Off-Roading

Off-road Land Rover Teen Drive Experience launched in the U.S.

Land Rover now offers Teen Drive Experience courses at three U.S. resorts.

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

Driver's education is in dire straits. The driver's ed programs that were commonplace in American schools in the 1970s have been reduced to being a rarity. With parents being relied on more to train their children to become good drivers, in a world with that work schedules that allow few spare hours to make it happen, families are turning to companies to teach their kids to drive.

Who will teach your child to drive off-road?

The Land Rover Teen Drive Experience aims to help ease the teaching burden and give gives kids another way to have fun behind the wheel, perhaps exploring a new passion along the way.

Land Rover Teen Drive Experience The course features a series of obstacles designed to help teens learn how to handle an off-roading experience.Photo courtesy of Land Rover

The custom off-road driving instruction program is designed for teens age 14 and older at Land Rover Experience Centers, located at Quail Lodge in Carmel, California; Equinox Resort in Manchester, Vermont; and the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.

As part of the experience, teens have the ability to pilot a Land Rover Range Rover Evoque or a Land Rover Discovery Sport, both subcompact SUVs, on a course specifically designed for beginner drivers. Each vehicle is equipped with custom cameras inside to monitor all activity as well as an additional brake pedal on the front passenger side of the SUV, which is accessible to the in-car instructor at all times.

Each drive experience includes one hour of instruction:

  • Familiarization - This section includes setting up and adjusting controls such as the seat and steering wheel, seat belt fitting, mirror adjustment, blind spot awareness development, secure door closure, and safety checks for all occupants.
  • Setting Off - During this section, drivers learn to develop spacial awareness and instructors ensure that the driver is comfortable with steering, braking, vehicle spacing, throttle control, and acceleration.
  • Low-Level Obstacles - The obstacles in this section of the course were developed specifically for the teen driving experience. They include a hill ascent, slalom, figure eight, cone course, low articulations, braking obstacles, a descent, and backing up for garage parking.
The teen driving course is priced at $275. An advanced session, for drivers that have already completed the hour-long course, can be purchased for $425 and includes an extra 30-45 minutes of instruction that includes a water crossing as well as driving through mud and ruts.

Land Rover Teen Driver Experience Teens get to experience a number of off-road conditions that they wouldn't get a chance to as part of regular driver's ed classes.Photo courtesy of Land Rover

In addition to the teen off-roading experience, Land Rover will be offering family bundles that allow the entire family to join in the off-roading experience.

Drivers must be at least 14 years old and have a minimum height of 4'8". No previous driving experience is necessary. A parent or guardian must be present in order for a teen to participate.

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Ford just announced specs for the new hardcore off-roader.

Ford

After years of speculation over the Bronco's return, Ford finally pushed the revived SUV to market last year. The rumor mill immediately kicked back into action with speculation of a higher-powered Raptor version of the Bronco to match Ford's F-150 Raptor here in the U.S. We've seen teases and a short film on the SUV, but today, The Blue Oval announced specs for what will surely be a highly desirable new vehicle in 2022 and beyond.

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor The Bronco Raptor gets upgraded cooling and engine tuning to handle high-temperature operation.Ford

The Bronco Raptor gets an exclusive twin-turbo 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 that makes 400 horsepower, which is a big improvement over the standard SUV's V6 that makes an already healthy 330 horsepower. Four-wheel drive and a ten-speed automatic gearbox are standard. Ford says the Raptor also comes with a new towing mode that allows a max tow rating of 4,500 pounds - a 1,000-pound improvement over the base Bronco. Trail Control, trail Turn Assist, and Trail One-Pedal driving are also present here.

The Raptor gets seven of the standard Bronco's G.O.A.T. (Goes Over Any Type of Terrain) driving modes, including a new Baja Mode that works with the engine's turbo system to reduce lag and improve performance during high-speed runs in desert temperatures. An active exhaust allows four selectable sound modes, including normal, sport, quiet, and Baja, and the Raptor's intercooler helps keep operating temperatures at reasonable levels when running in hot weather.

Using the Bronco's modular design, Ford gave the Raptor unique front and rear quarter panels, fender flares, and door appliqués. The new body components add 9.8 inches to the Raptor's width, and removable running boards help improve rock crawling abilities. Model-exclusive amber LED running lights accent the Raptor's front end, and Raptor logos set the hardcore model apart from its "lesser" counterpart.

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor Amber LEDs and special badging designate the much-upgraded Raptor model.Ford

Inside, the Bronco Raptor gets a 12-inch digital gauge cluster with configurable view for vehicle performance and other information. Black marine-grade vinyl seats and rubberized flooring are standard. Orange accents on the dash vents, door netting, and steering wheel help break up the all-black interior, and Ford offers a synthetic suede upholstery upgrade for buyers wanting a little more comfort with their capable off-roader. A 12-inch infotainment touchscreen and 360-degree camera system are also standard.

Bronco Raptor hopefuls can start placing orders in March, but be aware that there will be a wait involved for everyone. Ford says that the majority of 2022 Bronco Raptors will go to existing reservation holders based on their reservation timestamp. It's worth noting that many 2021 Bronco buyers are still waiting for the SUVs, which are being converted into 2022 orders, so the wait time for the Raptor could be severe for anyone without a standing reservation.

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Off-road performance truck

Shelby American announces new Ford F-150 Raptor

Shelby just announced the new truck, which has a starting price of more than $124,000.

Shelby American

The third-generation Ford F-150 Raptor is a true off-road menace, with a strong turbocharged V6, beefy tires and shocks, and a luxury-level interior. Most people would consider the truck overkill for all but the hardest-core off-road enthusiasts, but the wizards at Shelby American have other ideas. As it has done with Ford vehicles for years, Shelby gave the new Raptor a performance makeover, and the finished product is quite impressive.

Shelby F-150 Raptor There's no mistaking a Shelby-tuned Raptor. Shelby American

The F-150 Raptor is already a capable beast, but Shelby turns things up a few notches. Performance upgrades include a performance intake and high-flow filter, an aluminum intercooler, a tune that pushes power to more than 525 ponies and 610 pound-feet of torque, a Shelby exhaust, and a BDS lift kit. The Shelby Raptor rides on 18-inch wheels with 37-inch BFG KM3 Mud Terrain tires.

If you’re thinking Shelby slaps a few go-fast parts on the Raptor and calls it good, think again. The truck’s interior features embroidered custom leather upholstery and exclusive floor mats. A unique serial number plate is mounted in the dash. Shelby also fits billet racing pedals, carbon fiber accents, and deep tinted windows.

Outside, the Raptor gest several touches to let everyone know it’s not a standard Ford. A special Shelby hood with intake and extraction vents is standard, along with power side steps with rock sliders. A bevy of Shelby logos and badging grace the truck’s body, and both bumpers have been replaced with steel units to accommodate light bars and additional tow points.

Shelby F-150 Raptor Shelby fits performance parts and gives the truck a tune.Shelby American

If you’re hoping to be one of the insane few to own a Shelby Raptor, get your wallet ready. The truck’s base price starts at $124,820, which includes the MSRP of the truck itself. That said, it’s unclear how extreme demand and supply chain issues will impact Shelby’s ability to get new trucks to modify.

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