2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid vs. 2019 BMW X5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid and the X5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Highlander Hybrid the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 100 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The X5 has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

Toyota’s powertrain warranty covers the Highlander Hybrid 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 4 times as many Toyota dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Highlander Hybrid’s warranty.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Highlander Hybrid’s reliability 31 points higher than the X5.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. BMW is ranked 8th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Highlander Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the X5:

 

 

 

MPG

Highlander Hybrid

 

AWD

LE 3.5 V6 Hybrid

30 city/28 hwy

 

 

XLE/Limited/Platinum 3.5 V6 Hybrid

29 city/27 hwy

X5

 

AWD

xDrive40i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

20 city/26 hwy

 

 

xDrive50i 4.4 turbo V8

17 city/22 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid uses regular unleaded gasoline. The X5 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Toyota Highlander Hybrid as a “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV). The BMW X5 is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Transmission

The Highlander Hybrid has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The X5 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Highlander Hybrid’s turning circle is 2.7 feet tighter than the X5’s (38.7 feet vs. 41.4 feet).

Chassis

The design of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid amounts to more than styling. The Highlander Hybrid offers aerodynamic coefficients of drag from .33 to .34 Cd (depending on bodystyle and options). That is lower than the X5 (.36 to .38) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Highlander Hybrid get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

The Highlander Hybrid has standard seating for 8 passengers; the X5 can only carry up to 7.

The Highlander Hybrid has 4.4 inches more front legroom, 1.2 inches more rear headroom, 1 inch more rear legroom and .9 inches more rear shoulder room than the X5.

Cargo Capacity

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

 

Highlander

X5

Third Seat Folded

42.3 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

33.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

83.7 cubic feet

72.3 cubic feet

The Highlander Hybrid’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.

Payload

The Highlander Hybrid has a much higher standard payload capacity than the X5 (1340 vs. 849 lbs.).

The Highlander Hybrid has a much higher maximum payload capacity than the X5 (1340 vs. 871 lbs.).

Ergonomics

Consumer Reports rated the Highlander Hybrid’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the X5’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

Recommendations

Both are recommended, but Consumer Reports® chose the Toyota Highlander Hybrid as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Toyota Highlander outsold the BMW X5 by over five to one during 2018.

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

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