“Land Rover”, the name itself has the hint of the capabilities of the range of the vehicles this company offers. Land Rovers have been potent off-roaders from decades. But it also went on the path to offer premium products with great on-road manners. While 90 % per cent of the Land Rover owners do not take their Luxury SUV off the tarmac, but what if they do take it off-road someday? Is all that off-road DNA still in there? We found out just that with Land Rover’s “Above and Beyond Tour”.
Above and Beyond Tour is a full-fledged experience program by Land Rover so you can get the first-hand idea of the Land Rover SUVs go-anywhere capability. Customers can enrol in and have a day full of adventure. The program is not new it has been in our country from the past 6 years. And Land Rover has only one goal in mind, to give the customer experience they will never forget. That’s why they have a special team of marshalls and instructors with them for the program, leading which is Ashish Gupta (one and only lead instructor in India).
After a briefing session by Ashish Gupta about the history of the company, safety measures, and technology that the SUV as we were off to our track. Land Rover has alotted Discovery Sport and Evoque for the event, and our weapon of choice was the Evoque. Though looking like a soft-roader, and more inclined towards a luxury SUV experience the Evoque had a surprise for us. It even better the Discovery Sport with better Ramp and Departure angles!
Accompanying us was our Land Rover instructor explaining us the various obstacle we will face and ways to tackle them. And off we went for the special track designed by the Land Rover team. The course was full of sand and ruts, as we navigated through the course we had our first obstacle waiting for us. A steep slope, the dip down was so much that it was hard to see the bottom down ahead. Now the electronics came to play, our instructor told us to switch the Terrain Response System dial to “GRASS-GRAVEL-SNOW” mode and let Hill Descent Control(HDC) do all the work. You need not worry about braking or accelerating, all you need to do is just steer the car downhill. So even if you have no experience off-road, Land Rover electronic takes care of you and manages all the hard stuff.
Next up following was a steep incline, we put the car in “SAND” mode which increases the engine and gearbox response, and also locks the centre differential. Alongside with the magic of Traction Control system, we just had to take care of the accelerator pedal. The Evoque climbed the incline flawlessly. Even if the car would struggle to find traction the electronics will sort that out in milliseconds!
The last challenge of the day was deep ruts which sure would have put the axle articulation to test. With more than one wheel up in the air it was magnificent to see the SUV putting the power to the right wheels to get us out. We used the “MUD-RUTS” mode which helped us maintain a smooth run over those deep ruts.
But that’s not the end, our instructor told us to try one last feature. Everybody is familiar with cruise control in modern cars which helps you to relax and maintain a constant speed. But what if I told you Land Rover has cruise control for the off road too? All-Terrain Progress Control (ATPC) is more of like sit back and relax while the electronics will take care of everything. Almost everything, you just have to set a speed anywhere between 1.8 km/h and 30 km/h and the car will maintain it while you just steer your way around.
The course did finally come to an end but what an experience it was. Until now I never thought the Land Rover Evoque can take such trails like a piece of cake. It is great experience for Land Rover owners as well as future buyers to indulge in an off-road adventure under experts with proper safety. And it finally answers the question we started with. What if you take your Land Rover off the roads of metropolitan cities and interstate highways? YES! You will be left surprised and pass all the obstacle with the utmost comfort while your Land Rover does all the complicated work for you.