Land Rover Off-Road Drive Experience

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Added in: Land Rover

Land Rover is a name synonymous with going off the beaten path. Be it the vast Saharan dessert or Dense Tropical Forests of South America – Land Rover has been a trusted companion for explorers. We are pretty sure, it would’ve been the car of choice for Columbus. He might have reached the wrong continent but he would’ve reached in style. When I got the invite to drive the Land Rover SUV’s in specially made tracks, I could not say no.

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About Land Rover Experience

Land Rover wants its existing and potential customers or just enthusiasts to experience its products and see their capabilities. They organize Land Rover Experience drives all over the world where people can experience driving the Land Rover in tough off road conditions, even without having to own a Land Rover. They also has Land Rover Experience Zones where you can just book a day of riding on specially made off road tracks without having to own a Land Rover. India doesn’t have any but Jaguar Land Rover do organize Land Rover Experience drives where existing Land Rover customers can experience the Land Rovers cars in extreme off road conditions.

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Land Rover Experience tour was kicked off in Hyderabad, and was followed by Kochi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Indore, Land Rover brought the adventurous journey to Delhi. The customers got to explore some of the toughest off-road terrains with the most versatile and stylish Land Rover vehicles.

Our Experience

Now we have attended several of these off-road experiences by several OEMs. However, doing it in a Land Rover was definitely going to be special. We were greeted by Land Rover team, had our coffee and were briefed about the drive and set off. Two of their SUV’s were available – Evoque and Discovery Sport. We chose the Discovery. We were given the wheel close to the track. Land Rover Discovery Sport comes equipped with Terrain Response system called – ATPC – All Terrain Progress Control. It is a terrain response system like no other. Functioning at very low speeds, between 1.8 km/h and 30 km/h, ATPC helps the driver maintain a steady speed in challenging conditions so that the driver can concentrate on steering and finding the way through obstacles. It also allows the driver to pull away smoothly and evenly, even on low‑friction surfaces such as ice, snow or wet grass. While it is a great piece of technology and does work well, it is a little counter intuitive to let go off the gas completely, especially while climbing up. Yes, it functions even while climbing up and just not on hill descent. We had to keep out feet away from the accelerator and the system will just judge the slope and drive based on available traction on each wheel so as to maintain the set speed.

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The first time we switched on the system, I could not keep my foot out of the accelerator and blipped it once or twice. Once you press the accelerator, the system switches off and you have to re-engage. As they say unlearning and tougher than learning, we had to unlearn to use the pedals. But once we did that, the Discovery went up a steep climb with many undulations like a mountain goat. No throttle input, no braking required – nothing. Just steering. Then came a dip. On right hand. When the front right wheel went in – I was like – we are done. It’s over. The whole car dangled but then as soon as we straightened the car, and other wheels followed, we were calmly at the bottom – with us just handling the steering and nothing else.

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For next incline and downhill, we did turn the system off as we wanted to feel like we were drivers again, the Discovery faired well there as well. We got lost. Yes, we thought we will go up a hill and go around to join rest of the cars but we ended up with just us and another car from the troupe. We were enjoying the driving so much, we did not mind getting lost. We got to drive on a long stretch of dirt road and could give it some beans and were impressed by it’s ability on a dirt road as well. The ride was very comfortable, obviously and steering quiet precise for a SUV.

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All this while we had the AC on full blast, we were comfortable in a nice plush cabin and talking SUV’s with the instructor, who needless to say was a car nut as well. We have done these experiences in so many SUVs – in fact Endeavour’s experience was on the same track and we took the Isuzu MU-X on the same trail but it does feel different in a different vehicle. All these SUV’s can do these courses very well but they were proper SUV’s with Body on Ladder Chassis construction while the Discovery Sport is a unibody construction and still took the beating. Our thinking that SUV’s have to BE body on chassis was challenged and we believe given the right technology and design even unibody SUV’s can do proper extreme off roading.

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We went off roading with Terrain Tigers once and had a Land Rover Discovery there and were surprised to see it among several Gypsies and Thars. Very few owners take their luxury SUV’s off-roading. Such experiences and drives only prove what these machines are capable off. They will instill more confidence in it’s owners and give them the required skills to go beyond and Discover.

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