Mahindra is now a versatile car manufacturer capable of developing any kind of car. It has in its portfolio monocoque SUVs, body-on-frame SUVs, sedans, hatchbacks and even electric cars. Roots of the company though, go back to when Mahindra manufactured 4x4 vehicles based on old Jeep platforms - Vehicles capable of going almost anywhere.
Irrespective of how capable the vehicle is, off-road driving is definitely not everyone's cup of tea and doesn't come naturally to one. However, for those who want to experience it or learn it, Mahindra has the perfect solution - The Mahindra Off-Road Training Academy.
Mahindra's Training Academy located in Igatpuri, Maharashtra is India's first off-road training academy, and allows enthusiasts to get first-hand experience in off-roading without risking their own vehicles at first. The training academy has its own fleet of Mahindra Thar 4x4 vehicles which are used to train those enrolled in the program. Other than the standard Thars, the academy also has a few other Mahindra 4WD vehicles like the Scorpio and older jeeps.
The academy is a properly organised institution, offering four specialised courses in off-road driving, with increasing difficulty levels. ‘Getting Dirty', is the basic course in off-roading and Mahindra claims it is just perfect for first-time off-roaders.
The next level course is called ‘Trail Survivor', and is an intermediate course, which focuses more on technicalities of off-roading and goes in-depth on vehicle dynamics while being driven off-road. The third course - ‘Global Explorer', is an advanced-level course which takes place over two days and features intense off-roading and even a competition between the participants.
The ‘Mahindra Certified Off-Road Trainer' course is the ultimate level, and being certified in this course quite literally means that the participant is capable of being an off-roading instructor, and the certification from Mahindra just adds more weightage to it.
All this of course, comes at a price. The Getting Dirty course costs Rs 7,500 to undertake, the Trail Survivor, Rs 17,500 and the Global Explorer, Rs 25,000 per head. The Mahindra Certified Off-Road Trainer course though is not open to the public. For this, one would have to go through the Global Explorer course first, and then, Mahindra would select the ones eligible for it.
The Training academy at Igatpuri is spread over 28 acres and features 12 different trails that participants of the courses would have to negotiate through. Some of them are, Home Run, Rock Crawl, Blind Zone, Railway Crossing, Log Crossing, Slush Pit, etc.
Earlier this month, Mahindra Invited DriveSpark to be part of the action, and experience off-roading in it's raw form. Undergoing the Trail Survivor course, we had to negotiate the Home Run, Blind Spot, Slush Pit and Sarpanch trails. The course is taught well, and helps educate the driver about his/her own capabilities in addition to learning more about the off-road capabilities of Mahindra's vehicles.
The courses at Mahindra's Training Academy are not just useful to those who own a Mahindra 4x4 vehicle. Even if one is considering purchasing a 4x4 vehicle from any other manufacturer, the off-roading principles remain the same, hence one would be able to explore their vehicle's capabilities better if trained by the Mahindra Training Academy.
If you are considering purchasing a Mahindra 4WD vehicle, then the courses are even better, as it is best to learn about the vehicle's off-road capabilities from the very people who developed it.