The New Discovery showcases Land Rover’s Advanced Tow Assist technology in LA. Photo by Land Rover.
One of the things I’m thankful for this weekend is putting my camp trailer in storage before the weather got too yucky. Another is knowing how to back up a trailer since I had to thread my camper through a bunch of early-birds at the storage facility.
Even if you’re accustomed to the awkward opposite steering inputs required to reverse a trailer, the Advanced Tow Assist feature that will be available on the 2017 Land Rover Discovery simplifies the task. I got a demo at the recent LA Auto Show, where the 2017 Discovery made its debut and came away wanting the feature the next time I tow a trailer.
The system is activated via the vehicle’s in-dash touchscreen. Drivers have to indicate the type of trailer they’re towing as well the dimensions, then pull forward to align the trailer and calibrate the system.
While the previous Land Rover Tow Assist feature simply showed on the in-dash screen which way the wheel needs to be turned to steer the trailer, Advanced Tow Assist goes a step further by steering the trailer using the pop-up knob for the Terrain Response control in the center console. After the Terrain Response knob is pulled upward an indicator lights up and control of the steering wheel is transferred to the knob, while the driver controls the speed of the vehicle via the accelerator and brake pedal.
After the Terrain Response knob is pulled upward an indicator lights up and control of the steering wheel is transferred to the knob. Photo by Doug Newcomb.
Advanced Tow Assist uses a set of purple lines on the in-dash screen to show the direction the trailer will travel based on steering inputs, and displays green lines when the vehicle and the trailer are in perfect alignment. This made backing up a large horse trailer into a narrow area bordered by a wood fence and framed by a set of wood beams simple and stress-free.
Advanced Tow Assist displays green lines on the in-dash screen when the vehicle and the trailer are in perfect alignment. Photo by Doug Newcomb.
Land Rover’s Advanced Tow Assist isn’t the first feature of this type. Ford introduced a Pro Trailer Backup Assist option on its latest F-150 pickup that similarly uses an in-dash display and a rotary knob and automatically adjusts vehicle speed based on road conditions.
Advanced Tow Assist will be available as a $400 option on the 2017 Discovery, which will be available next year. But the feature requires adding several other options, including the $650 tow hitch, the $275 360-degree camera system and the $1,500 Capability Package that includes the Terrain Response 2 system and advanced air suspension.
If you plan to regularly tow a trailer with the 2017 Land Rover Discovery, the Advanced Tow Assist not only makes the task easier, it could save you from expensive and embarrassing bumps and scrapes.