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Land Rover’s new Terrain Response system endows even the novice driver with the off-road ability of a seasoned professional, the car maker has claimed.

The patented smart electronic system goes into production in the new Discovery 3, which made its world debut at the British Motor Show this week.

Terrain Response links a range of the car’s electronic systems, allowing driveability and traction to be tailored to the ground conditions. All the driver has to do is select one of five settings from a rotary switch.

These cover normal driving, slippery conditions (for grass, gravel and snow), and three off-road settings: mud and deep ruts, sand and ‘rock crawl’.

The Discovery is equipped with anti-lock braking, electronic brake force distribution, traction control and Land Rover’s Hill Descent Control, as well as air suspension and a drive-by-wire throttle.

Terrain Response links these systems to control wheelspin, throttle response and ride height, and firmness via the air suspension to suit the conditions.

Using the rock crawl setting for driving over boulders, for example, throttle response is adjusted so that power can be applied only gradually. The system will also automatically lock the centre and rear differentials as necessary.

‘It’s like having an expert alongside you to help you get the best out of the vehicle whatever the conditions,’ said Land Rover managing director Matthew Taylor.

‘It takes all decisions away from the driver,’ said Land Rover brand manager Andy Griffiths. ‘The Discovery is better than any other Land Rover off-road. It will pull away from anything.’ In recent tests the vehicle bettered Defenders, previously the off-road benchmark, with experienced off-road drivers at the controls.

Terrain Response is an option on the base model Discovery 3 and standard on the rest of the range. It will gradually be extended to Land Rover’s other models.

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