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SUVs are the trendy vehicle of choice for the present day Indian driver. From tiny ones the size of a family hatch to massive machines that will climb rocks with more agility than a mountain goat, SUVs are available in multiple sizes and India as a whole is jumping on the bandwagon with glee.
The most famous name in the SUV business is Land Rover. SUVs from the British marque claim to have the ability to climb every mountain and ford ever stream and DriveSpark put that claim to the test in a Land Rover Discovery Sport.
Powering the Discovery Sport in India is a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine that produces 177bhp and 430Nm of torque which is sent to all four wheels through a 9-speed automatic gearbox.
The Discovery Sport comes with Land Rover's pioneering off-roading tech including the Terrain Response System (TRS) and Hill Descent Control (HDC), which have been aped by rivals around the world.
Thanks to the rain over the previous few days, the off-road course had turned slippery exponentially increasing the challenge and danger ahead.
Thankfully the Discovery Sport has steep approach and departure angles (25 and 31 degrees respectively) thanks to its short overhangs. Add in the high ground clearance of 212mm and the Terrain Response System and any Discovery driver, novice or not, gets the confidence needed to tackle the toughest terrain.
The Discovery Sport ambled through the course first tackling a steep descent with ease after Hill Descent Control and the Grass/Gravel/Snow were engaged. HDC mode which is engaged by pushing a button on the dash takes control of the Disco's brakes.
The SUV travelled down the steep slope at a low speed (which can be adjusted using the speed controls for the cruise control), as the HDC responded to grip levels and sent power and torque to each wheel as and when needed.
Up next lay bog pits which were made more difficult by the fact that few of them were inclined at an angle. After disengaging HDC and switching the TRS from Grass/Gravel/Snow to Mud and Ruts, the Disco waded into the mud baths ahead.
Grass/Gravel/Snow mode ignores first gear and starts the SUV in second gear and upshifts faster to ensure traction remains optimal even when the driver tries to push the Disco forward by pressing the loud pedal. Keep the pressure on the throttle level, and the Discovery glides over the mud without a hitch even while leaning at crazy angles.
After a few more obstacles, the biggest challenge on the course lay ahead in the form of a water crossing across a quarry which had filled up thanks to the rains.
However, for the Discovery with its ability to wade in water up to 600mm deep, the knee high water was no challenge at all. The Discovery waded in and a few moments later rumbled out of the muddy water despite the driver's worst fears.
Ahead lay a set of ditches which popped up on either side of the track. Despite the depth of the trenches, the Discovery glided the rutted track with ease with the soft suspension absorbing all the bumps and jolts.
Dennis James Thinks!
With prices starting at Rs 58.17 lakh ex-showroom (Bangalore) the Land Rover Discovery Sport offers the perfect blend of luxury on the inside and extreme off-road capabilities.
While it is quite different from the Defenders of old, the Discovery Sport still shows why a Land Rover is the answer for the luxury off-roading enthusiast.