Explor uses Land Rover Discovery 3 4WD, 7 seater. The interior featured a flexible seven-seat layout. Passengers in the rearmost row now entered through the rear side doors, instead of the tailgate.
It has Range Rover-aping air suspension and a raft of electronic traction control systems to bolster the SUV’s revered and well-established off-road prowess while bringing welcome enhancements to its on-road behaviour. There is a 2.7-litre engine with 190bhp, both of which were more than potent enough to capably move this car wherever it needed to go.
The Discovery 3 was fitted with multiple electronic traction control systems. Hill Descent Control (HDC) prevented vehicle ‘runaways’ when descending steep gradients and 4-wheel Electronic Traction Control (4ETC) prevented wheel spin in low-traction conditions.
An on-road system, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), prevented skidding when steering and braking at speed. The vehicle also featured the ‘Terrain Response’ system. Previously, off-road driving had been a skill that many drivers found daunting. A wide-ranging knowledge of the vehicle was needed to be able to select the correct gear, transfer ratio, various differential systems and master various techniques required for tackling steep hills, deep water and other tough terrain. Terrain Response attempted to take away as many of the difficulties as possible.
The driver selected a terrain type (“Sand”, “Grass, Gravel & Snow”, “Mud & Ruts” and “Rock Crawl”) on a dial in the cab of the vehicle. The on-board computer systems then select the correct gearbox settings, adjust the suspension height, adjust the differential lock settings and even alter the throttle response of the engine suitable for the terrain. For example, in “Rock Crawl”, the suspension is raised to its maximum height and set to allow maximum wheel articulation, the differentials are locked, the driver is prompted to switch to Low Range, and the throttle response is altered to provide low-speed control.
In “Sand” mode, the traction control system is ‘primed’ to be more sensitive to wheelspin, the differentials are partly locked, and the throttle response is re-mapped to produce high power outputs with short pedal movement. The driver retained some manual control over the off-road systems, being able to select the Transfer Box ratio and the suspension height manually, although use of the Terrain Response system is needed to allow full use of the vehicles’ capabilities.