“A Land Rover is like a family dog. It’s always up for an adventure, regardless of its kind.”
Those were the words of Ian Seggar, a representative from Jaguar Land Rover Asia Pacific. The British automaker recently held a five-day special “Off-Road Experience” event at Sepang to showcase Land Rover’s full capabilities to their customers and the media.
Many put their money down on these luxury SUVs despite not being fully exposed to the breadth of its off-road capabilities. Jaguar Land Rover Malaysia’s (JLRM) Managing Director, Tuan Syed Mudzhar Syed Ali explained that the objective of the event was to give owners and prospective buyers full insights and hands-on experience of what these cars can do off tarmac.
The 70-year-old brand gained more local prominence since the introduction of the Evoque, which saw a growing pool of customers who are completely new to the brand. Tuan Syed said, “We are perhaps the only premium luxury brand that can offer the perfect combination of iconic design, enabling technology, on-road refinement and extraordinary off-road capabilities with every product. But best of all, we have a heritage, built over seven decades, that makes Land Rover stand apart from the rest.”
More importantly, JLRM hopes that the Off-Road Experience will equip owners with the necessary skills and knowledge to tackle difficult situations, be it on-road or off-road. Make no mistake, the SUVs is every bit as impressive off-road as they are on-road, if not more. But as the saying goes, it takes two to tango. Before you put your Land Rover through any obstacle, be sure to manually inspect (on foot) the path ahead as this will minimise the risks of damaging your car. Or worse, have it stranded, which quite frankly is an unlikely scenario considering how adept they are off-road.
So what makes Land Rovers so proficient off-road, even when they are fitted with road-going tyres? A combination of robust hardware and very clever software, apparently. Some of the engine management programmes include Hill Descent Control (which activates – via engine braking – within a lightning quick 0.35 seconds upon descent), Traction Control, High and Low range gearing, multi-mode Terrain Response, 4×4 Information Display, Dynamic Stability Control and a differential lock. There’s also the ride height adjustable air suspension which raises the SUV on demand, giving more ground clearance.
At the event, all participants were given a crash course on the basics of off-road driving. It’s not a hovercraft, mind you, so drivers must be equipped with the necessary know-hows when taking their million-ringgit SUV off-road. The crash course gave participants a better understanding of their cars in terms of vehicle dimensions and clearance limitations, how to ascend and descend hills, tackling ruts and ditches, traversing slopes, and crossing deep waters and elephant steps.
During the event, visitors were also given a sneak preview of the soon-to-come Discovery Sport, which sits in between the Range Rover and Defender series. The larger Discovery has yet to make a global debut, and it is only a matter of time before it’s introduced here.