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Land Rover India recently conducted their Off-Road Experience Drive - The Above and Beyond Tour at Aamby Valley, Maharashtra. The event is part of the global 'Land Rover Experience' and has been held in India, since the past five years.
The event demonstrates the remarkable off-road driving capabilities of Land Rover vehicles. This experience also helps the customers to fully understand the capability of the Land Rover vehicles in both everyday situations as well as in extreme conditions.
The ‘Above and Beyond Tour' is conducted across 10 major cities in India. Having covered cities like Chandigarh, Noida, Gurugram, Ahmedabad, Indore and Nagpur now it was time for Mumbai. The event was held in Aamby Valley between the 5th and 7th of October and took place at 19 Degree North in Lonavala.
The event was organised by Cougar Motorsports, which is an organisation that combines the thrill of motorsport and motoring with the essence of luxury driving expeditions across the country.
With the initial refreshments done, Ashish Gupta, Founder & Director, Cougar Motorsports gave us the driver's brief, before heading out on the track.
After the briefing, each of the drivers were assigned a specific vehicle as well as an instructor. We got the Land Rover Discovery Sport for the day, along with an instructor who would help us tackle the terrain while also showcasing the different off-roading drive modes available on the SUV.
Once we got into the Discovery Sport, the instructor started telling us about how do we need to sit and align the seat and the steering wheel while off-roading. After everything was in control we took off for the trail. All the while the Hill Descent Control (HDC) was switched on.
The Hill Descent Control assists the driver from losing traction on a downhill slope, by applying brakes on individual tyres while also limiting the speed to a minimum amount preset earlier.
At first, we encountered a small descent where I was manually applying the brakes. The second descent, however, was close to 100 metres and the instructor asked us to take our foot off the brake pedal, showcasing the HDC feature on the SUV. The electronics worked extremely well and the car reached down slowly and gradually.
After crossing the descents and other rocky terrains, the track led us to a stream. The Land Rover Discovery Sport is capable of being submerged to a maximum depth of 600mm of water. Although the stream wasn't as deep, it still showcased the capabilities of the SUV.
After passing through, the stream, we were faced with a series of hill climbs, each more challenging than the other. This gave us an opportunity to witness another feature, the Hill Start Assist (HSC) in action.
This function prevents the Discovery Sport from rolling backwards for a period of three seconds, giving the driver time to press the acceleration and move forward. This function also provides assistance during your daily drive in stop-and-go traffic situations.
Last but not least, we got to experience the All-Terrain Progress Control (ATPC). This feature was invented by Land Rover themselves and comes standard on all their models. The ATPC function takes full control of the SUV's braking and the throttle response, while the driver just has to steer the car. Basically, it is a cruise control mode for off-roading.
The speed can be manually increased or decreased depending on the terrain, through the steering-mounted controls. We were also told that the cars were capable of completing the entire course on this one feature, however, there would be no fun in that.
Apart for the Discovery Sport, Land Rover also had their Range Rover Evoque model as well. Both the Evoque and the Discovery Sport are mechanically identical and are powered by the 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel engine. It produces 177bhp and 430Nm of torque. The only difference was the ground clearance. 212mm and 210mm for the Discovery Sport and the Evoque, respectively.
Thoughts on the Land Rover ‘The Above & Beyond Tour'
As mentioned earlier, the road conditions in our country feign a unique challenge and ‘The Above & Beyond Tour' helps the customers to understand the true capability of the Land Rover vehicles. As this programme is being conducted in various cities across the country, people and existing customers can avail this experience and take the SUVs to challenge the toughest roads out there.