2018 Range Rover Velar

2018 Range Rover Velar

Episode 3724
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When Jaguar entered the SUV world with the F-PACE, we raved about the excellence of their mostly ground up design. After all, they could have simply rebadged a ute from their cousin Land Rover. Now, as it turns out, it’s Land Rover doing some reverse engineering, with a new SUV based on the F-PACE, the Range Rover Velar. 

If you’re not a Land Rover enthusiast, you might wonder where this 2018 Range Rover Velar fits in. Well, it’s a true midsize entry, slotting in between the larger Range Rover Sport and compact Evoque. 

Engine choices are in step with the Jaguar F-Pace; 2.0-liter turbo-4s, one diesel one petrol, and a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that rates 380-horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque. All work with a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission.   

But lest you think this is simply old-school badge engineering, know that Land Rover engineers did indeed start with the bare bones of the F-Pace, including maintaining its 113–inch wheelbase. But from there, they created an all-new Range Rover. 

And certainly a high-fashion one.  With no obvious resemblance to the F-Pace; just plenty of styling cues from other Land Rovers; with a floating roof design, some snazzy fender trim, and pop out door handles thrown in for good measure. All standing on up to 22-inch wheels.

More emphasis was put on off-road performance as well. So, in addition to standard all-wheel-drive, the Velar is available with Terrain Response 2, and gets an electronic air suspension setup not obtainable on the F-Pace, at least for now anyway. And, it’s not just pretty, with a towing capacity of 5,500-lbs. 

Admittedly, handling prowess has been lost in the process, as the Velar doesn’t feel quite as light on its feet as the F-Pace, but ride quality is truly sublime.

Dialing up Dynamic mode helps it feel it’s sportiest, and owners can dial in their own customized setup. 

Maintaining their superior off-road image is vital to Land Rover, and the Velar is truly more capable than most will ever experience. It also feels rock solid with its aluminum monocoque chassis construction. There’s no ability to engage a low range; but the full suite of electronic aids specific for the trail, have the ability to send full power to whichever wheel is getting the most traction, getting you through just about anything you might encounter.

Of course you’re well-swaddled in Range Rover luxury while doing that, including numerous leather packages, and supremely comfortable seats. It’s a gorgeous look.

This is certainly not your father’s Land Rover, unless he had his own proprietary touch panel control system installed. Here it’s Land Rover’s new InControl Touch Pro Duo with twin 10-inch capacitive touchscreens. 

With few traditional physical controls, it can be intimidating when you first hop in, but it’s a mostly-logical setup that doesn’t take too long to get comfortable with.

Rear seat passengers don’t miss out on the luxury treatment either, and space is among best in class. 

As is cargo room, 34.4 cubic-ft. behind the 2nd row, 70.1 with the 40/20/40 split seatbacks folded flat. 

All of that makes this Range Rover as functional as it is beautiful.

As for track work, our supercharged V6 Velar hopped off the line eagerly with good all-wheel-drive grip. The rear really squats down as you take off, hitting 60 in 5.5-seconds. 

And right away, you realize Jaguar kept all of the cool exhaust notes for themselves, as here you just get some droning engine noise.  Shifts are quick and smooth however, taking you through the ¼-mile in 14.0-seconds flat at a nice even 100 miles-per-hour. 

It was a difficult task determining what exactly its capabilities are in the handling department. The chassis feels proficient enough, but as soon as there’s even a hint of understeer, the “safety at all costs” computer initiates “priority slow down procedures” and starts triggering the brakes.

It does exhibit only minor body roll throughout the cones however, with medium to light steering.  

And just 102-feet is all it took to bring this thing to a halt from 60. Some nose dive is to be expected bringing 4,471-lbs. to a complete stop that quickly, but even that was relatively minor. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the V6 are 18-City, 24-Highway, and 20-Combined. We averaged a fine 21.7 miles-per-gallon on the required Premium. That makes for an Energy Impact Score slightly below the average for all cars, with annual oil consumption of 16.5-barrels and CO2 emissions of 7.3 tons. 

