Going Spare II

My on-going Land Rover “spare wheel and tow bar” saga has generated a little more information.

The apparent story so far:

  1. you can have the holy grail of a full-size spare on a 150PS model (apparently because the 150PS does not have 5+2 seating) – but I wanted a 180PS model;
  2. on the 180PS models, you can buy the £2000 optional Heavy Duty Towing Kit, including a full-size spare, deleting the 5+2 seating, if:
    1. you pick an automatic transmission, not a manual, and
    2. you choose HSE trim level or above (i.e it’s not available on an SE or an SE Tech).

I wanted a 180PS for towing grunt in a lower trim level than HSE (SE Tech). I’m warming to modern automatics so that would be fine but I still can’t get my desired combination. Why can’t they drop a 180PS engine in a 150PS body style, which would give room for a full-size spare, then I’d be happy? This is what I wanted to hear from Land Rover.

In part 1, I left the sales-bod at dealer #3 trying to contact Land Rover themselves concerning the complexities of spare wheels and tow bars on Discovery Sport models to see if I could get what I wanted.

Having heard nothing since last Thursday, I rattled the cage of the sales-bod at dealer #3 who told me he’d heard nothing but shortly after, magically forwarded to me a response from Land Rover, consisting of a bulletin concerning Reduced Section Spare Wheel and Tow Bar Compatibility. I began reading with interest:

The Reduced Section Spare Wheel (029NZ) is available as a standalone option across all derivatives, but is not compatible with the line-fit Detachable Tow Bar option (028BL). This is because the detachable mechanism is located in the same space as the spare wheel.

Brilliant! So Land Rover, with reputations both as a maker of premier off-roaders and of premier tow cars, actually has managed to design a car that can, indeed, take only a skinny spare wheel OR their detachable tow bar but not both. Staggering!

This explains where my sales-bod at dealer #2 had formed the idea that you couldn’t have any tow bar with a skinny spare.

In fact, however, the Land Duffer Rover bulletin goes on to say:

To overcome this conflict, a fixed accessory tow bar has been developed which is compatible with the reduced section spare wheel (VPLCT0142).

A conflict of their own making, I might point out. Still, that’s something, I suppose: you can put a fixed tow bar on and retain a skinny spare wheel.

For the benefit of those who’ve never tried it, loading an SUV’s luggage space when there’s a fixed tow bar in place frequently results in carped and bruised shins. It’s an unappealing solution.

Better was to come. The bulletin goes on to say:

The reduced section spare wheel is not available to retro fit as an accessory because the layout of the exhaust configuration is different for cars with a line fit spare wheel.

WHAT?! What’s it actually saying? I had to read it again, such was my disbelief.

No, it was no better second time around. What it’s saying is that you have to order your car with the skinny spare option, whereupon they use an exhaust configuration that avoids the spare wheel space but, if you don’t order the spare, they put on a different exhaust configuration that gets in the way of the spare wheel space and you’re now completely stuffed should you subsequently decide you’d like a spare wheel. What utter nonsense! A universally useful exhaust system, one that’ll allow a skinny spare, exists but they’re going to fit an alternative unless you order the spare up front. It’s crap.

Looking into the future a little, this means that Land Duffer Rover Disco Sports need two alternative replacement exhaust systems. Furthermore, if you’re looking for one second hand, you need to find out if a model you are considering is suitable to your needs – the original buyer may have not wanted a spare but you may. Tough, it no longer fits. Crazy!

Mr. Sales-bod at dealer #3 signed off by saying, “I hope this helps”.

I replied:

Well, no, not really. There’s no mention of the full-sized spare, which is what I really want, at all, just the skinny. For this, there’s a little more information/explanation but it really just re-iterates the website with no further flexibility on options. Thus, it gets me no further.

These design decisions have left me wondering just how many other crazy design issues might be on board that I still don’t know about. I can feel myself kicking Land Duffer into touch.

My frustrated emotions are tempting me to say that it’s no wonder the British car industry died the death if this is how they went about designing cars. But that’s probably just frustration talking.

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