Range Rover Velar vs Volvo XC60 car review

Range Rover Velar vs Volvo XC60: A Comprehensive Comparison


If you’re in the market for a premium SUV, the German marques have long been the go-to choices. However, stepping away from the well-trodden path, the Range Rover Velar and the Volvo XC60 emerge as stylish alternatives that captivate with their unique features. In this 2024 twin test review, we delve into the nuances of these two vehicles, exploring their design, performance, technology, practicality, and ownership experience.

Design and Updates

Range Rover Velar

The Range Rover Velar, since its debut in 2017, has been a head-turner with its concept-car looks. Subtle updates refresh its appearance, with a new grille pattern at the front and a mildly reprofiled lower edge to the rear bumper. The Velar’s exterior maintains its show-stopping aesthetic, proving its timeless appeal.

Under the hood, the P400e Dynamic SE model steals the spotlight. Boasting a 2.0-litre petrol engine and a 141bhp electric motor, this plug-in hybrid generates a formidable 398bhp and 640Nm of torque, propelling the Velar from 0-62mph in just 5.1 seconds. The safety features include lane-keep assist and autonomous emergency braking, with additional options like blind-spot monitoring and rear-traffic alert.

On the road, the Velar impresses with its handling, despite its substantial weight. The plug-in hybrid powertrain provides a quiet and comfortable drive in electric mode around town, although gentle acceleration is recommended for optimal performance.

Volvo XC60

The Volvo XC60, a stylish Swede, enters the ring as a formidable competitor. Its powertrain, the Recharge T8 PHEV AWD Ultimate, features a 2.0-litre petrol engine and a 143bhp electric motor, delivering a combined output of 448bhp and 709Nm of torque. Notably, the XC60 has enhanced its electric range from 33 to 47 miles, showcasing a commitment to eco-friendly driving.

In terms of design, Volvo’s cabin embraces a ‘reductive’ philosophy, simplifying controls and focusing on a clean aesthetic. The XC60’s interior showcases optional wool-blend seat upholstery, adding a touch of luxury. The Driver Power customer-satisfaction rankings position Volvo favorably, although around 25% of owners reported faults in the first year, mostly related to electrical issues.

Technology and Infotainment

Range Rover Velar

The Velar’s updates are primarily cosmetic, with significant attention directed towards in-car tech. The introduction of the Pivi Pro infotainment system stands out, featuring an enlarged screen that dominates the dashboard. However, the redesign eliminates physical controls, relying on on-screen functionalities. While the cabin feels well-finished, some may find the absence of buttons less conducive to a luxurious environment.

Volvo XC60

Volvo, on the other hand, maintains its design philosophy with the XC60’s infotainment system. While not as flashy as the Velar’s, it offers a more straightforward approach with physical controls for climate functions. The optional wool-blend seat upholstery adds a unique touch to the interior, enhancing the overall ambiance.

Practicality and Ownership Experience

Range Rover Velar

The Velar impresses with its rear space, providing ample kneeroom and a comfortable ride. The boot capacity, at 503 litres, offers generous room for luggage. However, the Velar’s ownership experience reveals a respectable yet not flawless record. In the latest Driver Power rankings, Land Rover ranked 14th out of 31 brands, with 42% of owners reporting faults in the first year.

Volvo XC60

In terms of practicality, the XC60 offers well-thought-out cubby spaces, with larger and more accessible storage areas compared to the Velar. The rear space, while slightly less than the Velar, maintains a comfortable environment. The XC60’s Driver Power ranking positions it one place higher than Land Rover, with around 25% of owners reporting faults in the first year.

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Performance and Driving Experience

Range Rover Velar

The Velar’s plug-in hybrid powertrain, while not the strongest in its class, offers a smooth and controlled ride, especially in electric mode at low speeds. On A & B-roads, the Velar showcases excellent handling and balance, providing an engaging driving experience. However, the transition between electric and combustion modes may result in a slightly clunky response during acceleration.

Volvo XC60

The XC60’s hybrid system shines with a polished performance. Its electric motor feels lively at low speeds, offering a seamless transition between electric and combustion modes. The XC60’s chassis delivers a composed and stable ride, although the brakes can feel a bit grabby during stops. Performance-wise, it competes favorably with the Velar, with both vehicles demonstrating excellence in real-world scenarios.


In this comprehensive comparison, the Volvo XC60 emerges as the winner, securing its position as a top-tier plug-in hybrid SUV. Its slick hybrid system, strong electric range, and spacious cabin contribute to a compelling overall package. While the Range Rover Velar boasts superb refinement and engaging handling, its clunky hybrid system and higher finance payments place it as a worthy runner-up.

Rivals and Other Options

In the broader market, the BMW X3, Audi Q5, and Mercedes GLC are mentioned as alternatives, although the Lexus NX is highlighted as a standout option with outstanding features. The article concludes with a reminder to consider the financial implications of opting for a plug-in hybrid, as conventional petrol and diesel versions may offer a more cost-effective solution.

The Great Debate

The article concludes with insights from the Auto Express test team. They commend Volvo for continuous improvements in PHEV technology and anticipate the brand’s transition to electric-only vehicles. While acknowledging the Velar’s desirability and driving prowess, they highlight Volvo’s edge in constant technological advancements and commitment to an electric future.

Specs and Prices

The detailed specifications and prices for both the Range Rover Velar Dynamic SE P400e and the Volvo XC60 Recharge PHEV T8 AWD Ultimate are provided, offering a comprehensive overview of key metrics such as fuel efficiency, powertrain details, dimensions, and pricing.

In summary, this in-depth comparison provides prospective buyers with a thorough analysis of the Range Rover Velar and Volvo XC60, guiding them towards an informed decision based on factors such as design, technology, practicality, performance, and overall ownership experience.

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Holli Greaves
Meet Holly, our versatile freelance journalist and featuers writer who has a passion for dissecting the ever-evolving landscape of business and technology. Your guide to understanding the forces driving our digital age with insightful perspectives and in-depth storytelling.

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