A wide range for this Rover has prices starting at just $50,895, and stretching to at least $78,095 for an R-Dynamic HSE V6; our tester was closer to $90,000.  Yikes!

Still, if you’re like us, your first response to the middle-weight 2018 Range Rover Velar may be “just what we needed, another luxury SUV”. But, Land Rover has been building posh off-roaders for longer than anybody, so it’s always good to see what they’re up to next. Now it’s up to the rest of the segment to see if they can keep up with the Velar.

Specifications

  • Engine: 3.0 liter
  • Horsepower: 380
  • Torque: 332 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 5.5 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 14.0 seconds @100 mph
  • EPA: 18 mpg city / 24 mpg highway,
  • Energy Impact: 16.5 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 7.3 tons/yr
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35

Goldilocks Approved: It Does Everything Just Right

Episode 4332
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

These days, you don’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to get some real-deal AMG performance from Mercedes-Benz, as they’ve spread their high-performance love throughout their lineup. So, let’s go for some high-speed bargain hunting in the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35.

You may think of big cars and bigger horsepower when you hear AMG, but this updated 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4-door Coupe is certainly not a big car, yet there’s no doubt it packs a serious performance punch. The CLA is not the least expensive Mercedes you can currently buy in the U.S., but it is their lowest priced car, and it feels more right-size than small-size behind the wheel.

It’s a fun, enjoyable ride that lets you know what you’re in for right away with a nice raspy exhaust note at start up. Standard engine in the base CLA 250 is of course a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo, but it is ‘Benz’s latest with mild-hybrid assistance and a rating of 221-horsepower.

This CLA 35 is one of two AMG versions which cranks the turbo up to boost output to 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque; the CLA 45 S, goes even further with a full rebuild to crank it up to 416 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. The CLA is front-wheel-drive based but is sending power to all four wheels by the time it leaves the AMG shop with performance-tuned AMG 4MATIC.

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Grille
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Profile
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Wheel
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Rear
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Rear
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge 2
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Grille2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Profile2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Wheel2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Rear2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Rear2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge 2

AMG has done serious suspension tuning as well, and the great feedback that it provides through the AMG Performance steering wheel is a big part of this car’s fun-factor. But our test car came equipped with winter tires, which did hold us back a little bit through the cones at our Mason Dixon test track. Still, it felt both agile and fun and body roll was minimal. Not until we pushed hard could we really feel the lack of dry pavement grip from those tires. On the other hand, a few days after track day, we actually did have some winter weather to drive through and then we were very appreciative of the grip those winter tires provided.

With some assistance from AMG’s sweet launch control, which not only allowed us to launch at 3500 RPM with no wheel slip at all, but made sure the turbos were feeding full power, as we felt no turbo lag whatsoever on our quick 4.5-second trip to 60. AMG’s Speedshift eight-speed DCT lived up to its name, delivering quick and hard hits throughout the 13.1-second, 104 mph quarter-mile.

It’s a fun, enjoyable ride that lets you know what you’re in for right away with a nice raspy exhaust note at start up.

When it came time to remove speed in a hurry in our panic runs from 60 mph, those winter tires again played a factor, as the brakes felt very strong and there was very little nosedive but stops took a longer than expected 125 feet.

Now this 2nd generation CLA arrived for 2020, and for ’24 gets a subtle restyling at both ends. At the front, the grille has been redesigned, AMGs getting their own unique version with big vertical slats, prominent Mercedes star and subtle AMG badge. LED headlights are new, now labeled as High-Performance headlights, joined by upgraded rear taillights and a very aggressive looking AMG diffuser with big exhaust outlets. The back-up camera is smoothly hidden in a flip-out Mercedes badge. Multiple new wheel designs are available with sizes up to 19-inches.

