2018 Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic SE Long-Term Update 5: No Whining in Wine Country

My wife and I have been long-time visitors to Paso Robles wine country in California’s central coast, from as far back as when Scolari’s was the only market in town.

We love Paso’s geographic inaccessibility and cultural variation from both Los Angeles and San Francisco—the four-hour drive from either metropolis requires a bit of a commitment. And although Scolari’s has long since closed, to be replaced by Trader Joe’s as the go-to market, Paso has maintained a rustic vibe compared to the day-trippable wine regions of Santa Barbara and Napa/Sonoma.

For our Christmas holiday, traversing our route in the Range Rover Velar couldn’t have been easier; the supple suspension made quick work of L.A. ‘s choppy freeways as we escaped gridlock hell with a daybreak start. As we reached Thousand Oaks, while the air-recirculation function tried its best, the climate control system could not entirely prevent the still-acrid odor from the recent devastating Woolsey Fire from entering the cabin. Hitting Santa Barbara by 8 a.m., we realized we would have to dawdle to make the late-day check-in time at our VRBO.

With the drive mode set to Eco, and SiriusXMU’s Jenny Eliscu serving as our personal DJ through the Velar’s soaring Meridian sound system, the Velar’s smooth transit up Highway 101 had us feeling we could drive all the way to Canada. Climbing and descending several grades highlighted the Velar’s well-placed gear ratios in keeping the crossover under control.

The Landie proved its off-roading chops on some washed-out dirt roads while trying to find an undiscovered vineyard.

As we made a pit stop at Fisherman’s Beach north of Avila Beach, the luxuriant leather seats (both heated and cooled) relaxed our spines as we reclined and cat-napped in a sunny spot—keeping an eye open to watch the enthusiastic dogs frolic in the sand and surf.

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