Living with the Range Rover Velar Hybrid pt. II: North Wales

We venture from city to countryside to test out Land Rover’s middleweight Range Rover Velar P400e plug-in hybrid

In the second instalment of this ongoing in-depth series on the Range Rover Velar Hybrid, writer Rory FH Smith hits the road in rugged, windswept North Wales.

The car: Range Rover Velar P400e

Named after the clandestine codename for the original prototype Range Rover in the late 1960s, the Range Rover Velar – meaning to hide in Latin – found its way into the Range Rover line up in 2017 to sit between the Range Rover Evoque and the Range Rover Sport, as a more compact, form-focused yet functional model.

The most recent addition to the Velar line-up is the P400 plug in hybrid model, which is well-suited to city living with over 30 miles of pure electric range helping it creep around the streets, while it's potent petrol 2.0-litre engine (296bhp) and electric unit (139bhp) can propel it from 0-60 in just over five seconds and on to a top speed of 130mph. 

The trip: North Wales

Back on the road behind the wheel of the Velar, we headed to North Wales for a winter weekend. With a mix of urban, motorway and rural driving on route from London to our destination of Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog, the Velar clocked high-30s for miles per gallon (MPG) economy. To maximise the range in our hybrid, it's essential to always keep the battery topped up, which shouldn't be a problem for those with their own charging point at home but it can be tricky to find on-street chargers in more built-up areas like London. 

Once off the M40 and around Birmingham, the M54 gives way to the A5 as road gets narrower leading into rural North Wales. Into the depths of the countryside, the Velar's commanding driving position and ride height comes in handy to see over the hedgerows on the winding country lanes and villages. 

Despite most Velar's remaining firmly on the road for the majority of time, all come equipped with Land Rover Terrain Response technology. With an off-road reputation to uphold under the Land Rover badge, the Velar is no exception to the rest of the fleet with its ability to tackle tricky terrain at a moment's notice. 

Once in the stunning surroundings of the Llanarmon valley, we headed off the beaten track on an off-road excursion through muddy fields and bumpy, unpaved tracks. At the touch of a button on the lower info screen, the all-terrain options are illustrated and intuitively laid out – with the option to engage Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud Ruts, Sand, and Rock Crawl mode – or leave the car in Auto to respond how it sees fit – depending on the surface you're driving on. Even with road tyres fitted, the Velar works its way through deep mud, tricky lumps and bumps in a field and awkward cambers, all while carrying three adults in comfort. Traversing a steep muddy and rutted bank while being gently massaged by the in-seat bolsters is a novel experience only a Range Rover can offer.

Ploughing on through the driving rain after an overnight stay, we wind our way out of Wales and back on the motorway to London. Parking back on the clean streets of Chelsea, our Range Rover is clearly identifiable, caked in mud – a stark contrast to the other off-roaders that remained on the sanitised city streets over the weekend.

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