If off-roading superiority comes to mind when you think of Range Rover, then that’s the effect of 60 years of leadership in this area. All Range Rover vehicles must meet the company’s exacting standards for off-road capability, which means passing a challenging suite of tests in difficult conditions. Meanwhile, off-road technology has come a long way in 60 years, and Range Rover has remained at the forefront.
“Off-roading” can mean different things to different Range Rover drivers. A Range Rover comes equipped with the sophisticated, yet rugged drivetrain and chassis features to handle a wide array of conditions with confidence and safety.
First, a vehicle intended for off-road travel must provide sufficient ground clearance, and the Range Rover does with 9.1 inches. The standard air suspension system allows you to raise that to 11.1 inches in Off-road Mode, providing extra clearance for obstacles such as rocks and downed tree limbs. If you should encounter a stream to cross, take heart; the Range Rover uses special watertight components under the hood and can wade into water nearly 28 inches deep.
Every Range Rover model comes equipped with a permanent (or “full-time”) four-wheel drive system with a center differential and dual-range transfer gearbox. The system is always engaged, and it uses the four-wheel Electronic Traction Control system (ETC) to control wheel slip. You’d select low-range, for example, when descending steep hills. The low gearing helps keep vehicle speed low under such conditions.
Low-range gearing by itself may not be enough to maintain a stable speed, since it requires the driver to very carefully modulate the accelerator pedal. That’s why the Range Rover is also equipped with a suite of electronic systems to make such driving easier and safer. Hill Descent Control, which automatically engages when low-range is selected, helps maintain a set, steady speed down an incline, leaving the driver to focus on steering and braking.
It’s not always easy to maintain vehicle momentum when going up a steep hill, especially if the road is curved and causes you to slow down or stop. Starting from a stop could cause some nervous moments, and even present real danger. The Range Rover is equipped with Hill-Start Assist to handle this situation.
As you move your foot from the brake pedal to the accelerator, Hill-Start Assist retains brake pressure long enough to help prevent the vehicle from rolling backward. As you accelerate, the transition occurs quickly and seamlessly.
If you’re descending a hill without low-range engaged, Gradient Acceleration Control pressurizes the brake system to prevent the vehicle from over-accelerating. And, it works going forward in Drive or if reversing down the hill. Even if you stop mid-hill and then proceed, Gradient Acceleration Control will help keep the vehicle from accelerating too quickly.
The Range Rover Terrain Response® system adds even more off-road capability and driver control. Using a dial selector on the center console, you choose a mode that suits the current driving surface and conditions. The system then tailors the performance and responses of all the vehicle systems, including the traction control, Dynamic Stability Control, ABS brakes, Hill Descent Control and more to work most effectively on that specific surface.
The five settings include “General Driving,” “Grass/Gravel/Snow,” “Sand,” “Mud and Ruts” and “Rock Crawl.” (The Range Rover Sport and Range Rover Evoque equipped with Adaptive Dynamics System also add a sporty “Dynamic” mode for on-road conditions.)
For example, selecting the “Grass/Gravel/Snow” mode changes a number of drive parameters. First, the vehicle will start in second gear, rather than first to reduce acceleration force and therefore help prevent wheel slip. At the same time, accelerator pedal sensitivity is reduced, which helps prevent over-acceleration; ABS, Dynamic Stability Control and Electronic Traction Control are programmed to be “more alert” to the conditions, meaning they’ll respond especially quickly.
Selecting “Mud/Ruts” mode does something quite different than that. It signals the traction control to allow additional wheel slip, which can be helpful when trying to maintain momentum over rugged and often slippery surfaces. In “Sand” mode, Terrain Response adjusts the vehicle’s systems to help prevent the Range Rover from digging into dry, loose surfaces.
Select “Rock Crawl” mode and the Range Rover will prompt you to also engage low range. In this mode, all systems are optimized to help the vehicle move across an extremely difficult surface slowly and safely.
Want to know more about Range Rover off-road capability? Come in and talk to a specialist today.