Pretoria - Mahindra South Africa has relaunched its 4x4 track in Pretoria, at the Leribisi Lodge.
Situated about 30 minutes away from Menlyn Mall, just off Garsfontein Road, it's now the ideal location to learn about your Mahindra off-roader in a controlled, yet challenging environment.
According to the company's 4x4 Academy spokesperson, Grizelda Goosen, you will not only learn how capable your Mahindra vehicle is, you'll also become more confident when 4x4-ing on your own.
"We have a variety of Mahindra 4x4 vehicles available for customers to drive and 10 obstacles around the course. We cover everything from wading, to driving up steep inclines, to traversing sharp rocks. There is enough to test your self-knowledge on driving and even to test the nerve levels a bit."
I spent a day out at the recently revamped 4x4 track to see what it's like and to drive around it for myself. Mahindra were kind enough to loan me a Scorpio S11 SUV (4x4 with low-range transfer case, but no diff-lock) to go exploring.
It's not a very long track, but it's quite a tight and challenging one, and the larger the SUV or 4x4, the more intricate you'll need to be behind the wheel.
A few of the dealers that were there on the day took Thar 4x4s out and because of its diminutive dimensions, it scampered away from the bakkies and SUVs on the course.
The Scorpio S11 I drove was fitted with Michelin LTX Force rubber, ideal for the sorts of conditions that 4x4-ing present. I stuck it in 4L, selected first gear and crawled toward the water crossing obstacle. I didn't think we were going to make it across, as I didn't believe the Scorpio had the ride height or enough grunt to grind through the muddy basin. Nevertheless, in 1st gear, slightly revving the engine to maintain momentum and keep the wave of water pushing forward ahead of the bonnet, we made it.
Chassis twisters came next, and again, in my head I knew this Scorpio won't have the suspension travel to negotiate the obstacle in front of me. Again, the car simply bounded up and down and in and out of the craters.
I did get stuck, no fault of the vehicle's, when trying to exit the chassis twister section, as I had let off the throttle and I lost too much momentum. A few rocking motions courtesy of selecting reverse ensured I was able to become unstuck quickly, though.
The rest of the course, the up-hills, the down-hills, the roll-over inclines, all proved challenging, but fun because there are people on hand to guide you around the place at all times. If you're feeling uncomfortable with an obstacle, get out, walk the challenge and talk to the instructor about what they think is the best way to tackle it.
One of the coolest new features of the revitalised Mahindra 4x4 Academy track at Lerebisi Lodge has to be it's weight-transfer obstacle where the vehicle is driven onto a ramp that see-saws as you approach the breakover point. Steady, straight and with a little faith, we made it across this challenge with no harm done to the car either.
If you'd like to experience the capabilities of Mahindra's 4x4 range of vehicles, give Grizelda Goosen a shout on 012 661 3161.
"We will take you on a walk around the course, then explain the vehicle and its systems and abilities, and then slowly take you through the course. You can choose to experience the Mahindra Thar, Scorpio S10 SUV and the Scorpio Pikup," she says.
For more information or to make a booking for the next course, email the Mahindra 4x4 Academy on [email protected]