Some days, it pays to be a chick who digs cars. And when I attended a car event last fall, I discovered that I’m also a chick who digs offroading.
Now, when you think offroading, I bet you think of souped up monster-type trucks. Big tires, gruff guys, and lots of mud. Yep. That certainly holds true.
Or maybe you think of the outdoorsy hipster that drives a Jeep. Doors come off in the summer and it’s a total chick magnet.
But what about people who enjoy luxury and offroading? Is that even a viable combination? Just ask Peggy Turner, Vice President of Lexus Customer Services who I happened to be sitting next to.
I actually met Peggy last December in Palm Springs when I was invited by Lexus to put the pedal to the metal at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway in the F and F Sport sedans. It wasn’t hard to believe that Lexus was a contender on the track and considering I scared the dickens out of myself proving it, I was sold.
But Lexus as a fully capable Luxury Utility Vehicle that could really handle offroading? That was something that had me, as a new fan of offroading, dying to find out.
Lexus hosted its second women-focused driving event last week in Bend, Oregon at the Brasada Ranch. The area, also known as the high desert, provided a stunning backdrop for a scenic drive through central Oregon for me and my driving partner, Rene Syler.
The driving was comfortable, the handling was sporty. It was exactly what I expect from Lexus.
I wasn’t surprised by the 12.3-inch wide-screen multimedia display or the power of a 3.5-liter V6 and eight-speed automatic transmission. I wasn’t surprised by the luxurious Rioja Red leather seating 10-way power-adjustable driver’s and 8-way front passenger’s seats. I just got in and drove.
What I was surprised at was learning all about the intensive offroading technology that most Lexus owners probably never take advantage of, let alone know about.
Listening to someone tell us all about it made us all say, Wow, that’s cool. Hmm, didn’t know that. But we didn’t really get it until we went offroad.
Oregon was a beautiful backdrop for onroading but it was fiercer for offroading. A path on site at the Brasada Ranch was carved out to accommodate the vehicles. In fact, the offroading team spent much of the day before working through the slippery, rocky, dusty terrain to provide the best course.
With our offroading instructor in the passenger’s seat, Rene and I, along with Jill Ciminillo, took turns behind the wheel and dominating the course.
Well, most of us dominated. After a little hand holding.
It’s hard to trust in technology but I “trusted in the Lexus” and my instructor as he showed me the benefits of things like Downhill Assist Control (DAC), an on-the-fly feature that engages a braking system that reminded me of anti-lock brakes on steroids. With rapid pulsing and a downshift into a lower gear, the engine braking and DAC allowed me to peer over the edge of a ravine, take my foot off the break, and trust in the Lexus.
Driving up a steep hill was another chance to take advantage of a cool Lexus feature, the Hill-start Assist which is a a few second leeway when you take your foot off the brake on a hill. Typically, it will hold the vehicle for a good five seconds giving you time to accelerate. We actually couldn’t find a time limit on this Lexus feature, something our instructor said was the best he’d ever seen.
As with the first half of the day, we stopped and took photos. Scenic pictures of the view. Scenic pictures of Fadra getting the wheels completely off the ground on the course. And team photos showing how badass we felt (whether or not we were would totally have been our instructor’s call).
We topped off the adventure with an evening of fun and relaxation. We traded stories but mainly we just enjoyed good conversation in the company of other chicks who dig cars.
Watch the full adventure right HERE!
And see my Facebook page for more photos from #TheLexusAdventure!
Lexus provided me with travel and accommodations for this trip. All opinions are my own.