Emirates Driving Institute (EDI) in the UAE announced the launch of its “Platinum Driving Course” a few months ago, where well-heeled customers can learn how to drive on a fleet of premium cars instead of the usual Nissan Sunnys. And we got the chance to go back to school to try it out.
My wife got her manual licence more than two years ago, paying extra for night classes daily after work, and got her licence in the first try. She only drove our manual FJ Cruiser for a month before she became busy with our two back-to-back newborns. With her office conveniently providing transport, there wasn’t much need for her to drive. So when EDI contacted us to cover their premium driving course, I asked for an actual behind-the-wheel experience for her, that too in a Range Rover.
EDI’s Platinum driving course for actual newbie learners costs Dhs 30,000, and the schedule is customised to suit your needs, to the point where everything from registration and eye-tests to tests and license costs are included, and almost everything is done at your home or office, including the final driving test. A chauffeur service provided for any lectures or procedures that require a visit to EDI. It covers unlimited lessons and tests until you get your licence.
A relationship manager is assigned to you. And the choice of cars includes a Range Rover, a Range Rover Sport, a Mercedes-Benz G500, a Chevrolet Camaro and a Nissan Patrol. The idea is that if you have money, it doesn’t make sense to learn driving in a Sunny and then jump straight into a large 400 hp vehicle.
However, while the full package for 40 classes or more (20+ hours of lessons) costs Dhs 30,000 (or Dhs 25,000 with a summer discount), it seems there are several cheaper options available for 30 classes (15 hours), 20 classes (10 hours), etc. What we got was the “refresher” course for 2 hours, which is apparently very popular. It costs Dhs 3,000 (or Dhs 2,500 with a summer discount). More details of the course and fee structure can be seen by visiting www.edi.ae or by calling +971-4-2631100.
The instructor came over to our parking lot in the liveried Range Rover to pick up his student, and after some brief paperwork completed in the car itself and a quick overview of the car’s controls, off they went. The car had no mods other than a brake pedal for the instructor and a dash-cam setup.
We followed the Range Rover over the two hours to spy on how the lessons were going. Most of the time was spent on city streets spanning from Bur Dubai to Jumeirah to familiarise the driver with the size of the car, correct lines to take on turns and using modern features such as parking sensors and the rear camera to help park the car, but including the use of mirrors as well. It’s a good thing because we’ve met drivers who are still not comfortable with the entire concept of rear cameras.
My wife was happy with the instructor’s lessons, and was glad to finally get behind the wheel again, with not a hint of anxiety. She didn’t really care what car she was driving.
At first glance, this Platinum course may seem overpriced, elitist and what not, but there is demand in a market such as Dubai, and with the extra services included, it makes sense to have a “first-class” offering for drivers who know they’ll never touch a Nissan Sunny after they get their licence.