Going above and beyond in a new Land Rover
Kiwis have a strong affinity for the Land Rover brand which this year celebrates its 70th birthday.
Land Rover has never forgotten it’s agricultural roots and while today’s vehicles are significantly more advanced and more luxurious than the first postwar vehicles, and are sometimes unkindly referred to as “Remuera Tractors”, they are equally as capable, competent, and composed when off-road as well as on-road.
To showcase this story of composure and capability to a wider local audience outside of current owners, the iconic brand has created The Land Rover Above and Beyond Tour, which now in its third season for 2018 and has seen more than 30 days of off-road and on-road activities enjoyed by more than 5000 Kiwis.
The Land Rover Above and Beyond Tour is a national event with driving experience days hosted by professional driving instructors held in Auckland, Waikato, Hawkes Bay, Christchurch, and Dunedin with support from the local dealership teams.
NZ Autocar joined a group of customers and guests hosted by Auckland Land Rover dealer Archibald and Shorter for an afternoon session of the Above and Beyond Tour with the on-road and off-road driving sections based at the 540 acre Jonkers Farm near Bethells Beach (Te Henga) in West Auckland.
In just three hours during the Above and Beyond Tour session, we found that our driving skills certainly were tested in the off-road conditions in the Land Rover fleet.
Alongside the other guests we took the vehicles through a number of challenging obstacles including the off-road safari, the technical challenge, and the “don’t spill a drop,” driving challenge, which was a nerve racking experience.
The professional team of driving instructors make sure that everyone is well briefed and comfortable with the exercises they are about to undertake, and it’s a lot of fun getting someone else’s vehicle covered in sticky wet mud. Thankfully all vehicles are supplied with heavy duty Land Rover rubber floor mats!
Jaguar Land Rover New Zealand marketing manager Luke Meurant says the Above and Beyond Tour not only gives people an opportunity to experience the vehicles in the off-road environment for which they were designed, it also affords an opportunity for the brand to invite a wider audience outside current owners to do so as well.
“We sponsor a number of high school first XV rugby teams throughout New Zealand, so we extend an invitation to the players and their parents to come along and have a go, and also the members of the New Zealand Defence Force Invictus Team as well,” says Meurant.
“Quite often at exhibition events such as the National Fieldays, we have guests and visitors to the stand who don’t believe that these shiny modern vehicles can foot it in the rough stuff, so we immediately invite them to come and experience the cars for themselves during the Above and Beyond Tour.
“There are very few opportunities for the brand to tell it’s story of capability and composure so convincingly in a controlled environment, so we make the most of every opportunity to get people behind the wheel of our product.”
“Land Rover has a long history in New Zealand, Kiwis have a real sense of ownership of the brand and a deep affinity for it, which we wish to continue to nurture through activities such as the Above and Beyond tour,” says Meurant.