2012 Range Rover Evoque Terrain Response

Advanced terrain management systems such as Land Rover’s Terrain Response are becoming more common. As technology improves, many 4×4 buyers are demanding more automation, safety, and versatility from their vehicles rather than “one size fits all” terrain solutions. Of course, many owners will never us a “rock crawl” program, but others will routinely have use for snow, mud, and on-road dynamic/sport settings.

Terrain Programs

What we’re comparing today are the selectable terrain programs found in Land Rover, Ford, and Jeep vehicles. All three of these selectable terrain management systems share a very similar user interface, so we’ll start by mentioning the common features. These include semi-intuitive programs, multiple terrain settings, normal/automatic default settings, and hill descent control. All featured vehicles (Evoque, Explorer, Grand Cherokee) also take advantage of technologies such as dynamic stability control, electronic traction control, roll stability control, etc.

Land Rover’s Terrain Response

Land Rover has hinted that future versions of Terrain Response — such as the system found on the DC100 — will be fully automatic.

Land Rover introduced Terrain Response for the 2005 model year as a feature of the LR3 (Discovery 3). As with the other two systems mentioned below, Land Rover’s terrain handling technology allows the vehicle’s performance characteristics to change in accordance with a setting selection made by the driver. Land Rover has hinted that future versions of Terrain Response — such as the system found on the DC100 — will be fully automatic. Until then, Land Rover continues to use the user-selectable system currently found on all of its vehicles. 

Range Rover Evoque Terrain Response

The Land Rover Terrain Response system found in the 2012 Range Rover Evoque has available a Dynamic Mode setting, which optimizes the Evoque’s driving performance on dry, paved roads. The other four Terrain Response settings remain unchanged (and one is missing altogether).

General Program – The General Program is for use on dry, solid surfaces such as paved highways. This program is the ‘default’ program, meaning that if another Terrain Response setting is desired, the system should be set to the General Program. In fact, Land Rover warns that driving the vehicle with an incorrect setting can impair drivability and reduce the life of the suspension and drive systems. 

Grass/Gravel/Snow – This program is for use on loose or slippery surfaces, but not deep soft materials such as deep sand or deep snow. Land Rover recommends using the Sand program for deep snow. The most common terrain surface that correspond to this setting are just as the name suggests: wet grass and snow-covered roads. 

Mud/Ruts – The Mud/Ruts program is for deeper mud, ruts, and uneven surfaces. 

Sand – This program is for soft, deep surfaces. Wet sand (such as on a beach) may require the Mud/Ruts setting. The Sand program is also the preferred program for snow that is deep enough for the tires to “sink in” when attempting to gain traction. 

Land Rover’s Terrain Response system also integrates:

  • Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)
  • Electronic Traction Control (ETC)
  • Hill Descent Control (HDC)
  • Gradient Release Control (GRC)
  • Hill Start Assist
  • Roll Stability Control (RSC)

Rock Crawl

While the Range Rover Evoque omits a Rock Crawl setting, it is still included on other models. The Rock Crawl setting is for use on solid surfaces when careful control is needed, whether wet or dry (large rocks, rocky river beds, etc.). Rock Crawl is available only when the vehicle is in Low range.

Ford’s Terrain Management System

Ford’s Terrain Management System is a derivative of the Terrain Response system thanks to Ford’s ownership of the Land Rover between 2000 and 2008. Even so, the Ford system as found on the 2011 Ford Explorer is simplified. While the Ford Explorer is available with full-time Intelligent 4WD, the system has no air suspension (nor does the Evoque), no available Low range setting (again, similar to the Evoque), and open differentials (same with the Evoque).

The user interface of Ford’s Terrain Management System is almost identical to the Terrain Response system from which it is derived. It offers identical settings to the Land Rover system (sans Dynamic Mode and Rock Crawl), which are used for the same types of terrain. Ford even uses some of the same icon graphics on the selector dial. 

Ford Terrain Management System Programs

  • Normal
  • Snow
  • Sand
  • Mud/Ruts

Jeep’s Selec-Terrain Off-Road Group II

2011 Jeep Select-Terrain Off-Road Group II

Another domestic automaker to feature advanced four-wheel drive systems is, of course, Jeep. Chrysler’s off-road brand offers several 4WD systems and a single selectable traction control management system (Select-Terrain) with two feature packages (Off-Road Group I and II). These systems include Rock-Trac (Wrangler Rubicon), Command-Trac (Wrangler), Command-Trac II (Liberty), Selec-Trac II (Liberty), Quadra-Drive II (Grand Cherokee), Quadra-Trac I (Grand Cherokee), Quadra-Trac SRT (Grand Cherokee SRT8), Quadra-Trac II (Grand Cherokee), and Freedom Drive I and II (Liberty, Compass).

The Selec-Terrain system allows for Auto, Sport, Snow, Sand/Mud, and Rock settings. Jeep’s selectable programs are a little more intuitive than the Land Rover and Ford systems and come in two variations: Off-Road Group I and Off-Road Group II. We’ll be looking at the Selec-Terrain Off-Road Group II system; the closest analogy Jeep offers to full Terrain Response. The Off-Road Group II package includes an air suspension and electronic limited slip differential.  

Auto – Auto is the normal driving program for use on all types of terrains. Torque is available on demand and the air suspension sits at normal ride height.

Sport – The sport setting optimizes vehicle response for dry, on-road driving. This setting gives the Grand Cherokee a rear-wheel drive feel but with the improved handling of a 4WD vehicles. This setting is most analogous to the Dynamic Mode setting on the Range Rover Evoque. 

Snow – This setting is to be used on any loose surface, such as snow-covered or icy roads. The program attempts to minimize wheel slippage. This mode is similar to the Terrain Response Grass/Gravel/Snow program.

Sand/Mud – This setting is used for mud, sand, or wet grass. The setting maximizes traction by “limit[ing] traction control management of throttle and wheel spin.” This program is similar to Land Rover’s Mud/Ruts setting.

Rock – The Rock setting is only available on Low range. This setting is used to navigate any obstacle requiring low-speed and careful control, such as large rocks, deep ruts, water crossings, etc. This program is similar to the Land Rover’s Rock Crawl setting.

As you can see in the photo above, Jeep’s system also includes a Neutral setting that allows the Jeep Grand Cherokee to be towed flat without damaging the driveline.

2012 Range Rover Evoque Terrain Response

Pictured above is the Range Rover Evoque’s Terrain Response control panel.



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December 18, 2011

RoverGuide

Articles, Comparisons, Land Rover Models

Ford, Jeep, Off-Road, Terrain Response

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