No matter how good a driver you are, driving off the road is completely different from driving on paved surfaces. I say that because it’s only recently that I realised what real off-road driving is. So, here I was on the outskirts of Lonavala, at 19 Degrees North Adventure Park where Land Rover had organised an off-road experience event. The company has been conducting such events internationally for donkey’s years, and for the past few years they have begun organising these in India as well. It is through such an initiative that Land Rover lets its customers and enthusiasts experience the immense capabilities of the vehicles. The Discovery Sports and Evoques commissioned for the duty, were ready along with instructors to guide us through the course.
Soon after a short briefing from Mr Ashish Gupta (Lead Instructor, Land Rover), I was allotted the Discovery Sport as my steed for the experience. My instructor gave me a crash course on the Terrain Response System and its modes: General Driving, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts and Sand. During the course, we dealt with gravel, mud and ruts, and for which modes were changed accordingly.
Through the course as we approached the inclines, the Discovery Sport managed to make its way up without any throttle input. And only when the gradient was too steep, a dab on the accelerator was enough to get back moving. While going up was not daunting enough, it was the downhill sections that scared me in the beginning. More so because I was asked not to use the brakes and let the Land Rover’s Hill Descent control take over. I had major trust issues as we began going down, but the system braked individual wheels, depending on the traction, and managed to pass the sections safely. Apart from this, every challenge that the Discovery Sport was entrusted upon was dealt without any fuss.
The overall experience has been an unforgettable one for me as I was overwhelmed with the capabilities of these Land Rovers. It is amazing to see how well these SUVs tackled such terrains which I would think twice even to attempt on foot. Thank you, Land Rover, for this amazing off-road experience.