Repeat after me, “full-size spare wheel and tow bar”; in addition to being my mantra, this is a concept which seems to be almost lost on Land Rover when it comes to their otherwise delicious Discovery Sport model. The complexities of what is and (mostly) is not possible are mind-boggling and seem to get more confusing with each discussion.
To save new readers the effort of catching up, the story so far following parts I and II of what is now turning into some sort of crusade, appears to be as follows. Just to set the scene, there are two engine derivatives, a 150PS and a 180PS, which come in four trim levels: SE, SE Tech, HSE and HSE Luxury.
- On 150PS models, none of which have 5+2 seating, you can order a full size spare wheel which goes in the boot.
- On 180PS models, all of which have 5+2 seating, there is a £2000 optional Heavy Duty Towing Kit, which includes a full-size spare. This deletes the 5+2 seating but:
- it is not available on any car with manual transmission
- it is not available on SE or SE Tech trim levels, only on HSE or HSE Luxury.
- Both models can be ordered with a skinny (a.k.a. space saver) spare wheel which goes underneath the boot, externally, but:
- it must be ordered on the original car (cannot be retro-fitted ‘cos they now mount an incompatible exhaust system)
- disallows the factory fitted detachable tow bar (both utilize the same space).
Clear? No, of course it isn’t. Neither it seems, is it clear to Land Rover dealers, some of whom tend to supply differing sets of variably incorrect information.
I phoned a friend and found what seemed to be a handy-dandy email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s go straight to the horses mouth – that’ll be the horse in the horsebox that apparently only 2 out of 8 180PS models can be equipped to tow. I explained all the variably wrong information I’d received and that I really wanted a full-size spare and tow bar on a 180PS SE Tech. Since all the pieces clearly exist, why is that so difficult?
After a few days I received a reply from a chap saying that he would be handling my query.
After another week of silence I received another email from my helper:
On reading your emails, I have been in contact with a number of retailers to find out what options are available for you.
Now let me see:
- I talk to Land Rover dealers who appear confused, though not quite as confused or as irrational as the Land Rover Discovery Sport brochure options, so
- I contact Land Rover Jaguar directly in the hope that they can actually offer more sensible/flexible options.
- They, in turn, contact Land Rover dealers.
It sounds terribly cyclic, a sort of infinite loop; I’m still unsure as to whether this is reduced-section/skinny cyclic or full-size cyclic but it certainly seems cyclic. It’s like another manifestation of the irrational: surely to goodness, it should be the dealers contacting Land Rover about possibilities/flexibilities? Just who is in charge?
A multiple choice question: is it:
- putting the cart before the horse?
- putting the caravan before the tow car?
- the tail wagging the dog?
- all of the above?
My man wanted me to phone him but, though I can’t do it at the moment, I’m keen to talk just because it should be fun.
During the night, I had another thought. The difference between a 150PS and a 180PS is just an engine management chip; it isn’t a completely different engine. How difficult could/should it be to put a different engine management chip in what was a 150PS car with a full-sized spare inside the boot?
I’m on tenterhooks.