2021 Volkswagen Atlas 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 Volkswagen Atlas 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 Atlas and the X5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems and around view monitors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Volkswagen Atlas is safer than the BMW X5:

Atlas

X5

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

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

Warranty

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There are over 84 percent more Volkswagen dealers than there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Atlas’ warranty.

Reliability

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The Volkswagen Atlas’ engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the X5’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/08/11

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Volkswagen Atlas uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The X5 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Suspension and Handling

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/08/11

The Atlas’ drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The X5 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Atlas is 1.1 inches wider in the front and .9 inches wider in the rear than on the X5.

For better maneuverability, the Atlas’ turning circle is 3.3 feet tighter than the X5’s (38.1 feet vs. 41.4 feet).

Chassis

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/08/11

The Volkswagen Atlas may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 450 to 550 pounds less than the BMW X5.

The design of the Volkswagen Atlas amounts to more than styling. The Atlas has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .34 Cd. That is lower than the X5 (.36 to .38). A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Atlas get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/08/11

The Atlas has .6 inches more front headroom, 1.7 inches more front legroom, 1.5 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear headroom, .2 inches more rear legroom and 2.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the X5.

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

The front step up height for the Atlas is 1.5 inches lower than the X5 (18” vs. 19.5”). The Atlas’ rear step up height is 2 inches lower than the X5’s (18” vs. 20”).

Cargo Capacity

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The Atlas’ cargo area provides more volume than the X5.

Atlas

X5

Third Seat Folded

55.5 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

33.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

96.8 cubic feet

72.3 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Atlas easier. The Atlas’ cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.7 inches, while the X5’s liftover is 30.8 inches.

The Atlas’ cargo area is larger than the X5’s in every dimension:

Atlas

X5

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

23.8”/53”/85”

n.a./40.7”/70”

Max Width

61.6”

49”

Min Width

45”

44”

Height

37.5”

31.5”

The Atlas’ 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 Atlas has a much higher standard payload capacity than the X5 (1213 vs. 827 lbs.).

The Atlas has a much higher maximum payload capacity than the X5 (1213 vs. 871 lbs.).

Ergonomics

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Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium 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.

The Atlas (except S) offers an optional 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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Insurance will cost less for the Atlas owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Atlas will cost $735 to $3525 less than the X5 over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Atlas is less expensive to operate than the X5 because typical repairs cost much less on the Atlas than the X5, including $1202 less for a muffler, $80 less for front brake pads, $17 less for fuel injection, $170 less for a fuel pump, $88 less for front struts, $432 less for a timing belt/chain and $944 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Volkswagen Atlas will be $25227 to $35996 less than for the BMW X5.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/08/11

The Volkswagen Atlas outsold the BMW X5 by 49% during 2019.

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

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