Land Rover Discovery Sport Vs. Ford Explorer


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.


The Land Rover, as you might expect, is a serious off-road machine, a fact concealed by its road-worthy good looks. The Explorer, on the other hand, is a car-based crossover that can only handle limited off-road runs. It comes standard with front-wheel drive, though AWD is available.


The Land Rover is about 180 inches long, compared with the Explorer’s nearly 200 inches. That puts the Explorer and Discovery Sport in different classes. The Discovery Sport is a compact luxury SUV while the Explorer is a midsize crossover. That means the Ford is the one you want as a family car. It has 3 rows of usable seating, while the Land Rover offers a third row that’s barely suitable for small children on short trips.

While the Explorer and Discovery Sport look almost exactly alike in photos, put them next to each other and the Ford will dwarf the smaller Land Rover. If you’re looking for a family hauler that’ll get you to the kids’ lacrosse games, check out the Ford. The Land Rover, on the other hand, is perfect for small families with a sense of adventure that sprawls into the uncharted wilderness.

The Ford Explorer and Land Rover Discovery Sport may look a lot alike, but they are vastly different. Which one do you prefer?


Find Certified Pre-Owned Cars and Used Cars in your area at CarGurus.

Used Ford Explorer
Used Land Rover Discovery Sport


  1. I own a Explorer Sport. It is NOT a serious off road vehicle. It IS a serious 365hp highway blaster that does double duty as a part time snowmobile. It does just what I need it to do. The LR Discovery on the other hand IS a true off road vehicle. If off road is where you spend most of your time and you are trying to chose between them, the LRD is the one for you.

    • From here in England. The LR Discovery is everywhere but I don’t think that the women who drive them to school and supermarket have ever thought of driving their shiny baby off the road. My daughter let her husband drive hers and he chipped an alloy. that was the end of the road for him.

  2. My opinion if you have a feature make it usable; “third row is barely usable” is a failure, if you can’t do it well don’t. I agree the Explorer is not an off-roader, however for unimproved roads it’ll do Ford’s traction control system is very effective. On the other hand if you want a capable SUV with a slightly more usable third row – check out a Toyota 4Runner Premium. Toyota is about to update the 4Runner if they put the anti-dive components of its Lexus version, their new 3.7L and a better transmission it’s a far, far better choice anyway you look at it.

  3. The Discovery is a Ford Explorer. Why fo you think they are so similar? And Ford still owns that company, right?

    C’mon man…

    • Ford sold Jaguar and Land Rover to Tata Motors in 2008. The Discovery and Explorer are not the same vehicle, though Ford likely benefited from LR’s technology during its short ownership period.

    • No Ford does not own Land Rover any more….they used to but now the owner is Tata

  4. I don’t like the slanted belt line on the RR, the Ford looks good but too big for me.

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