2018 GMC Yukon vs. 2018 BMW X5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front, middle and rear (child comfort guides) seat shoulder belts of the GMC Yukon 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 BMW X5 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the Yukon and X5 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Yukon 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 X5’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.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Yukon are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The X5 doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Yukon has a standard front seat center airbag, which deploys between the driver and front passenger, protecting them from injuries caused by striking each other in serious side impacts. The X5 doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

To help make backing safer, the Yukon SLT/Denali’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The X5 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Yukon and the X5 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, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems and blind spot warning systems.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the GMC Yukon is safer than the BMW X5:

 

Yukon

X5

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Leg Forces (l/r)

167/244 lbs.

195/471 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Leg Forces (l/r)

97/333 lbs.

470/286 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the GMC Yukon is safer than the BMW X5:

 

Yukon

X5

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

23

54

Abdominal Force

107 G’s

143 G’s

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

26 G’s

42 G’s

Hip Force

208 lbs.

685 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

GMC’s powertrain warranty covers the Yukon 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than BMW covers the X5. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the X5 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 5 times as many GMC dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Yukon’s warranty.

Reliability

The Yukon 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 X5 doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

Engine

The Yukon’s standard 5.3 V8 produces 55 more horsepower (355 vs. 300) and 83 lbs.-ft. more torque (383 vs. 300) than the X5 s/xDrive35i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Yukon’s fuel efficiency. The X5 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the GMC Yukon uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended on Yukon Denali for maximum performance). The X5 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Yukon has 3.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the X5 (26 vs. 22.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The Yukon 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 X5 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A ten-speed automatic is standard on the GMC Yukon Denali, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the X5.

Brakes and Stopping

The Yukon stops shorter than the X5:

 

Yukon

X5

 

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Yukon has larger standard tires than the X5 (265/65R18 vs. 255/50R19). The Yukon’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the X5 (285/45R22 vs. 275/40R20).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Yukon offers optional 22-inch wheels. The X5’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

The GMC Yukon’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The BMW X5 only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Yukon has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The X5 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

The Yukon has a standard full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare isn’t available on the X5, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare or run-flat tires, either of which has mileage and speed limitations.

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Yukon is 4.1 inches wider in the front and 3.9 inches wider in the rear than on the X5.

For better maneuverability, the Yukon’s turning circle is 2.7 feet tighter than the X5’s (39 feet vs. 41.7 feet).

Chassis

The front grille of the Yukon uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The X5 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Yukon Denali uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The X5 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Yukon offers optional seating for 9 passengers; the X5 can only carry up to 7.

The Yukon has 3 inches more front headroom, 4.9 inches more front legroom, 4.3 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear headroom, 2.4 inches more rear legroom and 6.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the X5.

Cargo Capacity

The Yukon’s cargo area provides more volume than the X5.

 

Yukon

X5

Behind Third Seat

15.3 cubic feet

12 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

51.7 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

35.8 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

94.7 cubic feet

76.7 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Yukon SLT/Denali’s second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The X5 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

The Yukon’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The X5’s tailgate’s top part raises up, but the bottom part lowers, getting in the way of loading and making an uneven surface for sliding cargo.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Yukon SLT/Denali’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The X5 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its tailgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Payload and Towing

The Yukon’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the X5’s (6300 vs. 6000 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the BMW X5 is only 6000 pounds. The Yukon offers up to a 8500 lbs. towing capacity.

The Yukon has a much higher standard payload capacity than the X5 (1650 vs. 1110 lbs.).

The Yukon has a much higher maximum payload capacity than the X5 (1690 vs. 1110 lbs.).

Ergonomics

The Yukon has a standard 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 X5 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Yukon’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The X5 has neither an oil pressure gauge nor a temperature gauge.

The Yukon 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 X5 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Yukon owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Yukon will cost $2480 to $4275 less than the X5 over a five-year period.

The Yukon will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Yukon will retain 46.85% to 48.81% of its original price after five years, while the X5 only retains 44.2% to 46.16%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the GMC Yukon will be $8800 to $10308 less than for the BMW X5.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Yukon second among large suvs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The X5 was rated third in its category.

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

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