Ever since Land Rover announced the all-new Discovery in November, we couldn’t wait to drive it. So when they offered us a chance to drive it while in Los Angeles for the Auto Show we jumped at the chance.
Being the Discovery, with it’s ‘Go anywhere’ spirit, we expected a quick drive around the Nevada Desert, or maybe along Venice Beach, but after a surprisingly short transfer from the hotel, we disembarked from our bus into a car park in Downtown LA.
Measuring 200 metres square, the car park, or “parking lot” as Americans call it, was dressed as a camp site, and the Discovery was hooked up to an air stream caravan. Rather than testing any of the on or off-road capabilities of the car, we’d be testing out the updated Tow Assist Mode.
What is Tow Assist? It’s semi-autonomous technology that makes the task of towing a trailer or horsebox as safe and simple as possible.
When you first hook up your trailer/caravan/boat/horsebox you tell the car how long it is, how many axles it has, and the pivot point. Tow Assist has the ability to save more than one type of trailer in your car’s system, allowing you to quickly switch between them.
Then, when you begin to reverse and activate Tow Assist, trajectory lines are displayed on the 10-inch InControl screen, superimposed over the reversing camera’s image. These lines show you where the trailer is heading, exactly like a regular car’s reversing camera. Now, rather than the steering wheel controlling the car, the rotary Terrain Response dial takes over steering.
This makes reversing incredibly easy - I’ve never reversed a trailer before and was able to do it first time without snaking all over the place. It cancels out the need to reverse the steering input, and will warn you before you get into a jack knife situation.
This is all very smart, especially as these situations typically have an audience - there’s nothing more embarrassing than repeatedly trying (and failing) to park with people watching. Although, one downside is that if you then need to reverse a friend’s car/trailer which doesn’t have the system you probably won’t have a clue what you’re doing.
We really enjoyed our brief time with the new Discovery, and we can’t wait to spend some more time with it.
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