The inner city might not be the obvious place for a capable off-roader but ever since the original Range Rover made its debut back in 1969, it’s been a regular feature of city life, gracing the salubrious suburbs and central streets with its familiar profile. Meanwhile, the Range Rover line-up has grown considerably. 

Range Rover Velar Hybrid

Now, with its numerous offspring – including the Evoque, Velar, Sport and the flagship Range Rover – the extension of Land Rover’s luxury arm is the secret to the marque’s success over recent years. Models such as the Evoque and the Velar, in particular, are seen to offer a slice of the Range Rover lifestyle at a more affordable price.   

Range Rover Velar Hybrid

Taking its name from Land Rover’s 1960s pre-production Range Rover prototype, the contemporary Velar – from the Latin, ‘to hide’ – was drafted in to sit between the Range Rover Evoque and the Range Rover Sport in 2017, as a more compact, form-focused family car.

Three years later, Land Rover added a plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) to the line-up in the form of the Velar P400e. 

Range Rover Velar Hybrid

It’s worth checking in to see how the PHEV version of the Velar fares in an increasingly competitive market. The absence of a luxury EV SUV is still a hole in the market, so plug-ins are currently the closest you can get.

However, with 30 miles of pure electric range, the hybrid Velar is more suited to city life than to long-distance electric drives. The silent 139bhp battery-driven powertrain helps it creep around the busy streets, while a 2.0-litre petrol engine puts out 296bhp and takes up propulsion duties over longer spells or for more arduous tasks. 

Range Rover Velar Hybrid

Under aggressive acceleration, both units combine to propel the hybrid Velar from 0-60 in just over five seconds and on to a top speed of 130mph.

On paper, this gives the hybrid Velar almost the same performance as the sportiest, petrol-engined Velar SVAutobiography. In practice, the hybrid is a convincing mix of silent and smooth electric driving with the added practicality of a traditional combustion-engined car. 

car interior

Inside, the hybrid Velar is a practical and comfortable family cruiser, with more than a few of the luxury touches we’ve come to expect from anything bearing a Range Rover badge.

Armed with a sleek touch screen infotainment set-up and digital dashboard up front, Land Rover’s software is easy to navigate, fluid and intuitive to use. Also equipped with Apple CarPlay, the iOS system loads instantly, bringing your full selection of familiar phone apps into the heart of the car. 

Interior information screen of Range Rover Velar Hybrid

The Velar’s roster of high-quality materials – spanning soft-touch plastics, metal, leather and non-leather alternatives, and Kvadrat fabric – is impressive, whichever way you spec it. The exterior and interior design has always been one of the car’s greatest strengths and, even five years on from its launch, it still looks fresh both inside and out.

Even when it came to the model’s facelift in 2020, very little was altered, signalling the strength of the original design. 

Range Rover hybrid car being charged up outside house

As with all electrified cars, they’re only as good as the charging infrastructure around them and the hybrid Velar is no exception to that rule. With over 100mpg as its official efficiency rating, most users can expect between the mid-30s and 60mpg in real-world driving, depending on the use, driving style and how regularly you charge it up.

Living in London, on-street charging is not always an option, so mpg figures can start to tumble towards the 30s if you’re driving on petrol power alone. 

Range Rover on driveway

Charging up the car on a 32kW DC rapid charger will restore the battery to 80 per cent in 30 minutes, while the same charge will take an hour and 40 minutes from a 7kW AC home charger.

Charging on a three-pin domestic plug is typically an overnight job. 

Range Rover approaching on road with low sun behind

The Velar sports a ‘save’ mode, a handy but relatively rare feature in PHEVs that holds electric power constant while it runs the petrol engine – useful for long journeys that culminate in urban traffic. However, ‘hybrid’ mode is what users will run most of the time. At low revs, the hybrid Velar makes use of electric power until the revs exceed 1,500 rpm, which is when the petrol power comes into play.

Toggling between electric and petrol at slow speeds is the only time you can notice a small jerk as the car’s transmission takes note, but for the vast majority of the time, the shift between EV and petrol modes is smooth and barely noticeable.

Range Rover driving off-road, beneath a tree

With the original Range Rover capable of running as well on road as off it, the hybrid Velar is just as capable as anything else in the range when the going gets tough. While many cars are destined never to dip a tyre tread in the mud, let alone venture entirely off-road, the Velar comes equipped with Land Rover’s Terrain Response technology.

At the touch of a button on the lower info screen, there’s the option to engage Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud Ruts, Sand, and Rock Crawl mode, depending on the surface you’re driving on. 

Range Rover driving across fields

Even with road tyres fitted, the Velar can work its way through deep mud as well as tricky lumps and bumps, all while carrying three adults in absolute comfort.

Traversing a steep muddy bank while being gently massaged by the in-seat bolsters is an experience unique to a Range Rover. 

Range Rover driving across a field

Prices for the hybrid Velar start around £65,000 and can get close to £73,000 for the top HSE model. While it’s not the most competitively priced hybrid off-roader on the market today, few cars can get close to its build quality, comfort, ride and overall performance on and off the beaten track.

Despite the Velar’s design passing the half-decade mark, it still stands out from the crowd of SUVs available, not least because of its enduring and attractive aesthetics. 

Range Rover on driveway

Luxury brands have long maintained that electric power is well-suited to cars that pride themselves on their ability to serenely waft around in near silence.

With an update due soon, will the next version of the Velar deliver that fabled pure electric version? In the meantime, the marque’s sleek, hybrid-powered off-roader maintains a place as a do-it-all family favourite. §