How to go Above and Beyond in a Land Rover?

Monday 10 November 2014, 17:34 PM by

You have just bought an expensive premium Sports Utility Vehicle. It has features which range from Hill Descent control, traction control, stability control and everything possible to make it sound like the most potential off-road crawler. What are the chances of you testing its maximum potential? Would you go rock crawling, mud bashing and muck drifting on it? The scare of doing all these enthusiastic things in an expensive ride discourages many of us.

How to go Above and Beyond in a Land Rover? | CarTrade.com
Land Rover Freelander2

When the good people at Land Rover extended an invitation to experience the Off-Road potential of their SUVs, I was excited and puzzled at the same time. The location was 19 degree North, a state-of-the-art integrated adventure park in Aamby Valley. Earlier, we had driven Mahindra Thars on the same terrain and were amazed by the experience. Driving a capable Jeep here is understandable but this time it was the Freelander2 HSE, which costs Rs.50lakhs+ on-road. An expensive vehicle on a track like this is sufficient to scare anyone.

Land Rover Freelander2

The Land Rover team gave us a briefing about various features and the different aspects involved in off-roading. Once done with all the theoretical knowledge, it was time for us to drive off. Every vehicle had a special off-roading expert. We were lucky as our trainer Mr. Gurkie Maan, who also happens to be a rally driver, explained the nuances involved in such driving.

The Freelander2, like other Land Rover vehicles, comes with various off-road aiding features with the best being the Terrain Response system. This system controls various attributes of engine behaviour to help manoeuvre on difficult terrains. By default, it is set to General Program Mode which is compatible with all on and off-road scenarios. Sand, Mud Ruts and Grass gravel snow are other modes which help negotiate challenging terrains.

 Land Rover Freelander2
Land Rover Freelander2

As soon as our drive commenced, the terrain declined. The Hill Descent Control, which is a Land Rover invention, made use of the ABS to control the speed of each wheel cutting speed drastically. One can set the exact speed for the HDC to get activated and control the vehicle’s motion while going downhill. The HDC can also be overridden by manual braking. Our Freelander2 crawled on the terrain with great confidence changing my doubt to confidence.

 Land Rover Freelander2
Land Rover Freelander2

As we proceeded, the terrain got more challenging. It had sharp rocks, complicated turns, and river crossing etc which helped us experience a totally different side of these SUVs. It was particularly the river crossing which made me take notice of its true potential. The Freelander2 has a 500mm water wading capacity with an approach angle of 31 degrees and a departure angle of 34 degrees. These number are of great importance especially if you descent in a shallow river, drive through it and then climb a sudden rocky section. The Freelander2 did it as if its usual tarmac.

The river section was challenging until we saw the next obstacle which involved driving on rocks at an angle. The vehicle banked at an amazing angle, where I could literally see the ground through the front passenger’s window. Mr.Maan being the Man who-knows-it-all held on to his smile giving me confidence to keep driving further. Even though the rocks compelled the axles to twist, there wasn’t any drop in performance.

Land Rover Freelander2

The convoy of Freelander2 SUVs kept driving through the climbs and descends of the challenging terrain. It was not just me alone enjoying this as other occupants too were having a blast in their respective vehicles. One gentleman also exclaimed, ‘I can’t wipe off my happy grin’. The reason for this joy was very simple. Not that anyone doubted the potential of these vehicles but there are very manufacturers who take such keen interest in promoting the real ‘Sports’ side of SUVs.

Land Rover Freelander2
Land Rover Freelander2

Looking pretty and just being a dummy SUV is not the Freelander2. It has a unique straight line design which is more appealing than many superficially bully looking alternatives. It is a purely tough bred SUV which can take any terrain where its contemporaries might not even think of going. . If the Sun shines high and you are in mood to challenge yourself...kindly let the pretty face be home and instead let the Freelander2 explore the unexplored by going Above and Beyond.