What do you do with the keyfob for your luxury SUV when you go biking for the day? That’s a question not many people will ask — although if you do need to figure out the problem, there are not many solutions. In most of my previous tests, you normally need to find a zippered pocket, and if the keyfob is larger than most, it gets annoying and a bit heavy.
The 2017 Land Rover Discovery offers a solution. An Activity Key helps you stay mobile and spend time outside, even if you are going to go kayaking or biking. It’s a wristband that looks a bit like a Fitbit, but is only designed to keep the car secure.
It works in an unusual way, too.
When you need to lock the car, you leave the normal keyfob in the car and wear the Activity Key. To lock the car, you hold the wristband close to the letter D in the back of the vehicle until you see the lights flash. This disables the normal keyfob (if someone breaks into the car, the keyfob will be useless). When you return back to the car, you place the wristband over the letter D again and wait for the lights — the car is now unlocked.
There’s a small antenna behind the letter that is only activated after you shut the door of the car and leave the keyfob inside. It’s a bit ingenious if you really need some peace of mind.
I tested the feature when I biked to Tiburon in California last week. I left the car at a parking lot. When I was ready to go and took my bike out, I put the wristband on. Land Rover gives you about 30 seconds to lock the car when you are ready to go, which is another safety precaution. When I was done riding, it was easy to unlock the car again — no keyfob needed.
(By the way, another unique feature on the Discovery is the ability to fold the seats up and down using an app. I wasn’t able to test that because the app wasn’t configured for this specific vehicle, and that’s something only the actual owner would be able to set up.)
I did want the key to do a little more. It would be cool if the key could track my steps during any outing or even sync to the car to control other features (like the lights). That said, I still appreciated the fact that the key let me stay active, go biking all evening, and then unlock the car without a lot of hassle or issues. I’ve broken keyfobs before when I’ve driven an ATV, hitting my pants leg up against a tree. And I’ve had the battery die on a keyfob before.
The Discovery starts at $49,990, which is not outlandish for a luxury SUV. Being able to lock it easily in a way that anyone would be hard-pressed to find without watching a YouTube video beforehand makes the vehicle secure enough to keep my mind on the bike trail.