2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HSE TD6 Long-Term Update 1

#hashtags: #Range Rover #Series II #Rover #Mum #Valiant #Landie

A Range Rover that parks itself? Not quite. Park assist can’t deal with every scenario. Nice to know we drivers aren’t totally redundant. Yet.

I did my driving test in a Series II Land Rover. Beam axles, leaf springs, drum brakes, canvas roof, and no synchro on first or second. I could have used Mum’s automatic Valiant wagon, but Dad insisted on the Landie. “Pass your test in that,” he said, “and you can drive anything.” He was right, of course.

The first part of the driving test involved parallel parking your car between two markers set 6 feet farther apart than its overall length. You were allowed no more than three moves—reverse, forward, reverse—and the car had to finish no more than 12 inches from the curb. Fail this, and you didn’t even get out on the road.

With no power steering and a heavily over-sprung, hair-trigger clutch, parallel parking that old Land Rover was, for a 16-year-old neophyte driver, a bit like running an 8-minute lap at the Nürburgring: heart in mouth stuff. I could never have imagined that four decades later, I’d park a Land Rover by doing little more than pressing a button.

One of the upgrades for the 2017 model year Range Rover Sport is a parking assist feature. Activate parallel or perpendicular parking modes then drive at less than 18 mph along a row of parked cars—keeping between 2 and 5 feet away—until the sensors detect a space. A message on the display screen tells you to drive forward then stop, remove your hands from the wheel, and select reverse. After that it’s a matter of working the throttle and the brake as the steering wheel whirls like a dervish in front of you.

Parking assist works best in parallel parking situations. Curiously, it will get the Range Rover into a space just 6 feet longer than its overall length in three moves—nailing my parking test bogey and consistently placing the car within 4 inches of the curb—but in park exit mode, it needs four moves to get it out again.

Perpendicular parking—reversing into a space at 90 degrees to the curb—is trickier because there’s more data to deal with. I parked next to a truck with a wide load box and narrow cab, and the Rangie angled across the space as the sensors tried to keep a constant distance between the two vehicles. The system also struggles to sense pillars in parking structures.

More on our long-term Range Rover Sport HSE TD6 here:

Arrival