2021 Range Rover Velar Scores Poorly for a $60,000 Compact SUV

Since the 1970s, the Land Rover Range Rover has been a top name among luxury SUVs. In order to protect the prototype design of the first generation, the first models were branded with the name “Velar,” as opposed to the classic Land Rover logos. Though this name was derived from the Italian “velare,” meaning veil or cover, it didn’t stay covert for long. The Velar name has now been attached to a popular model in the Range Rover family, and it’s constantly making headlines. 

Gray Range Rover Velar crossover luxury SUV on display at Brussels Expo
The Land Rover Range Rover Velar | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Most recently, the 2021 release has faced scrutiny for its high prices but low scores from sites like Consumer Reports. With so many options within the luxury SUV class, it’s uncertain if this latest attempt from Land Rover will persuade customers to drop $60,000. 

The Velar is an “avant-garde” Range Rover

Land Rover has referred to the Velar as its “avant-garde” Range Rover, with a body design that’s lower and slightly smaller than that of the sport and classic models. Every inch of the design is tailored toward a sleek feel — from a high-tech entertainment system to retractable door hands that lay flat against the body. 

Just a glance at the vehicle will have most agreeing that, as Car and Driver put it, the designers “hit the nail on the head.” The comfortable, spacious interior and cargo seem to match the luxury label and price tag, at least on the surface. But despite Land Rover’s best efforts to create a seamless, slick design, there seems to be a disconnect between the car’s looks and its actual handling. 

Consumer Reports was underwhelmed, given the $60,000 price tag

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Consumer Reports‘ overall rating of the vehicle was, like other reviews, quick to praise the Range Rover Velar’s design. It actually scored a perfect 5.0 out of 5.0 rating in terms of interior fit and finish, which seeks to evaluate the “interior quality and craftsmanship.” Unfortunately, things went downhill from there, leaving the car with a final score of 49/100. 

Although solid acceleration, transmission, and braking enabled the Velar to land a 76/100 score on its road test, this overall grade was tanked by predicted reliability and owner satisfaction. Owner frustrations could be traced back to many of the same problems present in the 2020 Range Rover Velar — from complaints of the ride feeling “stiff” to the poor fuel economy. 

This Range Rover model’s greenhouse gas rating actually got worse from the 2020 to 2021 model years. Calculated by comparing the vehicle’s carbon dioxide emissions to other vehicles of the same model year, the 2021 Velar scored a mere 4.0 out of 10.

The score makes sense when you consider 2021 releases like the electric Tesla Model Y. Although the Range Rover Velar borrowed the Model Y’s retractable door handles, it neglected to adapt to the modern power source. 

It falls short among 2021’s other luxury SUV offerings

Given its high price and high presence of complaints, it’s uncertain how well the 2021 Land Rover Range Rover Velar will perform among other cars in its class.

Of course, the 2020 model faced similar complaints of overpricing compared to other luxury SUVs and still managed to sell nearly 13,000 units. This was nearly a 25 percent drop from 2019’s 17,000 sales, however. According to GoodCarBadCar, this year’s release is off to an even slower start. 

It’s undeniable that purchasing a 2021 Range Rover Velar will at least give you the air of luxury. Still, for $60,000, we’d like to think you deserve the performance aspect as well.