One of the benefits of owning a Land Rover is knowing that it has a pedigree for being able to climb any mountain or forge any stream. However as my own car has only really got its wheels wet when I have cleaned it I of course jumped at the chance at being able to attend one of the Land Rover Experience centres and see what their cars could really do.
Based at Eastnor Castle the site has been a development site for Land Rover for over 50 years so it was the perfect location to try out some cars in the environment in which they have been designed for. First up was the infamous Range Rover Vogue with a V8 diesel engine and then of course I couldn’t not try an Evoque (but not mine!).
The day involved rolling, sliding and skidding our way around a track that honestly I would have struggled to have walked with an experience instructor directing operations from the passenger seat. After some excitement on a racetrack earlier this year, this was much more my style – technically challenging while being nice and slow.
It is this kind of experience that sells the car and the brand. You just can’t believe what these cars can achieve and then appreciate all the little details that demonstrates how these cars justify their premium over the competition. As one instructor pointed out, Land Rover set out to build a 4×4 and then work out how to make it work on the road whereas the rest of the industry do it the other way around.
Driving the cars yourself is very different to reading about them which is why this must be Land Rover’s most powerful sales tool. Other car manufacturers are catching on (like Mercedes World in Weybridge) to the idea of customers trying the car in the habitat that it has been designed but more should be done to help build brands and get new customers into their cars. Racetracks for Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini, GT routes and city breaks for Jaguar, Aston and Audi, and skidpans for the likes of Volvo are all ways that demonstrate the key benefits of the car and its perfect application.
You might never take your car off road or up to 150 mph, but like a watch that can submerge to 3,000 meters, it is good to know that it could if you needed it to.