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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 X7 doesn’t offer height-adjustable front 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 X7 doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.
Both the Explorer and the X7 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.
Ford’s powertrain warranty covers the Explorer 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than BMW covers the X7. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the X7 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.
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 X7 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 X7 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.
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 X7 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 X7 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
For better stopping power the Explorer’s standard front brake rotors are larger than those on the X7:
For better maneuverability, the Explorer Base/XLT/Limited’s turning circle is 3.9 feet tighter than the X7’s (38.9 feet vs. 42.8 feet). The Explorer Sport’s turning circle is 2.8 feet tighter than the X7’s (40 feet vs. 42.8 feet).
The Ford Explorer may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 700 to 1000 pounds less than the BMW X7.
The Explorer is 4.6 inches shorter than the X7, making the Explorer easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The Explorer has 3.1 inches more front legroom, 1.5 inches more front shoulder room, 1.9 inches more rear headroom, 1.9 inches more rear legroom, 2.9 inches more rear shoulder room, .8 inches more third row headroom and 2.9 inches more third row shoulder room than the X7.
A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Explorer easier. The Explorer’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 31.1 inches, while the X7’s liftover is 32.5 inches.
The Explorer has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The X7 doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.
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 X7’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 Explorer’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The X7 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its tailgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
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 X7 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.
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Explorer has a standard rear variable intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the X7 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.
The Explorer (except Base/XLT) offers an optional 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 X7 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.
The Explorer is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The X7 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.
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