Hard to image how driving 3 miles per hour can be billed an “experience."
But as a student of the Land Rover Experience Driving School, that experience turns to an education when your classroom is an opulent Land Rover sport utility vehicle.
The pavement ends and adventure begins on deep-woods trails not found in a GPS navigation system, with individual instruction from a professional Land Rover instructor skilled in off-road driving techniques.
A driver and up to three passengers are taught expedition-style driving methods customized to fit the driver’s skill and comfort level in a provided 2014 Land Rover vehicle.
Log crossing, rock crawls, side-tilt with steep hill climbs and descents are all part of the real world off-road obstacles conquered in an hour-long lesson.
Cost for a one hour session is $250. A six hour driving experience including picnic lunch costs $1200.
Participants need not be Land Rover owners or have previous off-road experience to enroll in the program.
This month, I raised my hand to attend the Land Rover Experience Driving School at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C., to drive a 2014 Land Rover Range Rover across 7 miles of the 8,000-acre wooded back-country surrounding the historic site.
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover comes packaged with a striking new appearance led by a machined grille, bookended with slim headlamps and uniquely shaped LED running lights.
Breathing life into the Range Rover is a new 3.0-liter, supercharged, V6 engine that builds 340 horsepower teamed to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Land Rover’s fully automated Terrain Response System seamlessly selects the most suitable traction program for maximum control and handling in daily driving.
Standard four-wheel drive doles power and torque as needed to all-season tires to provide safe passage without use of specialized ground settings.
However, certain surface conditions warrant use of the system’s manual mode where dedicated gravel, sand, snow, mud and ruts and rock crawl traction settings were necessary for me to escape the greasy grip of Biltmore’s clay-based trails.
“We go one step further and offer a dealer provided off-road course to our Land Rover clientele at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet,” says Bruce Clark, general sales manager for Jaguar/Land Rover of Orland Park. “It may be a bit more vanilla, but it gives our Land Rover owners the opportunity to experience the off-road capability of their vehicle a little closer to home.”
For Land Rover, comfort comes from both sides of the sheet metal with cabin amenities and spaciousness that absorb occupants in the contentment of luxurious appointments.
Sumptuous sculpted leather upholstery with surrounding soft-touch surfaces wrap five occupants in comfort.
To enhance the clean look of the interior, the center stack and console now has 50-percent fewer switches for at-a-glance use.
Cost for the 2014 Land Rover Range Rover is priced to roll on- or off-pavement starting at $83,545.