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Naturally we're flattered that our friends at Ford are planning to mimic Land Rover's award-winning Terrain Response™ system for their upcoming 2011 Ford Explorer, writes Andrew Polsinelli, General Manager of Product Planning, Land Rover North America.

You may have seen a new video that's making the rounds on YouTube where Todd Hoevener, New Explorer Vehicle Dynamics Manager, is extolling the virtues of the Explorer's new Terrain Management System.

We would expect the Explorer's system will work well; after all, Todd's boss, Jim Holland, the Chief Engineer, Explorer Platform Program, spent three years working at Land Rover in the UK as Chief engineer for Range Rover.

But while appearing to be similar in concept - it'll give drivers the choice of four settings (normal, mud, snow and sand) to custom-tune the engine and drivetrain to provide maximise traction - it won't have the six years of sophistication and refinements of Land Rover's Terrain Response® system.

The Terrain Response fitted to our latest 2010 LR4s, Range Rover Sports and Range Rovers comes with no fewer than five different choices of settings - General for everyday on-road driving; Grass/Gravel/Snow; Mud/Ruts; Sand; and Rock Crawl.

We've even added a sixth setting for our latest Range Rover Sport Supercharged - Dynamic Program - which gives the vehicle a more engaging, more driver-focused character.

Terrain Response® also works with full air suspension and low-range gearing that comes standard with LR4, Sport and Range Rover - two key features the new Explorer is not expected to offer.

While we pioneered Terrain Response® in the LR3 back in 2004 - it's now standard on all Land Rovers sold in the US - we like to say that more than 60 years of Land Rover off-road expertise have gone into its development.

And we're continuously fine-tuning and enhancing this remarkable system.

Witness the changes we made to the Sand Launch mode for the 10MY vehicles. This enables them to "get up on the plane" easier and faster. It also features an enhanced launch control that gives the engine more "gas" when it senses the driver isn’t using enough throttle to ensure the vehicle punches itself up on top of the sand.

Originally developed for the LR2, we've also added Gradient Release control to all 10MY products. Now when a driver crests a hill and releases the brakes so that the standard Hill Descent control can kick in, this new system releases the brakes more slowly and progressively, making the transition into Hill Descent feel seamless.

In closing, we wish our friends the best of luck with their new vehicle.



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