Range Rover Velar - long-term review - Report No:3 2022 | Top Gear
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BBC TopGear
Long-term review

Range Rover Velar - long-term review

£67,740 / £72,145 as tested / £829 PCM
Published: 15 Jan 2020
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SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • SPEC

    Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic HSE D300

  • ENGINE

    2993cc

  • BHP

    300bhp

  • MPG

    42.8mpg

  • 0-62

    6.7s

How's our Range Rover Velar's interior holding up?

The Velar comes with leather seats as standard. Of course it does. Every luxury car worth a hide does. Pretty much any car can come hide-clad in fact, which surely devalues leather as a luxury product. Makes you wonder why there’s no alternative. Especially when you consider the drawbacks of leather: it’s slippery, often creaks in a farty way and is slow to adapt to temperature changes. It stays cold in winter, and I hope we’ve all experienced that special kind of pleasure that is watching a beachfront ponce slide unwarily into his black leather convertible on a hot summer day.

Anyway, here’s an alternative. Instead of Windsor leather in the Velar, you can tick the box marked Premium Textile and Suedecloth. It’s a no cost option on the higher spec models, but will set you back £3,500 on the cheaper versions. Still, that’s less than the £4,300 upgrade to smarter Windsor leather. This consists of two separate materials, textile for the centre sections, suedecloth for the flanking bolsters. No animal involved here – the suedecloth is synthetic, the fibres fabricated from recycled plastic bottles. Opt for the Premium Textile Pack and you get a suedecloth steering wheel as well. You want that – tactile with a bit of squish factor.

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The textile is better still. Developed by a Danish materials company called Kvadrat it’s a blend of 30 per cent wool and 70 per cent polyester that’s claimed to have all the desirable characteristics of wool (warm in winter, cool in summer, hard wearing) without the itchiness of an old jumper. Both parts are coated to further improve durability and – apparently – can be easily cleaned.

Let’s deal with that first. The textile doesn’t have leather’s wipe-clean, fully waterproof resistance. I’ve managed to avoid spilling coffee in my lap so far, but the evidence of crumbs, chocolate and other debris is already showing and going to need more than a quick wipe with a damp cloth. Wet, muddy mountain biking a couple of months ago really set my teeth on edge. I had to take along the old sheets we use for decorating.

But that’s the only drawback I’ve found. On a daily basis I much prefer this to leather. It’s softer, quieter, moulds to you, holds you better. It’s like putting a mattress topper on your bed. It’s snugger, more cosy and enveloping. It’s been a bit of a revelation.

And it complements the rest of the Velar’s interior. I’m no style-conscious urbanite, but I’m not immune to the more design-led charms of this car. It looks and feels great in here – light and airy; plus cleaner, more elegant and interesting than anything Audi and BMW are doing right now. OK, interacting with it is more challenging/frustrating, but the sense of wellbeing the Velar’s cabin imparts really takes the sting out of commuting. It’s a calming thing.

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