Specifications
|PRICE||$91,815/$95,455 (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||5.0L supercharged DOHC 32-valve V-8/550 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 502 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD SUV|
|EPA MILEAGE||15/20 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||189.2 x 80 x 65.6 in|
|0-60 MPH||4.3 sec|
|TOP SPEED||170 mph|
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