2019 BMW X7 vs. 2019 Ford Explorer

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The X7’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Explorer doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The X7 has standard City Collision Mitigation, 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 that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The X7 has standard Post-Crash Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Explorer 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 X7. But it costs extra on the Explorer.

The X7 offers an optional Surround View 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.

The X7’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 Explorer doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the X7 and the Explorer 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 and rearview cameras.

The BMW X7 weighs 469 to 1232 pounds more than the Ford Explorer. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

The X7 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 X7’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Explorer’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X7 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Ford doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Explorer.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 25 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 10 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Engine

The X7 has more powerful engines than the Explorer:

 

Horsepower

Torque

X7 xDrive40i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

335 HP

330 lbs.-ft.

X7 xDrive50i 4.4 turbo V8

456 HP

479 lbs.-ft.

Explorer 2.3 turbo 4 cyl.

280 HP

310 lbs.-ft.

Explorer 3.5 DOHC V6

290 HP

255 lbs.-ft.

Explorer Sport/Platinum 3.5 turbo V6

365 HP

350 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the X7 xDrive40i gets better fuel mileage than the Explorer Sport/Platinum 4WD (20 city/25 hwy vs. 16 city/22 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the X7’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 X7’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 X7 has 3.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Explorer (21.9 vs. 18.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the BMW X7, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Explorer.

The X7’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 Explorer doesn’t offer launch control.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the X7 has larger standard tires than the Explorer (F:275/40R22 & R:315/35R22 vs. 245/60R18). The X7’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Explorer (285/45R21 vs. 255/50R20).

The X7’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Explorer Base/XLT’s standard 60 series tires. The X7’s optional 275/40R22 front and 315/35R22 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the Explorer’s optional 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the X7 has standard 21-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Explorer Base/XLT. The X7’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the Explorer.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the X7 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Explorer doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The front and rear suspension of the X7 uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the Explorer, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The X7 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 Explorer’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The X7 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The X7’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Explorer doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the X7’s wheelbase is 9.4 inches longer than on the Explorer (122.2 inches vs. 112.8 inches).

For greater off-road capability the X7 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Explorer (8.7 vs. 7.8 inches), allowing the X7 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Cargo Capacity

The X7’s cargo area provides more volume than the Explorer.

 

X7

Explorer

Third Seat Folded

48.6 cubic feet

43.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

90.4 cubic feet

81.7 cubic feet

The X7’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the tailgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The Explorer’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Towing

The X7’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Explorer’s (7500 vs. 2000 pounds).

Servicing Ease

The X7 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Explorer uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the X7 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Explorer. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that BMW service is better than Ford. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 46% lower rating, Ford is ranked 24th.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the Explorer (except Base/XLT), the X7 offers an optional 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 X7’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. An easy entry system costs extra on the Explorer, and is not available on all models.

The X7 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Explorer doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The X7’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 rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The X7’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.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the X7 has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Explorer doesn’t offer cornering lights.

When the X7 is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Explorer’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The X7 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 X7’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.

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

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