2019 Ford Flex vs. 2018 Land Rover Discovery

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Ford Flex are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Land Rover Discovery doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Flex inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The Discovery doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

Both the Flex and the Discovery have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available collision warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

Ford’s powertrain warranty covers the Flex 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Land Rover covers the Discovery. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the Discovery ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 18 times as many Ford dealers as there are Land Rover dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Flex’s warranty.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Flex’s reliability 34 points higher than the Discovery.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Land Rover vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 45 more problems per 100 vehicles, Land Rover is ranked 28th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Land Rover vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 16th in reliability. With 52 more problems per 100 vehicles, Land Rover is ranked 30th.

Engine

The Flex Limited’s optional 3.5 turbo V6 produces 25 more horsepower (365 vs. 340) and 18 lbs.-ft. more torque (350 vs. 332) than the Discovery’s 3.0 supercharged V6.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Flex Limited 3.5 EcoBoost is faster than the Land Rover Discovery:

 

Flex

Discovery

Zero to 30 MPH

2.5 sec

2.9 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.5 sec

7.3 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.5 sec

4.9 sec

Quarter Mile

15 sec

15.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

95.5 MPH

93 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Ford Flex uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended on Flex Limited for maximum performance). The Discovery requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Flex has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Discovery doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

The Flex stops shorter than the Discovery:

 

Flex

Discovery

 

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

145 feet

148 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The Flex SEL’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Discovery’s standard 65 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Flex’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Discovery doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Flex’s wheelbase is 2.9 inches longer than on the Discovery (117.9 inches vs. 115 inches).

Chassis

The Ford Flex may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 100 to 300 pounds less than the Land Rover Discovery.

The Flex is 5.7 inches narrower than the Discovery, making the Flex easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

Passenger Space

The Flex has 1.8 inches more front headroom, 3.6 inches more front legroom, 1.5 inches more rear headroom, 6.7 inches more rear legroom, .8 inches more third row headroom and 3.6 inches more third row shoulder room than the Discovery.

Cargo Capacity

The Flex’s cargo area provides more volume than the Discovery.

 

Flex

Discovery

Behind Third Seat

20 cubic feet

11.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

43.2 cubic feet

40.2 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

83.2 cubic feet

78.3 cubic feet

The Flex’s cargo area is larger than the Discovery’s in almost every dimension:

 

Flex

Discovery

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

16.5”/47”/83.3”

11.8”/44.1”/77.3”

Max Width

46”

55.6”

Min Width

40.5”

39.3”

Height

40”

37”

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Flex. The Discovery doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Ergonomics

The Flex offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Discovery doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Flex’s exterior PIN entry system. The Discovery doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its InControl can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Flex has standard extendable sun visors. The Discovery doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Flex (except SE) offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Discovery doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

The Flex is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Discovery doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Flex owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Flex will cost $2270 to $5515 less than the Discovery over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Ford Flex will be $15563 to $30125 less than for the Land Rover Discovery.

Recommendations

The Flex was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 2 of the last 10 years. The Discovery has never been an “All Star.”

The Ford Flex outsold the Land Rover Discovery by over three to one during 2017.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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