Land Rover Experience 2016
The fleet mostly consisted of Discovery Sports and a couple of Evoques

Land Rover Experience

The Discovery Sport absolutely impressed us with its amazing capabilities off the road

We all know how the weather has been acting up with its inconsistency these days. Day before yesterday was one of those days when the climate seemed cool and there was a sense of fresh air blooming around. We were at 19 Degrees North, Aamby Valley, overlooking the pleasant day and just then it started raining. Standing on the other side was a gleaming fleet of 10 Land Rovers all set to tackle the rigorous off-road trail that 19 Degrees North has to offer. I was handed over the Discovery Sport (147 HP) and I quickly jumped into it and adjusted my seating position and mirrors. My co-driver was an instructor from Cougar Motorsport who was going to guide me throughout the trail. Seat belts fastened up, we were all set to lurk out on the undiscovered terrain.

Land Rover Experience - Aamby Valley
I got the 147 HP Discovery Sport for the off-road trail

We were briefed about various features of the car such as Hill Descent Control, Hill Hold Assist, Terrain Response System, etc. Since the trail begins with a downward slope, we activated Hill Descent Control before starting out and the descent speed was set to minimum. Once this feature is activated, you really don’t need to step on the brakes since the car moves at a consistent pace. The Hill Descent Control speed can be increased or decreased with a couple of buttons on the steering wheel. The Terrain Response System comes with a bunch of modes like Mud and Ruts, Gravel and Grass, Snow, etc. and we selected Gravel and Grass for the initial phase of the trail.

Land Rover Discovery Sport Off Road Experience
The Discovery Sport has a Terrain Response System which has a bunch of different terrain modes

The Discovery Sport gets a 2.2-litre diesel engine offered in 2 tunes – 147 HP and 187 HP, mated to a 9-speed AT

The Land Rover Discovery Sport tackled the downward slope without a hitch and soon we found ourselves taking an extremely tight turn into a narrow path of the trail. The instructor kept giving instructions throughout. Since the path had a lot of grass and slush, traction had reduced considerably. So you need just the perfect pace to keep going. Go too slow or too fast and there’s trouble. Even brakes need to be applied only when you feel there’s some traction otherwise the wheels just lock up and the car starts sliding.

Land Rover Discovery Sport Off Roading
The Evoque must have felt slightly easier to drive around due to its smaller footprint

The initial few metres of the trail weren’t that tricky but the main fun was yet to begin. We had to take another right turn and then climb up an incline and all of this was on a slightly curved path! Traction was nil and the steering had to be kept dead straight and then turned slightly once the car hit the apex. The car had to be driven very slowly and I dabbed the brake pedal by mistake. Result? Wheels locked and the car started sliding towards the side. It was extremely tricky to get the car moving again since the wheels were just spinning but after giving a lot of throttle, the Discovery Sport did manage to climb back up again! Full marks to the SUV for this!

Range Rover Evoque Off Road Experience
The off-road trail at 19 Degrees North is extremely challenging and thrilling

The Terrain Response System comes with a lot of different terrain modes

There were a ton of other obstacles and challenges like uphills and downhills, side inclines, etc. and they were fun to tackle. Some obstacles were definitely hardcore and needed a lot of concentration and patience. The key to keep the vehicle moving properly is to make sure that at least one side has proper traction. So we kept looking out for patches of grass or large pebbles and purposely made the tyres go above those patches in certain tricky parts of the trail. There was a pit stop in the middle of the trail but before that we had to come down a very, very steep slope. Traction was again very less and Hill Descent Control was again set to minimum. My instructor told me not to touch the brakes and keep the steering straight. The car started descending downwards and once all the wheels were on the slope, the Discovery started moving downwards with a decent speed, enough to thrill the daylights out of you!

Land Rover Off Roading
The trick to handle the terrains was – as slow as possible, as fast as needed

We all stopped for a while and then had to climb up the same steep slope. This time around, we were told to give enough throttle to keep the RPM hovering around the 2500 mark. The key was to gain momentum before starting to climb and then maintain the same momentum throughout the entire stretch. Since we were going to encounter a lot of pebbles and stones in the second phase of the trail, we had to switch to the Mud and Ruts mode before starting out to climb the slope. I didn’t do that and hence my car went all the way till the top and stopped moving due to less traction. Then we had to engage reverse and let the car roll down the slope before starting over again. This happened twice and then it struck us that the car was still in the Gravel and Grass mode. Switched it to Mud and Ruts and it climbed the slope without a hitch. We started driving ahead where we had to cross a water path, some large pebbles on a slippery incline and a lot of other thrilling obstacles.

Land Rover Off Road Experience
And if the instructions were followed, the cars shone with their capabilities

The trail soon came to an end and we had driven for almost an hour and a half! The Discovery Sport really impressed with its capabilities and kudos to the Terrain Response System too which worked brilliantly. It was a very challenging off-road experience and a lot, lot better than the artificial and easy tracks that we see during other small scale off-road events organised by various automakers. Land Rovers are known to be capable of handling any sort of terrain and the Discovery Sport proved just that by handling the off-road trail in a supreme manner.

Land Rover Experience
The cars proudly standing after completing the entire trail that lasted more than an hour