When it comes to testing cars, we’ve all seen the standard safety tests and off-road trails that manufacturers plan out. Land Rover decided to do something different to show just how capable its cars are, and the testing is pretty incredible. The team at Land Rover conquered more extensive rock climbing than most people will ever do as they climbed one of the steepest trails — Tianmen Mountain, in what the team affectionately named the Dragon Challenge.
The Tianmen Mountain road
The Tianmen Mountain, also known as the Stairway to Heaven’s Door, is well known for its long hiking trail and twisty pathway. The mount is located in China’s Hunan province just south of Zhangjiajie city. The road itself features a stretch called The 99 Bends, and a simple glance at pictures of the scenic drive explains why. This path is full of sharp and hairpin turns as the journey winds you up the mountain.
A scenic highway
The drive up The 99 Bends scenic roadway is stunning and incredibly scenic. Many drivers might be afraid of the journey, but a lot of cars are capable of making the trip — as long as they can handle the sharp turns. You can see videos of the Land Rover team making the curvy adventure up the mountain, but that was just the iconic part of the journey, not the challenging part.
The world’s most daunting stairs
The challenge put the Land Rover Sport PHEV to the test in a way that no other car manufacturer has done before. Up a 45-degree incline, the PHEV climbed 999 stairs with expert precision. The driver, Ho-Pin Tung, shared his experience in comparison to other challenges he has faced,
“I’ve experienced Formula E, Formula 1, and won at the 24 Hours of Le Mans but this was, without doubt, one of the most demanding driving challenges I’ve ever faced. The Range Rover Sport PHEV performed brilliantly as it inspired real confidence on the mountain road and climbed the stairs up to Heaven’s Gate effortlessly.”
It is truly hard to argue about a vehicle’s capabilities after dominating such an impressive feat. It is clear that the team at Land Rover is doing something write, and the PHEV’s ability to conquer such an incline for so long speaks not only for the brand and its abilities but also for how far plug-in hybrids and electric motors have advanced in such a seemingly short amount of time.
While the Dragon Challenge won’t become a new standard for testing how capable a car is for going off-roading or rock climbing, it was still a unique display of ability. The Land Rover Sport PHEV is a force to be reckoned with, and from the video we are left feeling anything but disappointed.