As anyone who has ended up flummoxed when a left-hand down input on the steering wheel has resulted in the trailer heading in the opposite direction will attest, those trajectory lines can be a benefit.
Advanced Tow Assist goes a step further, incorporating semi-autonomous driving technology. Essentially, it allows the driver to concentrate on ‘steering’ the trailer, while letting the car to guide itself in whatever direction it determines is necessary.
So how does it work in practice? We had a go at parking a 22-foot, single-axle Airstream trailer in a Los Angeles lot designed to recreate an awkward parking space around a curve.
The Advanced Tow Assist function has been added to the rotary Terrain Response 2 dial on the centre console that selects the driving mode. Pushing the dial down causes it to pop up, and when you pulling it up it locks into place and engages Tow Assist.
Engaging reverse gear brings up the split-screen reversing camera display, and pressing the Tow Assist icon on the touchscreen brings up a display on which the car’s trajectory lines have disappeared, leaving only the trailer’s path. This is all the information the driver requires.
Now the Terrain Response dial is used to guide the trailer. You still need to control the speed using the pedals (the slower you reverse, the more time you give yourself) but the Discovery steers of its own accord, calculating the angle of reverse steering input that’s required.
To begin with it feels counterintuitive to control the vehicle using a rotary dial, particularly when the steering wheel is whipping left and right of its own accord. I found myself paying scant attention to my physical surroundings as I focused on the reversing camera - probably not a sensible state of affairs when you’re reversing an awkward long load into a tight space.
Nevertheless, as I got comfortable with the system it made reversing much simpler, particularly when I learned to appreciate how the slightest of adjustments on the Terrain Response dial make quite a significant difference to the trailer’s angle of attack.