Land Rover Discovery Sport Vs. Ford Explorer

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A review of the 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport isn’t complete without a reference to the Ford Explorer.

The two vehicles share an uncanny similarity in looks, right down to the thick C-pillar, rear spoiler, and headlight shape. Their silhouettes are nearly identical. Pricing on the two SUVs isn’t very far apart either: base prices for the Ford range between $31,000 for the base and nearly $53,000 for the Platinum trim, and the Range Rover runs from $34,400 for the base SE trim to just under $46,000 for the HSE LUX.

The Ford has a 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder that makes 280 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is available. The Land Rover has a 240-hp 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder along with a nine-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drive. And get this: it’s an engine built by Ford.

These two vehicles might seem like they’d compete fiercely for sales, but under the skin they are vastly different animals. One is the rig to use if the highway leads to your destination, while the other is the one to use if the highway is just a speed bump to cross on your way to grander adventures.

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2013 Ford Explorer Sport: Two Things That Could Hold It Back

2013 Ford Explorer Sport

The 2013 Ford Explorer Sport answers a question not a lot of people will ask.

Ford changed the new Explorer from a truck-based SUV to a more efficient unibody crossover to reduce weight and increase fuel economy. An optional 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine helps meet that goal and gives the Explorer a gas mileage rating of 20 mpg city, 28 highway, which is pretty good considering the size of the vehicle. Why Ford would go and morph the Explorer back into a gas-guzzling SUV is beyond me.

In theory, the new Explorer Sport makes sense, but there are two important factors I think will keep it from becoming a major success.

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Cars Coming Soon: 2013 Ford Explorer Sport

When I heard that Ford would introduce a new Explorer Sport at the New York Auto Show, I immediately had flashbacks to the Explorer Sport Trac of yore. The Sport Trac was like the mullet of cars: SUV in the front, pickup truck in the back. It was ugly and not really good at being an SUV or a pickup.

Why would Ford bring back this abomination and ruin the fantastic new Explorer?

Well, naturally, I misunderstood. The Sport Trac remains firmly lodged in the pages of history. The Explorer Sport is something else entirely. In fact, it probably should have been called the Explorer SHO.

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Consumer Reports Reliability Study: Ford Down, Chrysler Up

2011 Ford Explorer

Uh oh, Ford…

The new Explorer, Fiesta, and Focus all had below-average reliability in their first year. As a result, Ford’s overall reliability rank among 28 major car makes slipped from the 10th to the 20th spot this year—the biggest drop for any major nameplate in Consumer Reports 2011 Annual Auto Survey.

This news was circulated yesterday in an e-mailed press release and posted on the CR website later in the day. While many blogs and news sources are repeating the message that Ford’s reliability has gone down the drain, the truth is, it hasn’t. Most of the problems reported are technology-related and involve the MyTouch infotainment system, a distraction I don’t believe should even be in cars.

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