Every Land Rover vehicle has to have the pedigree of a true blue off-road vehicle, and then be as luxurious as they are famed to be. So how do the makers achieve this blend?
This year, the rains have been ridiculously long, drenching the whole October. As the clouds gloomed me, I got a saviour call of an invite from Land Rover India. Right! How do you brighten a dull rainy day? Go offroading! So, I was off to 19 Degree North, Amby Valley where Land Rover India conducts the Above And Beyond Tour every year. This is an event where customers and enthusiasts get to experience the full capablities of the Land Rover vehicle portfolio over really challenging conditions.
Land Rover has partnered with Cougar Motorsports, an organisation which excels at luxury self drive expeditions. Upon reaching the venue, 19 Degree North, and after having some refreshments under our belts, we were briefed about the challenges laying ahead of us. Mr Ashish Gupta, Lead Instructor of the event explained the various features of the vehicles. Speaking of which, the fleet included the Land Rover Discovery Sport and The Range Rover Evoque.
The offroad track at 19 Degree North is a natural course, filled with challenging terrains and spots that let’s you explore the full potential of your offroad machine. And the machines we had were going to need some really tough challenges.
After being assigned our guide to accompany each driver during the drive, we set out.
I was assigned the Discovery Sport, which in my opinion, is the only vehicle of its class that fits the definition of an old-school SUV. Rugged, clean lines, 7 seats, brimmed with off-roading potential.
Lets get through with the numbers and specs first. The Discovery Sport is powered by a 2 litre turbocharged 4 cylinder diesel making 380 Nm of torque.
It has an approach angle of 23.4°, ramp angle of 20° and departure angle of 31°.
The Evoque is powered by the same engine as the Discovery Sport. It has an approach angle of 23.2°, ramp angle of 22° and a maximum departure angle of 33°.
Both the vehicles have switchable driving modes, which alter the engine response and tranction control system to suit the driving conditions. The different modes are Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud, Sand and Rock Crawl. Depending upon the terrain, you have to select the right one to pull you through the obstacle.
For me to perfectly understand the changes the vehicle makes through the driving modes, the guide advised me to try different modes on the same terrain. This helped me understand the difference in the engine response in different modes.
The vehicles are equipped with Hill- Climb Assist, which hold the brakes for 3 seconds after you take your foot off the brake pedal. This prevents the vehicle from rolling back on a climb and lets you smoothly move ahead.
Also on the equipment list is Hill Descent Control. This feature is useful when climbing down steep slippery bits of the terrain. The vehicle senses the level of traction on each wheel during the decent, and applies the brake on individual wheels to control the descent and doesn’t let the vehicle loose control.
But the crown jewel is the All Terrain Progress Control Feature. This feature is labelled as ‘ Cruise Control for Offroading’. Using this feature, you can set the maximum vehicle speed. You can set the speed as low as 1.8 km/hr to a maximum of 30km/hr. This lets the driver focus on steering the vehicle and braking, reducing the hassle of managing the speed in challenging conditions. Another benefit of the system is it gives steady and constant acceleration, which is a key need while driving through uneven terrain. So brilliant is the system that the guides claimed the Discovery Sport and the Evoque can get through the entire track in the ATPC mode.
The Land Rover Above And Beyond Tour is a brilliant initiative that challenges the driver in you to get through adrenaline filled moments. The takeaway is the solid, rock like stability of the Land Rover vehicles while conquering terrains that one would think twice before walking on through, let alone drive a vehicle. And all of it while spoiling you in high levels of luxury. So have the people making theae incredible machines struck the balance between luxury and impeccable off-road capablity? I’ll give it a nod.
Land Rover carries out the Above and Beyond Tour all over India in different cities. Visit the official Land Rover India website to book your spot for an adrenaline filled day.