The new Land Rover Discovery: towing for dummies

The 2017 Land Rover Discovery is equipped for any terrain

The days of getting your friend or the groom to stand behind and direct you are long over. Land Rover’s previous models already feature advanced reverse cameras, and you can set the reverse camera to ‘hitch assist’, which shows you exactly where you need to steer in order to align the tow bar with the horsebox.

One-man operation

The new features ensure maximum safety of both you and your precious cargo

Once you’ve positioned the vehicle for hitching, the whole process becomes very straightforward. In the boot of the Land Rover Discovery is control panel, fixed to the left side of the car, close to the opening for easy accessibility. At the touch of a button, you can raise or lower the car’s rear suspension until the tow bar is in the perfect position for hitching up. The emergency brake cable also attaches directly to the vehicle’s park brake, instead of looping around the tow bar. In the event that the tow bar accidentally unhitches, the emergency cable will pull the park brake. The adapter chord (for the lights) connects easily to the car. You can then hitch your box up as normal and load your horse(s).

A convenient feature is the three-minute sequence check, during which time the car has a chance to detect any problems and test the brake and indicator lights. It also allocates time for you to walk behind the vehicle to check the lights.

The real magic

The terrain response rotary dial is used to turn the horsebox, instead of the steering wheel

Once the car is happy with the horsebox, the real fun can begin. You start by putting the car into reverse and raising the ‘terrain response rotary’. The terrain response rotary is located on the centre console. You can raise this button by pushing down on it and pulling up, until an orange ring appears at the bottom. You will then see on your screen a set of yellow lines (the vehicle track) and a set of purple lines (the trailer’s track). As you fiddle with the steering wheel, you’ll see how the lines are manipulated. If the vehicle and the trailer are straight, green lines will appear and both the car and the horsebox will track straight. Red lines will appear when the degree of turn is so great that the car thinks it’s about to jack-knife, and it will then limit the amount of steering you can do. It will signal to you that the trailer is about to jack-knife and that you need to pull the car forward and straight.

With a touch of a button on the touchscreen panel, you can select the terrain response rotary as your steering wheel. Essentially, you will be turning the dial in the exact direction you want to go, instead of turning your steering wheel right to make the horsebox go left and vice versa. The best way to get your head around the system is to envision that you’re driving the trailer. What you tell the rotary to do is what the trailer is going to do. It’s important that you don’t interfere with the steering wheel as you steer the rotary – trust the system. If you try to turn the steering wheel while operating the rotary, the car will stop and ask if you want to switch to manual steering.

The full article appears in the September issue (126) of HQ > Shop now