We were supposed to meet the last month but few things came in between and we couldn’t. As they say, things happen only when they are supposed to! When our proposed meeting did not materialize the last time, I, by no chance had expected another meeting happening so soon. However, serendipity works in strange ways! Within less than a month of having missed the first chance, another date with the beauty was fixed. And in what a wonderful way! I have always fancied SUVs. The newer ones, all the more. So when I found one fine morning in the outskirts of Bangalore fall set to go on a date with one from the Jaguar Land Rover stable, I was way too much excited.
At the Wild Re-treat Adventure Club, I was all set to experience some off-roading fun with Jaguar and Land Rover’s all new Discovery Sport. An SUV packed with exciting state-of the art technologies. Some of which I was about to experience for the first time. Like I said sometime back, I was excited! But before things got serious and I actually took the wheels, a demo was imperative. And so I along-with the four other bloggers and equal number of people from the media headed for the briefing.
The briefing was short and to the point post which, it was time for the real fun to begin. But of course only after we had satisfied our growling tummies. Now let me tell you something before I delve into the details of the drive. I have never done off-roading before, as a driver or otherwise. So naturally, I had my own shares of ‘doubts’ playing inside my head. Also, as surprising as it might sound to some of you, I have never driven an automatic either. Seriously!
Once at the wheels and under the supervision of an able navigator cum instructor, I felt quite confident despite the things I would be doing for the first time. I took it slow, to begin with but the car gave me so much confidence in the first few hundred meters that all my ‘doubts’ went out of the window in no time. Soon I found myself negotiating steep turns through terrain that seemed fit only for tractors comfortably.
Just like there were regions driving through which I found myself at ease, there were moments where literally I had my heart in my mouth. Actually, there were quite a few such instances. Steep blind inclines, driving through slush while climbing up a hill or going down, sands, rocks and huge pot-holes. Surprisingly, I made through all of them. The only thing that seemed tough was gathering the confidence to ‘go for it’. Once I did, it was hardly a matter of seconds before I found that hurdle crossed!
Every time I crossed a challenging region, I felt that it was not me who drove the car rather it was the car who was driving me. I wanted to believe it all the more because the entire track was indeed very challenging with some scary sections thrown in between. So much so that halfway through the drive when we stopped for a photo-break, my instructor noticed that out of the 10 cars that had started with the bloggers and media guys in the driving seat, only me and another car had remained at the wheels. All others seemed to have handed over their respective cars to their instructors, thanks to the challenging terrain.
As we drove through the track, my instructor, from time to time, demonstrated the technologies of the vehicle. The hill-drive, the standard drive, the low-torque drive for surfaces with gravel or snow and others, all being demonstrated LIVE. As there were a lot of steep inclines and declines on pretty unstable surfaces. we got to use the hill-drive feature a lot. The first time when my instructor asked me to not to hit the brakes while the vehicle approached a very steep descent I gave him a bewildered look. He smiled and asked me to believe the vehicle and to my surprise, the vehicle crawled down safely, without me having to do anything.
In such situations, I felt the car already knew much more than me. What to do and what not to. With so much assistance, ones that have a proven track-record at that, I as someone driving the vehicle felt that all I needed to care about which way to go. The other thing that I think deserves a mention here is the always in control feel that the vehicle give. It instills so much confidence in you in a very short time, you won’t think twice before taking it to a terrain to which you would never want to drive otherwise.
By the time the drive ended, I was delighted to have completed the entire stretch and was equally impressed by the kind of features the vehicle had. If I had to put the overall experience, in short, I would confidently say that this is the most forgiving vehicle I have ever driven. Of course not to mention how luxurious it is!
If your pockets are deep enough, this is the machine you have!!
PS.- I was invited by Jaguar Land Rover for a preview but as always, the opinions shared here are mine.