2019 BMW X5 vs. 2019 Buick Envision

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The X5’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Envision doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the City Collision Mitigation in the X5 as “Superior.” The Envision scores at most only 4 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The X5 has standard Active Protection, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Envision doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the X5. But it costs extra on the Envision.

A passive infrared night vision system optional on the X5 helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The Envision doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The X5’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Envision doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the X5 and the Envision have standard driver and passenger frontal 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 and available around view monitors.

The BMW X5 weighs 730 to 1415 pounds more than the Buick Envision. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the X5 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 47 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Envision has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

The X5’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the Envision’s (12 vs. 6 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X5 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Buick only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Envision.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 16th, below the industry average.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 11 places higher in reliability than Buick.

Engine

The X5 xDrive40i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 138 more horsepower (335 vs. 197) and 138 lbs.-ft. more torque (330 vs. 192) than the Envision’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The X5 xDrive40i’s 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 83 more horsepower (335 vs. 252) and 35 lbs.-ft. more torque (330 vs. 295) than the Envision Premium’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The X5 xDrive50i’s standard 4.4 turbo V8 produces 204 more horsepower (456 vs. 252) and 184 lbs.-ft. more torque (479 vs. 295) than the Envision Premium’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the X5 xDrive40i gets better fuel mileage than the Envision Premium AWD turbo 4 cyl. (20 city/26 hwy vs. 20 city/25 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the X5’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Envision doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The X5 has 4.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Envision (21.9 vs. 17.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

The X5’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Envision doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the X5’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Envision:

X5 xDrive40i

X5 M Sport

Envision

Front Rotors

13.7 inches

15.6 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

14.6 inches

12.4 inches

The X5’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Envision are solid, not vented.

The X5 stops shorter than the Envision:

X5

Envision

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

142 feet

153 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the X5 has larger standard tires than the Envision (265/50R19 vs. 225/60R18). The X5’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Envision (F:275/40R21 & R:315/35R21 vs. 235/50R19).

The X5’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Envision’s standard 60 series tires. The X5’s optional 275/35R22 front and 315/30R22 rear tires have a lower 35 series front and 30 series rear profile than the Envision Premium’s 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the X5 has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Envision. The X5’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels on the Envision Premium.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the X5 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Envision doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The X5 offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The Envision doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The X5 offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Buick doesn’t offer an active suspension on the Envision.

The X5 has a standard driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Envision’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the X5’s wheelbase is 8.8 inches longer than on the Envision (117.1 inches vs. 108.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the X5 is 4.1 inches wider in the front and 4.9 inches wider in the rear than on the Envision.

Passenger Space

The X5 offers optional seating for 7 passengers; the Envision can only carry 5.

The X5 has .8 inches more front headroom, 3 inches more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear headroom and 2.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Envision.

Cargo Capacity

The X5 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Envision with its rear seat up (33.9 vs. 26.9 cubic feet). The X5 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Envision with its rear seat folded (72.3 vs. 57.3 cubic feet).

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the X5. The Envision doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

The X5’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the tailgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The Envision’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Towing

The X5’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Envision’s (6603 vs. 1500 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Buick Envision is only 1500 pounds. The X5 offers up to a 7209 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the X5 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Envision. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Envision Essence/Premium, the X5 xDrive50i has a passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The X5’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Envision’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the X5 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Envision can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The X5’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 Envision’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the X5 has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Envision doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The X5’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Envision’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Poor.”

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the BMW X5 offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Envision doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW X5, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Buick Envision isn't recommended.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the X5 third among midsize premium SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Envision isn’t in the top three in its category.

The BMW X5 outsold the Buick Envision by 49% during 2018.

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

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