Both the Discovery Sport and Explorer have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Discovery Sport has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Explorer’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.
The Discovery Sport HSE/HSE Luxury offers optional Autonomous Emergency Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Explorer offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature which would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.
To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Discovery Sport. But it costs extra on the Explorer.
The Discovery Sport HSE/HSE Luxury offers an optional Surround Camera System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Explorer only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.
Both the Discovery Sport and the Explorer have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
The Discovery Sport comes with a full 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24 hour roadside assistance. The Explorer’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
The Discovery Sport’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Explorer’s (6 vs. 5 years).
On the EPA test cycle the Discovery Sport gets better fuel mileage than the Explorer 4WD 4 cyl. (20 city/26 hwy vs. 18 city/26 hwy).
Regenerative brakes improve the Discovery Sport’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Explorer doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Discovery Sport’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Explorer doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
The Discovery Sport HSE/HSE LUX’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Explorer’s optional 50 series tires.
For better maneuverability, the Discovery Sport’s turning circle is .8 feet tighter than the Explorer Base/XLT/Limited’s (38.1 feet vs. 38.9 feet). The Discovery Sport’s turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the Explorer Sport’s (38.1 feet vs. 40 feet).
For greater off-road capability the Discovery Sport has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Explorer (8.3 vs. 7.8 inches), allowing the Discovery Sport to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 550 to 800 pounds less than the Ford Explorer.
The Discovery Sport is 1 foot, 5.6 inches shorter than the Explorer, making the Discovery Sport easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the Explorer (except Base/XLT), the Discovery Sport HSE/HSE Luxury has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.
The Discovery Sport’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Explorer’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. With the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport/Platinum’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.
If the windows are left down on the Discovery Sport the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the Explorer can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The Discovery Sport has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Explorer doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.
The Discovery Sport’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Explorer’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The Discovery Sport offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Explorer doesn’t offer headlight washers.
To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Discovery Sport offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Explorer doesn’t offer cornering lights.
The Discovery Sport’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Ford only offers heated mirrors on the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport/Platinum.
When the Discovery Sport HSE/HSE Luxury is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Explorer’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
The Discovery Sport has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Explorer and isn’t available on the Explorer Base.
The Discovery Sport’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Explorer Base doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport won the Check it Out award in Kiplinger’s 2015 car issue.