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Passenger Side Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dashboard
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Center Display 2
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Rear Seat
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Trunk
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Engine
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Passenger Side Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dashboard2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Center Display 22024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Rear Seat2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Trunk2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Engine

Inside the CLA’s cabin, additional standard content includes a leather steering wheel and 10-inch media display. Both of which were already part of the AMG transformation, though AMG Line buyers can now add some heat elements to their sport steering wheel.

As we’ve seen with most Mercedes updates, both the virtual gauge cluster and the central touchscreen reside in a single housing mounted on top of the dash, upgraded with the latest MBUX software.

Pricing for the CLA 35 starts at $56,100, with the more powerful 45 S coming in at $66,550.

Bottom line, the folks in Stuttgart have given us a 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 that’s clearly better without messing it up. That’s certainly good news to us, as these days we seem to be getting less and paying more for just about everything. So, while you might not think the new CLA 35 sounds like a bargain, there is no better gateway into the amazing world of AMG performance.

Specifications

  • Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo
  • Horsepower: 416
  • 0-60 mph: 4.5 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 125 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 28.2 MPG (Premium)
  • Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Torque: 369 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 13.1 seconds at 104 mph
  • EPA: 22 City / 29 Highway / 25 Combined
2024 Kia EV9 2

2024 Kia EV9

Kia Ushers In A New Generation Of Family Transportation

Episode 4331
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Kia has been selling battery-electric vehicles for 10 years now, from funky souls, to purpose-built performance machines like the EV6 GT. Well, now they’re aiming their pure-electric know-how directly at the heart of the family SUV market with the three-row EV9.

New battery-electric vehicles are arriving at an accelerated pace. But one thing we’re still relatively short on is reasonably priced, big family-minded crossovers, something that Kia has delivered with the all-new, all-electric 2024 EV9.

It boasts all the credentials of a typical big family SUV; three rows of seating for either six or seven passengers, 7.8 inches of ground clearance, cavernous cargo capacity, 5,000-lbs tow rating, and available all-wheel drive for all-roads, not all-terrain.

In that vein, the EV9 looks more muscular than rugged, and is about the same size as Kia’s gas-powered three-row Telluride. Just a tad longer with a more aerodynamic shape; at least we hope that’s the reasoning behind these optional 20-inch alloys, as they don’t do much for the eyes. It’s equal parts smooth and boxy, with a big hood that seems to stretch on for days; and you’d think there’d be more storage space under there, but just a small compartment.

2024 Kia EV9 3/4 Front
2024 Kia EV9 Dead Front
2024 Kia EV9 Profile
2024 Kia EV9 3/4 Rear
2024 Kia EV9 Dead Rear
2024 Kia EV9 Badge
2024 Kia EV9 Wheel
2024 Kia EV9 Front Trunk
2024 Kia EV9 3/4 Front2024 Kia EV9 Dead Front2024 Kia EV9 Profile2024 Kia EV9 3/4 Rear2024 Kia EV9 Dead Rear2024 Kia EV9 Badge2024 Kia EV9 Wheel2024 Kia EV9 Front Trunk

Looking over that hood from behind the wheel, the EV9 does feel large and SUV-like. Yet, also again like Telluride, it is very pleasant to drive, especially if you’re in a hurry, as power delivery in Sport mode is no joke.

Kia’s “segment above” interior philosophy shows itself in build quality and materials that are indeed above typical mass-market family trucksters. And, like Volvo, does it with mostly vegan and recycled materials. The dual-display cockpit setup is similar to other Kias, with both screens in a single housing and camera feeds coming up right in the 12-inch gauge display. But the overall dash design is cleaner and simpler. A big dual level center console keeps it from having the open floor plan of some EVs, but it offers lots of practical storage and easy to access wireless phone charging.

Kia’s “segment above” interior philosophy shows itself in build quality and materials that are indeed above typical mass-market family trucksters.

