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For enhanced safety, the front, middle and rear (child comfort guides) seat shoulder belts of the GMC Yukon 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 Yukon and X5 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Yukon 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.
In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Yukon are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The X5 doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.
The Yukon has a standard front seat center airbag, which deploys between the driver and front passenger, protecting them from injuries caused by striking each other in serious side impacts. The X5 doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.
Both the Yukon and the X5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
GMC’s powertrain warranty covers the Yukon 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than BMW covers the X5. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the X5 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
There are almost 5 times as many GMC dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Yukon’s warranty.
The Yukon has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The X5 doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.
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 Yukon’s reliability 12 points higher than the X5.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that GMC vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 12th in initial quality. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th.
An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Yukon’s fuel efficiency. The X5 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the GMC Yukon uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended on Yukon Graphite Performance Edition/Denali for maximum performance). The X5 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The Yukon has 4.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the X5 (26 vs. 21.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The Yukon 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.
A 10-speed automatic is standard on the GMC Yukon Graphite Performance Edition/Denali, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the X5.
For better traction, the Yukon’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the X5 (285/45R22 vs. 275/40R21).
The GMC Yukon’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The BMW X5 only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.
The Yukon has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The X5 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
The Yukon has a standard full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare isn’t available on the X5, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare or run-flat tires, either of which has mileage and speed limitations.
The Yukon offers an optional automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Yukon’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 handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Yukon is 2.6 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than on the X5.
For better maneuverability, the Yukon’s turning circle is 2.4 feet tighter than the X5’s (39 feet vs. 41.4 feet).
The Yukon Graphite Performance Edition//Denali uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The X5 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The Yukon offers optional seating for 9 passengers; the X5 can only carry up to 7.
The Yukon has 2.1 inches more front headroom, 5.5 inches more front legroom, 4.8 inches more front shoulder room, 1.6 inches more rear legroom and 7 inches more rear shoulder room than the X5.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Yukon’s middle row seats recline. The X5’s middle row seats don’t recline.
The Yukon’s cargo area provides more volume than the X5.
Third Seat Folded
51.7 cubic feet
Third Seat Removed
33.9 cubic feet
Second Seat Folded
94.7 cubic feet
72.3 cubic feet
The Yukon’s cargo area is larger than the X5’s in every dimension:
Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)
The Yukon’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.
Maximum trailer towing in the BMW X5 is limited to 7209 pounds. The Yukon offers up to a 8500 lbs. towing capacity.
The Yukon has a much higher standard payload capacity than the X5 (1650 vs. 827 lbs.).
The Yukon has a much higher maximum payload capacity than the X5 (1690 vs. 871 lbs.).
The Yukon’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The X5 does not have an oil pressure gauge.
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Yukon has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the X5 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.
The Yukon 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.
Insurance will cost less for the Yukon owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Yukon will cost $3070 to $4460 less than the X5 over a five-year period.
The Yukon will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Yukon will retain 48.92% to 49.45% of its original price after five years, while the X5 only retains 43.16% to 47.45%.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Yukon is less expensive to operate than the X5 because typical repairs cost much less on the Yukon than the X5, including $246 less for a water pump, $1017 less for a muffler, $109 less for front brake pads, $382 less for a starter, $169 less for fuel injection, $363 less for front struts, $599 less for a timing belt/chain and $1522 less for a power steering pump.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the GMC Yukon will be $13402 to $26589 less than for the BMW X5.
The GMC Yukon/Yukon XL outsold the BMW X5 by 55% during the 2019 model year.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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