Last week, Land Rover held their off-road experience in Delhi NCR. The company invited us to experience their vehicles in their natural habitat. There were only two vehicles to choose from, the Range Rover Evoque, which is the Range Rover brands baby SUV and the Land Rover Discovery Sport, the SUV which is the cheapest Land Rover in India. We drove the Discovery Sport and here is our experience of the same:
The event took place outside Delhi, on the Gurgaon-Faridabad road. The company had taken a private piece of land on rent for the event. Land Rover has tied up Cougar Motorsports for this event and has been conducting many such off-road events across the country. To begin with, we had an off-road briefing, where in we were told what to do and what not to do. Each car had an instructor, to guide you through the course.
Our SUV for the day was a Firenze Red Discovery Sport In HSE Luxury trim. The vehicle had two tone orange and black upholstery on it as well. The vehicle is powered by a 2.0 liter Ingenium diesel engine making 177 Bhp and 430 Nm. The engine is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission. While there is no low ratio on offer, the vehicle is still very, very capable.
The course involved slush, a lot of mud, steep ascents and descents. This gave us the ability to test a few off-road features that the Discovery Sport possesses. The first and the most obvious is the Terrain Response System. This is basically a set of pre-defined off-road modes that the SUV has. Based on the terrain up front, the mode has to be selected. The modes on offer are normal mode, sand mode, grass gravel snow and mud ruts.
The first test was a massive articulation with a steep descent. During this exercise, one wheel goes air borne while the vehicle is going down a steep slope. This helped us to see how the power transmission takes place between the wheels when one of them is in the air. The articulation was passed without much drama.
Next came a sandy ascent. While we thought that we would need momentum to climb up, the car did it with ease without any hassle and a gentle, constant throttle. The best thing is that the car has hill start assist, that works while off-road as well. We experienced it when the car in front of us stopped abruptly and we had to set off on the sandy slope from standstill. The car managed without any hesitation.
Then came the trickiest part, the hill descent control test. The track consisted of a few steep descents that were slippery and tight and you had to let the car go down without touching any pedal. The Land Rover range has a feature that enables you to change the speed of the hill descent via the cruise control buttons on the steering wheel. While the SUV shined, it is a very scary experience when the car is sliding down and you are told to let go of the brakes.
The last was a minor slush pit where we saw how well the Discovery Sport managed to go through the slush. Driving through slush requires momentum and requires you to take the least path of resistance. Make sure you decide the path before heading in.
The central touch screen infotainment system can show the power distribution between the wheels and the exact position of the steering wheel. This is very helpful while off-roading to know which direction your vehicle is pointing.
Overall, it was a good experience. This event is held all over the country and is open to customers and prospective customers as well. All you need to do is call the dealership and express your interest and pay the required fee (it is a paid event).