2019 Volvo XC60 vs. 2019 BMW X1

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC60 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The BMW X1 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The XC60’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The X1 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC60 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 X1 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the XC60 and X1 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC60 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The X1’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The XC60 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The X1 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the City Safety and Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake in the XC60 as “Superior.” The X1 scores at most only 4 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The XC60 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The X1 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.

The XC60 offers an optional 360-Degree Surround View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The X1 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 XC60’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The X1 doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the XC60’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The X1 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the XC60 and the X1 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras and available all wheel drive.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the XC60 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 100 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The X1 was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

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 XC60’s reliability 12 points higher than the X1.

Engine

The XC60 T5’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 22 more horsepower (250 vs. 228) than the X1’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The XC60 T6’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 88 more horsepower (316 vs. 228) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 258) than the X1’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The XC60 T8’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 172 more horsepower (400 vs. 228) and 214 lbs.-ft. more torque (472 vs. 258) than the X1’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the XC60 T5 is faster than the BMW X1:

 

XC60

X1

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

15.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.5 MPH

90.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the XC60 T8 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the X1 xDrive28i (59 city/57 hwy MPGe vs. 22 city/31 hwy).

The XC60 T8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 17 miles. The X1 must run its internal combustion engine to move.

The XC60 T8 Plug-In Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 2.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the X1 (18.5 vs. 16.1 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The XC60’s standard fuel tank has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the X1 (18.8 vs. 16.1 gallons).

The XC60 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 X1 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the XC60 T6/T8’s brake rotors are larger than those on the X1:

 

XC60 T6/T8

X1

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

11.8 inches

The XC60 stops much shorter than the X1:

 

XC60

X1

 

70 to 0 MPH

170 feet

180 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

134 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

129 feet

142 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the XC60 has larger standard tires than the X1 (235/60R18 vs. 225/50R18). The XC60’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the X1 (255/45R20 vs. 225/50R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC60 R-Design offers optional 21-inch wheels. The X1’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The XC60 offers an available 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 X1’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The XC60 T6/T8 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The XC60’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 X1 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the XC60’s wheelbase is 7.7 inches longer than on the X1 (112.8 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the XC60 is 3.8 inches wider in the front and 3.9 inches wider in the rear than the track on the X1.

The XC60 T6 AWD Inscription handles at .87 G’s, while the X1 xDrive28i pulls only .86 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For greater off-road capability the XC60 has a 1.3 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the X1 (8.5 vs. 7.2 inches), allowing the XC60 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The XC60 has 1.1 inches more front legroom, 2.6 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear legroom and 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the X1.

Cargo Capacity

The XC60 has a much larger cargo volume than the X1 with its rear seat up (30.2 vs. 27.1 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the XC60 easier. The XC60’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 26 inches, while the X1’s liftover is 28.5 inches.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the XC60’s optional rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The X1 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Towing

The XC60 has a 3500 lbs. towing capacity. The X1 has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The XC60 has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The X1 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the X1, the XC60 R-Design/Inscription has a passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the XC60 has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the X1 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

Consumer Reports rated the XC60’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the X1’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The XC60’s headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the X1’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The XC60 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The X1 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The X1’s optional cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The XC60’s optional adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

Both the XC60 and the X1 offer optional heated front seats. The XC60 Inscription also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the X1.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the XC60 Inscription keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The X1 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC60 is less expensive to operate than the X1 because typical repairs cost much less on the XC60 than the X1, including $283 less for a water pump, $545 less for a muffler, $101 less for a starter, $88 less for fuel injection, $151 less for front struts, $940 less for a timing belt/chain and $702 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

The Volvo XC60 outsold the BMW X1 by 12% during 2018.

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

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