2024 Range Rover Velar P400e | PH Review

More EV range for quickest plug-in Velar, but is that enough for the half forgotten Range Rover?

By Matt Bird / Sunday, 13 August 2023 / Loading comments

There’s nothing to make a PHer feel very old and not especially interesting like sitting plum in the customer Venn diagram for a Velar PHEV. This isn’t the family car we promised ourselves, is it? But the conclusion is hard to avoid: a 404hp plug-in Range Rover would make for an interesting alternative to a 360hp X3, boasting the same sort of usability with – theoretically – lower running costs as well. And you can mock, prospective parents of PH – we all promise to be the cool Mums and Dads until reality hits…

At least everyone will look good in a Velar until the crocs and dishevelled hair and dried-on food come tumbling out at the play barn. The Velar has always been a handsome SUV, and the six years since launch have done little to diminish that. The fact that this update is so modest in terms of design – new paint options, a grille refresh, jazzier lights – demonstrates just how good the first effort was. Maybe it’s not quite so accommodating inside as the generous exterior dimensions would imply, but it’s far from pokey, and if ever it was worth compromising on space for style in an SUV, this might be it. The folk at nursery need to know there’s still some lead in the pencil, right?

Another part of the MY24 Velar revision is the introduction of the latest Pivi Pro infotainment to the 11.4-inch screen. Initially it does what all touchscreens do and completely baffles you, but, credit where it’s due, this is a slicker system than many others. A lot of what you’ll need – drive mode selection, HVAC, hybrid setting – are within easy reach and sensibly laid out, so the screen jabs become intuitive before too long. It worked faultlessly, too, never requiring a second prod of an icon or a maddening delay. Furthermore, and probably just as importantly for a Velar, chucking everything on a screen really smartens the interior, the minimalist approach meaning the centre stack looks more like an upmarket kitchen island than anything so humdrum as a car interior. The old dash looks cluttered by comparison.

Increased electric range (thanks to battery size going from 17.1kWh to 19.2kWh) is surely the biggest draw with the facelift. It means 40 miles WLTP instead of 33 – or almost 25 per cent extra – and the ability to fast charge at 50kW. This doesn’t sound like much, but makes a difference in real life, because it’s a couple more runs to get wipes and nappies on electric, and the ability to get some meaningful charge at a quick stop. Assuming the chargers are free and you don’t steal a spot from a full EV (not the done thing, surely). Land Rover states an expected electric range of 38 miles and the test car did 36, which is a useful amount of errands. If still not, it should be said, quite as many miles as some rivals.

Electric running really suits the Velar experience, too; newly upgraded with the noise-cancelling technology from the Range Rover Sport, this P400e is as serene and sumptuous as might be expected from a more expensive model. However many baby toys might be trying to disturb the interior quiet. There’s precious little interference from external factors, be that road or wind noise, and quite a lot of satisfaction to take from gracefully gliding along.

Even the introduction of the 2.0-litre engine doesn’t upset proceedings, this announcing itself with just a murmur. It’s smooth and subdued throughout, in fact, a faint growl only emanating from under the bonnet if you insist on running out a gear. It’s all very calm, yet more than fast enough as well; the Velar maybe takes a second to get itself in order if you’ve asked for everything on electric running, but gives a good account of its 400hp promise once running. The stats show it’s as fast as the larger, six-cylinder Range Rover Sport PHEV, probably helped by this 2.2-tonne car weighing 400kg less.

As we’ve come to expect from these larger, heavier JLR products, though, there is a real polish to how it goes down a road. The Velar is a soothing car to drive fast but not a sloppy one, responsive to your inputs albeit not in the frenetic, tense nature of some alternatives. Even wound up to Dynamic (somehow a cost option) this is never an overbearingly taut car, instead preferring to flow from bend to bend in that measured, agreeable fashion that makes Jaguars and Land Rovers – if not always back-to-back victors – extremely easy to rub along with. Especially if you have just got to pop out again because there’s no milk. Even the more aggressive regen of this mode remains a model of discretion.

Perhaps for the very best ride, plumping for 20s instead of the 21s here would pay dividends, with just a hint of patter detectable at low speed. And perhaps the fastest model in the range should have slightly more of a sporting tilt, because buyers seemingly can’t get enough of them. And perhaps for a car first announced in September 2020, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect just a tiny bit more power from the engine-battery combo. Or maybe it would – it’s difficult to know what’s speedy progress and what isn’t in the part-electrified world.

Either way, the P400e makes a more than convincing case for itself in everyday use, retaining that style that always marked the Velar out while introducing some useful advances for the battery and interior. For want of a better phrase, it’s just a really nice car: it looks good, it makes you feel good, it makes good on its claims. It’s very easy to imagine buyers of this Velar being a contented bunch.

The problem might well be convincing them to buy one in the first instance. Those after £70k SUVs aren’t short of choice (to put it lightly), even when it comes to the JLR lineup: think Discovery, F-Pace, I-Pace, Defender and so on. Some might be tempted to stretch to the Range Rover Sport as the shiny new thing in the showroom. And lurking perilously close to the as-tested price of this Velar is the also-recently-revised plug-in BMW X5; perhaps not as debonair, but boasting the emotional pull of a 3.0-litre straight-six with another 50 per cent of electric range on top thanks to a 25.7kWh battery. 

See the problem? As Land Rover’s split the difference Range Rover, equipped with stepping-stone technology, the Velar P400e seems to occupy a very small niche. Should that niche meet your requirements, however – and it feels like there might be a few out there – this is probably the best Velar yet.


Engine: 1,998cc, four-cyl turbo, plus 19.2kWh battery
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 404@5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 472@1,500-4,400rpm
0-62mph: 5.1 seconds
Top speed: 130mph
Kerbweight: 2,205kg (DIN)
MPG: up to 152.7mpg (40 miles WLTP EV range)
CO2: from 42g/km
Price: £68,860 (price as standard; price as tested £77,095, comprising Secure Tracker Pro for £520, Leather steering wheel with Moonlight bezel for £50, Wi-Fi enabled with data plan for £440, Terrain Response 2 with Dynamic Program for £105, Sliding panoramic roof for £300, Dynamic Handling Pack (Configurable Dynamics and Red brake calipers) for £635, Cold Climate Pack (Heated and cooled front seats, heated rears, headlight power wash) for £1,010, Driver Assist Pack (Rear Collision Monitor, Adaptive Cruise Control with Steering Assist) for £1,105, Black Exterior Pack for £600, Zadar Grey paint for £1,480, Black contrast roof for £700, Privacy glass for £450, 21-inch Style 5109 Satin Dark Grey wheels for £840)

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