Welcome to Land Rover Experience Drive Days

By RIZAL JOHAN | 11 June 2015

We all know its just a matter of time before the zombie apocalypse is upon us and if you’re going to survive in this harsh environment, you need a vehicle that is just as robust and versatile, not to mention powerful enough to get you out of hairy situations.

Sure, you can opt for a bare-bones 4X4 vehicle to get you across all sorts of terrain but if style and comfort is still a priority, then you need to get on a luxury Land Rover.

Take your pick – the Range Rover Evoque, the Range Rover Sport, the Range Rover Vogue – and you’re going to need some Defenders to act as scouts too.

There’s no denying the capability of the Land Rover Defender when it comes to off-roading.

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You don’t even have to drive the Defender as showcased by instructor Dr Zaini Shaarani, who was one of the first Malaysians to take part in the Camel Trophy expedition back in 1986.

Zaini started the Defender, put it in first gear, locked the differential and went for a brisk walk with it side-by-side initially and then he climbed in and steered it up and down the slope and through deep waters and elephant steps without any fuss.

And when you get to the more upmarket models like the Range Rover Sport, Vogue and Evoque, these cars are equally competent in handle the rough terrain as some of them are equipped with hill descent control, air suspension, traction control, terrain response, 4X4 information display and dynamic stability control.

And while these cars come with a hefty price-tag, it was evident that they not only look good and are comfortable to drive on hostile terrain.

Yes, including the Evoque.

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So for the owners of the Evoques out there who haven’t taken your car off-road, you’re missing out on a lot of fun.

Some Evoque owners did turn up as well as owners of other Land Rovers (500 of them altogether) and under the expert guidance of certified Land Rover instructor Kenneth Yap, they had the opportunity to learn about the various unique features and systems that enable their vehicles to tackle both city roads and the toughest off-road terrains with aplomb.

According to Jaguar Land Rover (Malaysia) managing director Syed Mudzhar Syed Ali, the event was meant to help owners and prospective buyers appreciate the Land Rover brand and experience the fullest off-roading capabilities of its vehicle line-up.

“We have a growing number of customers who are new to Land Rover.

"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.

“We also want them to be able to appreciate the on and off-road attributes that are unique to their vehicles.

“Such knowledge will hopefully help them tackle unforeseen difficult situations safely and confidently, and with no or minimal damage to their vehicles,” he said.

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Participants were also taught the basics of off-road driving such as understanding vehicle dimensions and clearance limitations, how to ascend and descend hills, tackling ruts and ditches, traversing slopes, and crossing deep waters and elephant steps.

The instructors also shared the “Fragile Earth” philosophy, which stressed that good off-road driving meant getting to a destination without harming people and damaging the environment and the vehicle.

This meant that drivers should always look, assess the risks and then only drive. Looking would require one to alight from the vehicle if needed.

The next step would be to assess the risks and consequences such as potential threat to safety or damage to the surroundings.
Finally, it would be to drive as slowly as possible but as fast as necessary to the destination.

Guests and members of the media were also given a sneak preview of the soon-to-be-launched, all-new Land Rover Discovery Sport mid-size luxury SUV.

Yet another versatile vehicle for the whole family which can also go off-roading.

You may scoff at my prediction of the zombie apocalypse but as the Boy Scout motto goes “Be Prepared” because you never know when you’ll need to get behind the wheel of a Land Rover.