While SUVs are a popular choice for consumers across segments, premium customers rarely put their vehicles in harsh off-road conditions. After all, an expensive purchase is always dear to the heart and if the vehicle in question is a Land Rover costing upwards of Rs 55 lakh, very few customers would be willing to go dune bashing. Land Rover as a brand is synonymous with off-roading and wants people to experience the capabilities of their vehicles. In order to get this done, Land Rover tied up with Cougar Motorsports to arrange an off-road experience for prospective customers and some journalists. After a short round of briefing, we were on our way to the off-road trail somewhere near Damdama lake, near Gurgaon.
We got our Land Rover Experience in a Discovery Sport , which is powered by a 2.2 L turbocharged diesel engine developing 190 hp and 420 Nm of torque. While these are healthy numbers, it didn't matter much on the day since our entire drive was in off-road conditions. What mattered the most was the Land Rover Terrain Response System, which offers access to four driving programmes – General, Sand, Mud & Ruts and Grass/Gravel/Snow. The Discovery Sport has a ground clearance of 212 mm, which came in handy numerous times during the drive. Being a focussed off-road vehicle, the Discovery Sport's angle of approach and departure are 25 and 31 degrees, respectively. A 21 degree ramp-breakover angle was tested to its limits a few times during the drive but nowhere did the vehicle show any signs of stress.
The off-road trail consisted of a couple of steep inclines/ slopes, which highlighted the Terrain Response System's ability to prevent loss of traction in low-traction situations. Getting up/ down a steep incline can be tricky at times and it's in these situations the Hill Start Assist (HSA) and Hill Descent Control (HDC) come to the driver's aid. The HSA prevents the vehicle from rolling back on a slope for three seconds, giving the driver enough time to take control of the throttle. The HDC ensures that the vehicle comes down an incline gently, without the brakes being applied by the driver. The driver just needs to control the steering wheel and the HDC ensures the wheels don't lock up by applying brakes individually at all wheels.
Beyond off-road capabilities, the Discovery Sport also boasts of a modern and luxurious interior with features at par with the competition. In case you're wondering what it takes to be part of such an experience, you have reasons to rejoice. Land Rover Experience travels to various cities across India and one doesn't need to own a Jaguar Land Rover vehicle to enroll herein. For a nominal charge of around Rs 5,000 per person, you can enroll for the experience. More details on the programme can be found on the company's website.
In a nutshell, the off-road conditions weren't extremely challenging but hard enough to make the exercise worth the time and money investment for any automotive enthusiast. The capable technology of Land Rover ensured that people who were driving off-road for the first time in their lives also came out looking like a pro after an hour's drive. That's how good Land Rovers are in off-road territories and with the Land Rover Experience you have a great chance to get a first-hand taste of it without having to shell out a fortune.