2019 Volvo XC90 vs. 2019 BMW X5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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.

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.

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 airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

Both the XC90 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, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, driver alert monitors and available around view monitors.

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 154 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The X5 has not been tested, yet.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 T8 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the X5 xDrive40i (59 city/56 hwy MPGe vs. 20 city/26 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 T8 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the X5 xDrive40i (24 city/27 hwy vs. 20 city/26 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 T5 AWD gets better fuel mileage than the X5 xDrive40i (20 city/27 hwy vs. 20 city/26 hwy).

The XC90 T8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 17 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.

Brakes and Stopping

The XC90 stops shorter than the X5:

 

XC90

X5

 

60 to 0 MPH

126 feet

129 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

142 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

The XC90 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The XC90’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 X5 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For better maneuverability, the XC90’s turning circle is 2.7 feet tighter than the X5’s (38.7 feet vs. 41.4 feet). The XC90’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter with 22-inch wheels than the X5’s (39.7 feet vs. 41.4 feet).

For greater off-road capability the XC90 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the X5 (9.4 vs. 8.7 inches), allowing the XC90 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The XC90 w/Air Suspension’s minimum ground clearance is 1.8 inches higher than on the X5 (10.5 vs. 8.7 inches).

Chassis

The design of the Volvo XC90 amounts to more than styling. The XC90 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .33 Cd. 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 XC90 get better fuel mileage.

Cargo Capacity

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

 

XC90

X5

Third Seat Folded

41.8 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

33.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

85.7 cubic feet

72.3 cubic feet

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.

Payload

The XC90 has a much higher standard payload capacity than the X5 (1210 vs. 849 lbs.).

The XC90 has a much higher maximum payload capacity than the X5 (1210 vs. 871 lbs.).

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the X5, the XC90 R-Design/Inscription/Excellence 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.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the XC90 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.

A manual rear sunshade is optional in the XC90 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The X5 doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

Model Availability

The XC90 is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The X5 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Recommendations

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Volvo XC90, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.

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 has never been an “All Star.”

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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