The Nissan X-Trail price is a fantastic value proposition for drivers that like a touch of adventure at the weekends. The X-Trail is packed with technology including a handy hill descent control system that off roading enthusiasts will love. However, many drivers don’t know how to use their hill descent control system. In this article, we will explain what a hill descent control system is and how it works.
What is a Hill Descent Control (HDC) System?
Going downhill over rougher terrain has always been a challenge for automotive engineers. When you need more control and traction, a low range gear is essential. However, not every off road vehicle has a low range gearing system, and this presents a number of challenges. How can you safely navigate a treacherously steep slope if you don’t have a low gearing option? The rise of the soft roader and the new crossover style of light off roading vehicles that don’t have low range gearing has prompted engineers to look for a solution, and HDC is their answer.
How Does HDC Work?
The HDC system used the cruise control system on the car to retard the downward progress on a slope. This helps the off roading driver to travel at a slower and safer speed without resorting to overusing the brakes. Periodic braking may still be required, but premature brake wear can be avoided by not constantly riding the brake pedal. The HDC system is activated via a button in the cabin, and the descent speed can then be controlled by moving the cruise control tabs up and down.
What Does HDC Feel Like?
The HDC system can take a little getting used to, and it can be hard to not touch the brake as you descend a steep slope. Until you become accustomed to how the system works, it will feel counterintuitive for most drivers. However, the HDC only has a maximum speed of a few km/h, and this is controlled with gear selection and the odd brake pulse. This is mostly a feet off the pedals operation, but the steering works well at these lower speeds, and at any time you can decide to override the HDC by touching the throttle or brake pedal. There are even HDC systems available that can work in a reverse gear.
Is HDC Established Technology?
Yes, the HDC system was originally developed by Land Rover back in the 90’s for use on their light Freelander off road vehicle. This original incarnation was based on an anti-lock braking system rather than the cruise control, but the principle was similar. Today, HDC systems are used on serious 4×4 vehicles and soft roaders alike. However, it’s essential to learn how to use the HDC correctly, this technology is very helpful, but competent driver engagement is still essential to use it successfully.