2020 Toyota 4Runner vs. 2020 BMW X5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Toyota 4Runner 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 4Runner has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The X5 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the 4Runner and the X5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available four-wheel drive and rear parking sensors.

Warranty

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Toyota’s powertrain warranty covers the 4Runner 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 4 times as many Toyota dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the 4Runner’s warranty.

Reliability

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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 4Runner’s reliability 28 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 Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 7th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. BMW is ranked 8th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Toyota 4Runner uses regular unleaded gasoline. The X5 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The 4Runner has 1.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the X5 (23 vs. 21.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Tires and Wheels

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The Toyota 4Runner’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 4Runner 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.

Suspension and Handling

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For better maneuverability, the 4Runner’s turning circle is 4 feet tighter than the X5’s (37.4 feet vs. 41.4 feet).

For greater off-road capability the 4Runner has a greater minimum ground clearance than the X5 (9.6 vs. 8.7 inches), allowing the 4Runner to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The Toyota 4Runner may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 pounds less than the BMW X5.

The 4Runner SR5 is 4.1 inches shorter than the X5, making the 4Runner easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Toyota 4Runner amounts to more than styling. The 4Runner has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .36 Cd. That is lower than the X5 (.36 to .38). A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the 4Runner get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

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For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the 4Runner’s middle row seats recline. The X5’s middle row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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The 4Runner’s cargo area provides more volume than the X5.

4Runner

X5

Third Seat Folded

46.3 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

47.2 cubic feet

33.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

89.7 cubic feet

72.3 cubic feet

The 4Runner 5-Passenger’s optional sliding cargo floor is capable of supporting 440 pounds, to make loading and unloading cargo easier and safer. The X5 doesn’t offer a sliding load floor.

The 4Runner’s cargo area is larger than the X5’s in almost every dimension:

4Runner

X5

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

42”/66.3”

40.7”/70”

Max Width

57.7”

49”

Height

39.5”

31.5”

The 4Runner’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

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The 4Runner has a much higher standard payload capacity than the X5 (1625 vs. 827 lbs.).

The 4Runner has a much higher maximum payload capacity than the X5 (1700 vs. 871 lbs.).

Ergonomics

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Consumer Reports rated the 4Runner’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the X5’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

The 4Runner has a 115-volt a/c outlet in the cargo area, 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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Insurance will cost less for the 4Runner owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 4Runner will cost $2470 to $4315 less than the X5 over a five-year period.

The 4Runner will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the 4Runner will retain 61.48% to 71.13% 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 4Runner is less expensive to operate than the X5 because it costs $500 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 4Runner than the X5, including $150 less for a water pump, $1582 less for a muffler, $164 less for front brake pads, $116 less for a starter, $168 less for fuel injection, $25 less for a fuel pump, $436 less for front struts, $164 less for a timing belt/chain and $1778 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota 4Runner will be $29681 to $48815 less than for the BMW X5.

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 2019/10/16

The TRD Pro was selected by Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine as their 2015 4x4 of the Year. The X5 has never been chosen.

The Toyota 4Runner outsold the BMW X5 by almost three to one during the 2019 model year.

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