Back in 2005 when Land Rover let loose the most comprehensive upgrade to its long-running mid-level Discovery line since its introduction in 1989, one of the most intriguing new bits of technology was the company's highly lauded Terrain Response system. In fact, so revolutionary was the design of this new 'ute and the technology that made it work so well that Land Rover completely ditched the Discovery name in the United States, giving its pride and joy the LR3 moniker.
Fast forward to 2010. Recall that just last week Ford announced that its next-gen Explorer for the 2011 model year would feature a new technology that it's calling Terrain Management. Sound familiar? It should – Land Rover is keen to point out that Jim Holland, the Chief Engineer, Explorer Platform Program, spent three years working at Land Rover in the UK as chief engineer for Range Rover. Coincidence? Hardly.
Both Ford and Land Rover's systems work on a similar principle, that of allowing computers to take over from the driver in adverse conditions so that the vehicle can remain in control with the most available traction under any and all types of terrain. But – and according to Land Rover (not surprisingly), it's a very big BUT – LR's system has more settings, namely
Further, Land Rover cites its air suspension, low-range gearing and Gradient Release Control as important features that the 2011 Ford Explorer is expected to lack. Oh, and Land Rover also claims that its 60 years of off-road experience cannot be dismissed. Are these important considerations? Well, naturally that would depend on your desired usage of the vehicle. In any case, Land Rover sums its case up as such: