2019 Ford Explorer vs. 2019 BMW X5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Ford Explorer 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.

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Explorer inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The X5 doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

Both the Explorer and the X5 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, available all-wheel drive, collision warning systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, front and rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

Ford’s powertrain warranty covers the Explorer 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 almost 9 times as many Ford dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Explorer’s warranty.

Reliability

The Explorer 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.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Explorer third among midsize suvs in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The X5 isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 11th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

The Explorer 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.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Explorer Base/XLT/Limited’s turning circle is 2.5 feet tighter than the X5’s (38.9 feet vs. 41.4 feet). The Explorer Sport’s turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the X5’s (40 feet vs. 41.4 feet).

Chassis

The Ford Explorer may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 450 pounds less than the BMW X5.

Passenger Space

The Explorer has .6 inches more front headroom, 3.1 inches more front legroom, 1.5 inches more front shoulder room, 1.9 inches more rear headroom, 2.1 inches more rear legroom and 2.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the X5.

Cargo Capacity

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

 

Explorer

X5

Third Seat Folded

43.9 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

33.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

81.7 cubic feet

72.3 cubic feet

The Explorer’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.

Ergonomics

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport/Platinum’s exterior keypad. The X5 doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system, and its BMW Assist can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

Model Availability

The Explorer is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The X5 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Recommendations

The Ford Explorer outsold the BMW X5 by almost six to one during 2018.

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

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