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Testing the new Land Rover Discovery's Advanced Trailer Assist

Our first taste of the new Discovery behind the wheel comes as we try new trailer parking tech

The new Land Rover Discovery doesn’t arrive in showrooms until Spring next year, but Auto Express got the chance for a first go behind the wheel in a demonstration of the clever new Advanced Tow Assist tech that will be available as an option across the range.

We’ll have to wait another few months before getting behind the wheel for a full test drive, but this session gave us the chance to sample some of the semi-autonomous tech on board, and to get an idea of just how comfortable life will be in the driving seat of the new Discovery.

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Land Rover says that the vast majority of Discoveries will tow at some stage in their lives, and Advanced Tow Assist takes some of the pain out of reversing a caravan or trailer, with a dose of added safety to prevent ‘snaking’, too.

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You sit high in the new model, with excellent visibility all around and the added feel-good factor of an easy to use and high-quality interior. And once you’ve calibrated the Advanced Tow Assist system to your trailer (you enter some dimensions into the touchscreen, attach a sticker to your trailer and let the car’s computers work out the rest), the tech does most of the hard work for you.

As anyone who’s had to reverse a car with a trailer attached will tell you, it’s a counter intuitive process that will see the trailer heading in the opposite direction to that which you’re telling the car to go.

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Nothing changes on that score, but the new system leaves you to guide the trailer into a space on the 10-inch touchscreen using the rotary Terrain Response 2 controller that sits just behind the gear selector, while following purple guide lines on the screen, and the car does the hard thinking and controls the steering for you.

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Having pulled the car and 22-foot long Airstream trailer forward, we selected reverse on the rotary gear selector, hit the Advanced Tow Assist icon on the touchscreen, then aimed the guide lines on the screen in the direction we wanted the trailer to go. While we controlled the accelerator and brake to keep the car at walking pace, and tweaked the guide lines using the rotary controller, the steering wheel whirled around in front of us to ensure the trailer goes exactly where you want it.

Sure enough, adjusting the rotary controller all the time as we went, the car guided the trailer perfectly into position, while a further tweak then straightened the car out, too.

It’s all very clever, stress-free and safe and a good example of the clever thinking that has gone into the new Discovery that should make it a very easy car to live with day-to-day.

Would you use this new tech? Leave us a comment below!

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