2019 Volkswagen Atlas vs. 2019 BMW X5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Volkswagen Atlas 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.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Atlas SEL/SEL Premium has standard Maneuver Braking that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The X5 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the Atlas and the X5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available lane departure warning systems and around view monitors.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Atlas the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The X5 has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The Atlas comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck. The X5’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 22000 miles sooner.

There are over 89 percent more Volkswagen dealers than there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Atlas’ warranty.

Reliability

The Volkswagen Atlas’ engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the X5’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

Suspension and Handling

The Atlas’ drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The X5 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Atlas is 1.1 inches wider in the front and .9 inches wider in the rear than on the X5.

For better maneuverability, the Atlas’ turning circle is 3.3 feet tighter than the X5’s (38.1 feet vs. 41.4 feet).

Chassis

The Volkswagen Atlas may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 450 to 600 pounds less than the BMW X5.

The design of the Volkswagen Atlas amounts to more than styling. The Atlas has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .34 Cd. That is lower than the X5 (.36 to .38). A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Atlas get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

The Atlas has .5 inches more front headroom, 1.7 inches more front legroom, 1.5 inches more front shoulder room, 1.7 inches more rear headroom, .2 inches more rear legroom and 2.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the X5.

Cargo Capacity

The Atlas’ cargo area provides more volume than the X5.

 

Atlas

X5

Third Seat Folded

55.5 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

33.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

96.8 cubic feet

72.3 cubic feet

The Atlas’ 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 Atlas has a much higher standard payload capacity than the X5 (1213 vs. 849 lbs.).

The Atlas has a much higher maximum payload capacity than the X5 (1213 vs. 871 lbs.).

Ergonomics

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The X5 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Model Availability

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

Recommendations

The Volkswagen Atlas outsold the BMW X5 by 21% during the 2018 model year.

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

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