2020 Ford Explorer vs. 2019 Land Rover Discovery

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Ford Explorer 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 Explorer has standard Post Collision Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Discovery doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Explorer ST/Platinum has standard Reverse Brake Assist that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Discovery doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the Explorer 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, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

Warranty

Ford’s powertrain warranty covers the Explorer 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 almost 18 times as many Ford dealers as there are Land Rover dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Explorer’s warranty.

Reliability

The Explorer has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Discovery doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 47 more problems per 100 vehicles, Land Rover is ranked 32nd, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 75 more problems per 100 vehicles, Land Rover is ranked 30th.

Engine

The Explorer Platinum’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 25 more horsepower (365 vs. 340) and 48 lbs.-ft. more torque (380 vs. 332) than the Discovery’s 3.0 supercharged V6. The Explorer ST’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 60 more horsepower (400 vs. 340) and 83 lbs.-ft. more torque (415 vs. 332) than the Discovery’s 3.0 supercharged V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Explorer gets better fuel mileage than the Discovery:

MPG

Explorer

RWD

2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/28 hwy

AWD

2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

3.0 turbo V6

18 city/24 hwy

ST 3.0 turbo V6

18 city/24 hwy

Discovery

AWD

Td6 3.0 turbo V6 Diesel

21 city/26 hwy

3.0 supercharged V6

16 city/21 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the Explorer Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Discovery doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The Explorer 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.

Transmission

A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Ford Explorer, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Discovery.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Explorer has larger standard tires than the Discovery (255/65R18 vs. 235/65R19).

Having a flat tire is dangerous, inconvenient and expensive. The self-sealing tires available on the Explorer can automatically seal most punctures up to 3/16 of an inch, effectively preventing most flat tires. The Discovery doesn’t offer self-sealing tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Explorer’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 Explorer’s wheelbase is 4.1 inches longer than on the Discovery (119.1 inches vs. 115 inches).

For better maneuverability, the Explorer’s turning circle is 1.2 feet tighter than the Discovery’s (39.2 feet vs. 40.4 feet).

Chassis

The Ford Explorer may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 400 pounds less than the Land Rover Discovery.

The Explorer Hybrid uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Discovery doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Explorer has .7 inches more front headroom, 4 inches more front legroom, 1.4 inches more front hip room, 1.4 inches more front shoulder room, 1.5 inches more rear headroom, 1.4 inches more rear legroom, 3.4 inches more rear hip room, 2.5 inches more rear shoulder room, 1 inch more third row headroom and 7.4 inches more third row shoulder room than the Discovery.

Cargo Capacity

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

Explorer

Discovery

Behind Third Seat

18.2 cubic feet

11.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

47.9 cubic feet

40.2 cubic feet

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

Explorer

Discovery

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

20.8”/49.8”/83.9”

11.8”/44.1”/77.3”

Max Width

59”

55.6”

Min Width

48.1”

39.3”

Height

33.7”

37”

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Explorer. The Discovery doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Ergonomics

The Explorer 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 Explorer’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 Explorer has standard extendable sun visors. The Discovery doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum has a 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 Explorer is available in both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Discovery doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Recommendations

The Ford Explorer outsold the Land Rover Discovery by almost 27 to one during 2018.

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

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