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The X7’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Highlander doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
For enhanced safety, the middle seat shoulder belts of the BMW X7 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 Toyota Highlander doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle seat belts.
To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the X7. But it costs extra on the Highlander.
Both the X7 and the Highlander have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors and available around view monitors.
The BMW X7 weighs 920 to 1516 pounds more than the Toyota Highlander. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.
The X7 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Highlander’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
The X7’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Highlander’s (12 vs. 5 years).
BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X7 for 1 year and 11000 miles longer than Toyota pays for maintenance for the Highlander (3/36,000 vs. 2/25000).
The battery on the X7 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the X7’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Highlander’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.
The X7 xDrive40i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder produces 40 more horsepower (335 vs. 295) and 67 lbs.-ft. more torque (330 vs. 263) than the Highlander’s 3.5 DOHC V6. The X7 xDrive50i’s standard 4.4 turbo V8 produces 161 more horsepower (456 vs. 295) and 216 lbs.-ft. more torque (479 vs. 263) than the Highlander’s 3.5 DOHC V6. The X7 M50i’s standard 4.4 turbo V8 produces 228 more horsepower (523 vs. 295) and 290 lbs.-ft. more torque (553 vs. 263) than the Highlander’s 3.5 DOHC V6.
Regenerative brakes improve the X7’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Highlander doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
The X7 has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Highlander (21.9 vs. 17.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The X7’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Highlander doesn’t offer launch control.
For better stopping power the X7’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Highlander:
X7 M Sport
The X7’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Highlander are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the X7 has larger standard tires than the Highlander (F:275/40R22 & R:315/35R22 vs. 235/65R18). The X7’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Highlander (285/45R21 vs. 235/65R18).
The X7’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Highlander L/LE/XLE’s standard 65 series tires. The X7’s optional 275/40R22 front and 315/35R22 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the Highlander Limited/Platinum’s 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the X7 has standard 21-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Highlander L/LE/XLE. The X7’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels on the Highlander Limited/Platinum.
Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the X7 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Highlander doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
The front and rear suspension of the X7 uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the Highlander, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.
The X7 has a standard 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 Highlander’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
The X7 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The X7’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 Highlander doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.
The X7 has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Highlander doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the X7’s wheelbase is 10 inches longer than on the Highlander (122.2 inches vs. 112.2 inches).
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the X7 is 1 inch wider in the front and 1.6 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Highlander.
For greater off-road capability the X7 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Highlander (8.7 vs. 8 inches), allowing the X7 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.
The front grille of the X7 uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Highlander doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The X7 has .7 inches more front headroom, 1 inch more front shoulder room, .9 inches more third row headroom and 5.6 inches more third row legroom than the Highlander.
The X7’s cargo area provides more volume than the Highlander.
Third Seat Folded
48.6 cubic feet
48.4 cubic feet
Second Seat Folded
90.4 cubic feet
84.3 cubic feet
Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the X7’s second and third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Highlander doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
The X7’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the tailgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The Highlander’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.
The X7’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Highlander’s (5950 vs. 5000 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Toyota Highlander is only 5000 pounds. The X7 offers up to a 7500 lbs. towing capacity.
The X7 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Highlander uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.
The engine in the X7 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Highlander. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.
The X7 offers a 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 Highlander doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the Highlander Limited/Platinum, the X7 offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.
The X7’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Highlander doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
The X7’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Highlander’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
The X7’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Highlander offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
The X7 has standard heated front and optional heated second and third row seats, which keep the driver and passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Toyota doesn’t offer heated seats in the third row of the Highlander.
The X7 offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Highlander.
To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the BMW X7 has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. Only the Highlander XLE/Limited/Platinum offers wireless charging.
The X7’s optional Parking Assistant Plus can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Highlander doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
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