(P.S this post is written by a very simple person, so kindly do not expect advanced technical information here.)
When I got a call from Blogadda, asking if I was interested in test-driving Jaguar’s Land Rover, I said yes without a second thought.But I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had no idea how exciting the Land Rover Experience would be and I’m just glad I said Yes.
So, on a beautiful Sunday (of course it would be beautiful when you’ve got an exciting day ahead with the Land Rover!)a few of us bloggers, who were to test-drive, reached The Farm at OMR and waited for a view of the Freelander. Our briefing session was scheduled post lunch,but we went around and took a look at the terrain on which we would be driving and then we got to see the vehicle. Oh my! I was just in awe when I saw the vehicle effortlessly being driven on a 4-feet deep water and come out without a hassle. This did get all of us more excited and I couldn’t wait to be able to drive the vehicle on my own.
Just when things couldn’t be going better, when the organizers were asking us for a copy of our driving license, I was told that the vehicle was an automatic model, and not the normal one with the clutch. I was disappointed. I was not used to driving the automatic models and to be honest I was actually a bit skeptical despite the excitement. I was not very sure if I would be able to handle such a huge vehicle, since I’m normally used to driving much smaller cars. And of course, the terrain. We had a video that was being played which showed the vehicle being driven in various terrains. As amazing it was, it did worry me to an extent. I tried to tell myself I would be able to pull it off and tried to think positive and motivate myself, after all the positive stuff that I’ve written on my blog.
We had a briefing session about the vehicle. We were told about the terrain response system of the Freelander that was designed to perform well on off-road conditions and tackle the toughest terrains. The Freelander had 4 modes for different terrains- a normal mode, a mode for driving in water, a mode for driving on a path laden with rocks and on uneven surfaces and a mode for driving on sand.Of particular interest was the Hill Descent Control which intelligently controls the wheels and applies brakes to the wheels individually and slows the vehicle while driving on a steep path, downhill. Also, when you encounter a pit and have one wheel in the air, the vehicle ‘intelligently’ stops the wheel spinning in air and tries to bring it to the surface.
Soon after the briefing session, we were assigned a Land Rover with an instructor. I felt I had to be honest with them and told them my constraints. They did assure me that I would be able to drive, and even if I weren’t able to the instructor would take over. That did calm me a bit. So we got into the car, and then we started with the drive.
Initially, it was just about getting familiar with the vehicle and I drove it quite comfortably. Thanks to the instructor who kept telling me that I would be fine and in fact told me that I did drive pretty well. (That confidence did matter a lot!)This was driven in the normal mode. And then we encountered a few pits where all I felt was a slight disturbance and nothing more. After we’d passed through about 3 pits my instructor asked me to stop and watch the other vehicles that were going through the pit. I was amazed. It looked so uneven and from outside it looked like the vehicle was shaking very badly. But when I was driving, it was relatively very smooth.
After this we had to drive through about 4 feet deep water. Since I was confident enough to handle the vehicle by now, I continued to drive and just kept going on. Despite the surface being uneven, the drive seemed smooth. Post this we drove through slushy areas, areas covered with sand and then rocks. To experience the Hill Descent Control option we did drive through a steep path. It took all my strength to keep my legs way from the break to experience this feature for sometime, before slowly bringing the vehicle to a halt. We did drive slowly to be experience each of the features as well as to feel how subtle the disturbances were despite the terrain. We had a few more pits and slopes to experience the Land Rover even better.
By the end of the drive, I was totally impressed with the vehicle, for the very reason that despite not having handled an SUV earlier, I managed it pretty well. Despite not used to driving in rough, uneven terrains, I did drive it through those paths. The drive was about 45 minutes and it was so comfortable. Once we were done with the drive, others were a bit surprised that I managed to pull it off. Even I was skeptical to an extent, but I guess the excitement and the assurance given helped me. Just when I was proud of my driving skills, I realized that more than my skills it was the Freelander that made this driving possible and made it comfortable.
I would like to thank Jaguar Land Rover India and Blogadda for giving me this wonderful opportunity for the Land Rover Experience.
It was an amazing experience indeed!