Above & Beyond Tour
We drove the latest fleet of Land Rovers on a specially designed off-road trail
A few weeks back, the MotorBeam team went to Mahindra's off-road academy at Nashik and had a field day driving the Thar in pouring downpour. I, unfortunately, couldn't make it. Then we did the Festival of Mud where we did a series of tests on 5 of the best SUVs out there, the Discovery Sport was of course one of them and showcased why a Land Rover is a Land Rover after all. Now, I got a chance to be part of the Above & Beyond Tour at 19-degree North, the same location is used every year by the carmaker to showcase the off-road prowess of its vehicles.
Last year, my colleague Parth got a chance to attend the same event but he drove the Evoque. Since he has already focussed heavily on the challenges which although are altered every year, I will put my attention towards the overall experience of driving a luxury SUV in places where most people won't dare to go, even with a non-luxury utility vehicle. However, our roads do throw the random off-road challenge every now and then and that's why it's crucial to understand the importance of having an SUV which is more than just high riding.
The experience is 45 minutes long (or short if you like driving on mysterious terrain, now knowing what could happen next). But as difficult as I make it sound, it was quite a breeze driving the Discovery Sport because it made my life very easy behind the wheel. And this is the exact reason why one should definitely experience something like this as the off-road elements here, help in attaining a higher level of confidence in the real-world.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport comes equipped with a slew of electronic features including All Terrain Progress Control, Hill Descent Control and a Terrain Response system, all of which make off-roading that much easier. We hit a series of challenges, right from steep inclines, water crossing, challenging descents and side slopes, the British SUV didn't budge an inch and just took everything in its stride with the utmost confidence.
This off-road experience proved how capable, well-engineered and fun-to-drive these Land Rovers are
The balance and ease of driving this car just boosts the driver's confidence to such a level that in spite of the magnitude of the challenges, the all-wheel-drive system of the car would send the power to the right wheel to ensure it was a cakewalk. What's even more impressive is the water wading and towing capacity of the Discovery Sport, you can take it deep in a stream while we all know how well this SUV can tow (remember the Discovery Sport towing a train video?). Bad roads is where the Discovery absolutely conquers and how!
The experience was great and further aided by the instructor who helped me understand the Discovery Sport better while also navigating me through the whole course. The Discovery Sport's capability is quite well known and when we did our own off-roading with this car last month, the only issue we faced was ground clearance but it just excelled in every way imaginable, surpassing our expectations. It's great to see Land Rover living by its core DNA, that even though cars are becoming easier to drive, more comfortable and the focus is increasing on luxury and tech, they are still hugely capable off the road.
Further Reading -
MotorBeam Off-Road Day - Festival Of Mud
MotorBeam Off-Road Day - Festival Of Mud [Video]
Off-Roading In The Range Rover Evoque
Off-Roading In The Discovery SportLand Rover Off-Road Experience Report
Land Rover PLA Plant Tour