Kia understands there’s a good chance you’ll be sitting at a charging station on occasion, so not only are front seats very comfortable with some of the best headrests we’ve experienced in some time, but it can send you into relax or nap mode with just a press of a button. Second-row captain’s chairs in our Land-trimmed tester are pretty special too, with heat and ventilation, their own set of climate controls, and plenty of storage and charge ports. The third row is a 50/50 split-folding bench with 20.2 cubic-feet of storage space behind it and 43.5 with it folded, maxing out at 81.7 with second-row seatbacks folded as well.

As for more important energy storage, standard battery is 76.1 kWh rated for 230 miles, while the available long-range 99.8-kWh battery delivers up to 304 miles. Our long-range all-wheel drive Land is rated at 280 miles, and we were on pace for exactly that in our mileage test. Same 800-volt charging setup as the EV6 will take a full 350-kW fast charge that gets you to 80% in less than 25 minutes. And using 41 kWh of energy per 100 miles, the EV9 earns a fair efficiency rating.

2024 Kia EV9 Dashboard
2024 Kia EV9 Gauges
2024 Kia EV9 Camera Display
2024 Kia EV9 Controls
2024 Kia EV9 Column Shifter
2024 Kia EV9 Seat Headrest
2024 Kia EV9 Second Row Seats
2024 Kia EV9 Rear Climate Controls
2024 Kia EV9 Storage Compartment
2024 Kia EV9 Third Row Seat
2024 Kia EV9 Cargo Space Behind Third Row
2024 Kia EV9 Seats Folded Down
2024 Kia EV9 Dashboard2024 Kia EV9 Gauges2024 Kia EV9 Camera Display2024 Kia EV9 Controls2024 Kia EV9 Column Shifter2024 Kia EV9 Seat Headrest2024 Kia EV9 Second Row Seats2024 Kia EV9 Rear Climate Controls2024 Kia EV9 Storage Compartment2024 Kia EV9 Third Row Seat2024 Kia EV9 Cargo Space Behind Third Row2024 Kia EV9 Seats Folded Down

A single rear motor with 215 horsepower is standard in the EV9, while stepping up to the long-range battery gets a slightly reduced output of 201 horsepower. Adding a front motor ups total output to 379 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque as in our Land tester; top dual-motor GT-Lines get additional torque, at 516 lb-ft.

At our Mason Dixon test track, our Land ate up quite a bit of land in a hurry, sprinting to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds, launching hard and drama free consistently. Yes, we’re at the point where big family SUVs rip off consistent mid-fours and feel totally safe and stable while doing it. The monster torque delivery did taper off a bit once we got past 60, but the EV9 was still building speed quickly. Spring track maintenance kept us from running a full quarter-mile, but we’d put the EV9 easily in the 13s.

Steering was very light though the cones of our handling course, but the EV9 was quick, quiet, and agile; with stability systems gently stepping in before we could really get a sense of any oversteer or understeer. Stops from 60 mph averaged a great 109 feet; there was some nosedive, but good stability overall.

EV9 Pricing starts under 60K, specifically with the Light rear-wheel drive at $56,395, extending to the all-wheel drive GT-Line at $75,395. Our dual-motor Land is in between at $71,395.

Highly refined, plenty capable, and a joy to drive are just a few of the reasons we made the EV9 one of our Best EV Drivers’ Choice Award winners for 2024. It really is a Telluride with a battery electric heart. So, we think the 2024 Kia EV9 clearly delivers the goods! It’s the forward-thinking choice for those considering a switch to battery power for their next big family ride.

Specifications

As Tested

  • Motor Setup: Dual Motor
  • Horsepower: 379
  • 0-60 mph: 4.5 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 109 feeet
  • MW Test Loop: ~ 280 miles
  • Battery Size: 99.8-kWh
  • Torque: 443 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: N/A (Track Maintenance)
  • Range: 280 miles
  • Efficiency: 41 kWh/100 miles