2019 Volvo XC90 vs. 2018 BMW X5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/12/08

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC90 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 X5 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

The XC90’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The X5 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC90 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 XC90 and X5 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC90 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 X5’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 Volvo XC90 offers an optional built in child booster seat. It’s more crash worthy than an added child seat because of its direct attachment to the seat. BMW doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the X5. Their owners must carry a heavy booster seat in and out of the vehicle; XC90 owners can just fold their built-in child seat up or down.

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the XC90 deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The XC90’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The X5’s side airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The XC90 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 X5 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.

To help make backing safer, the XC90’s 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 X5 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the XC90 and the X5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available around view monitors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Volvo XC90 is safer than the BMW X5:

 

XC90

X5

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

51

54

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

40 G’s

42 G’s

Hip Force

608 lbs.

685 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the XC90 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 149 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The X5 has not been fully tested, yet.

Engine

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/12/08

The XC90 has more powerful engines than the X5:

 

Torque

XC90 T6 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

295 lbs.-ft.

XC90 T8 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid

472 lbs.-ft.

XC90 T8 Polestar 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid

502 lbs.-ft.

X5 s/xDrive35i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

300 lbs.-ft.

X5 xDrive50i 4.4 turbo V8

480 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the XC90 T8 is faster than the X5 xDrive35i:

 

XC90

X5

Zero to 60 MPH

5.3 sec

5.8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.6 sec

15.7 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

5.8 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14 sec

14.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98 MPH

96 MPH

Top Speed

132 MPH

127 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/12/08

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 T8 running on a full charge gets better fuel mileage than the X5 xDrive35d (63 city/61 hwy MPGe vs. 23 city/29 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 T8 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the X5 xDrive35d (26 city/30 hwy vs. 23 city/29 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 gets better fuel mileage than the X5:

 

 

XC90

X5

 

2WD

T5/Auto

21 city/29 hwy

18 city/25 hwy

sDrive35i/Auto

4WD

T5/Auto

20 city/27 hwy

18 city/24 hwy

xDrive35i/Auto

 

T6/Auto

20 city/27 hwy

15 city/21 hwy

xDrive50i/Auto

The XC90 T8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 14 miles. The X5 must run its internal combustion engine to move.

The XC90 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.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volvo XC90 higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the BMW X5 (3). This means the XC90 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the X5 every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the XC90’s brake rotors are larger than those on the X5:

 

XC90

X5

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

13.1 inches

The XC90 stops much shorter than the X5:

 

XC90

X5

 

70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

142 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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The XC90’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the X5’s optional 40 series front tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC90 offers optional 21-inch wheels. The X5’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the XC90’s wheelbase is 2 inches longer than on the X5 (117.5 inches vs. 115.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the XC90 is 1.2 inches wider in the front and 1 inch wider in the rear than the track on the X5.

The XC90 T6 AWD handles at .84 G’s, while the X5 xDrive35i xDrive pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the XC90’s turning circle is 3 feet tighter than the X5’s (38.7 feet vs. 41.7 feet). The XC90’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the X5’s (39.7 feet vs. 41.7 feet).

For greater off-road capability the XC90 has a 1.2 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the X5 (9.4 vs. 8.2 inches), allowing the XC90 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The XC90 w/Air Suspension’s minimum ground clearance is 2.3 inches higher than on the X5 (10.5 vs. 8.2 inches).

Chassis

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As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the XC90 T6 AWD is quieter than the X5 xDrive35i xDrive (71 vs. 73 dB).

Passenger Space

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The XC90 has .5 inches more front legroom, .2 inches more rear headroom and .4 inches more rear legroom than the X5.

Cargo Capacity

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The XC90’s cargo area provides more volume than the X5.

 

XC90

X5

Behind Third Seat

15.9 cubic feet

12 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

41.8 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

35.8 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

85.7 cubic feet

76.7 cubic feet

The XC90 has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The X5 doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the XC90’s optional third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The X5 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

The XC90’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.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the XC90’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by waving your foot, leaving your hands completely free. The X5 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its tailgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Payload

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The XC90 has a higher standard payload capacity than the X5 (1210 vs. 1110 lbs.).

Ergonomics

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The XC90 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 X5 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Optional air-conditioned the front and second row seats keep the XC90’s passengers comfortable and take the sting out of hot leather in summer. The X5 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.

The XC90 has a 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 X5 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC90 is less expensive to operate than the X5 because it costs $9 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the XC90 than the X5, including $1485 less for a muffler, $66 less for front brake pads, $69 less for a starter, $114 less for fuel injection, $244 less for front struts, $1271 less for a timing belt/chain and $994 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/12/08

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Volvo XC90, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels. The BMW X5 isn't recommended.

Car and Driver performed a comparison test in its March 2016 issue and they ranked the Volvo XC90 T6 AWD two places higher than the BMW X5 xDrive35i xDrive.

Motor Trend selected the XC90 as their 2016 Sport Utility of the Year. The X5 has never been chosen.

The XC90 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2016. The X5 hasn’t been picked since 2001.

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the XC90 as the 2016 North American Truck of the Year. The X5 has never been chosen.

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

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