2021 Volvo XC40 vs. 2020 BMW X3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 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 2020/10/29

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC40 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 X3 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC40 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 X3 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the XC40 and X3 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC40 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 X3’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.

Both the XC40 and the X3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee 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, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, driver alert monitors and available around view monitors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the XC40 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 32 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The X3 has not been fully tested, yet.

Reliability

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The X3’s redline is at 7000 RPM, which causes more engine wear, and a greater chance of a catastrophic engine failure. The XC40 has a 6000 RPM redline.

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 XC40’s reliability 23 points higher than the X3.

Engine

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As tested in Consumer Reports the XC40 T5 is faster than the X3 s/xDrive30i 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder:

XC40

X3

Zero to 30 MPH

2.9 sec

3.1 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.3 sec

7.7 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.9 sec

5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

92 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the XC40 T4 FWD gets better fuel mileage than the X3 s/xDrive30i RWD (23 city/32 hwy vs. 25 city/29 hwy).

The XC40 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 X3 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the XC40’s standard front brake rotors are larger than those on the X3:

XC40

X3

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

13 inches

The XC40 stops shorter than the X3:

XC40

X3

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

135 feet

138 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the XC40 has larger standard tires than the X3 (235/55R18 vs. 225/60R18).

The XC40’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the X3’s standard 60 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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For better maneuverability, the XC40’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the X3 xDrive30i’s (37.4 feet vs. 39.4 feet). The XC40’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the X3 M40i’s (37.4 feet vs. 39.7 feet).

For greater off-road capability the XC40 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the X3 (8.3 vs. 8 inches), allowing the XC40 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The Volvo XC40 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 450 pounds less than the BMW X3.

The XC40 is 11.7 inches shorter than the X3, making the XC40 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The XC40 has .6 inches more front legroom and .3 inches more rear shoulder room than the X3.

Cargo Capacity

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To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the XC40’s available liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The X3 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

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Maximum trailer towing in the BMW X3 is limited to 4400 pounds. The XC40 offers up to a 4630 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

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The XC40 has a standard 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 X3 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the XC40 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The X3 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the XC40 has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the X3 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

Consumer Reports rated the XC40’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the X3’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The XC40 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The X3 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Economic Advantages

© 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 2020/10/29

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Volvo XC40 will be $11836 to $14609 less than for the BMW X3.

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 2020/10/29

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Volvo XC40 and the BMW X3, based on reliability, safety and performance.

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its January 2019 issue and they ranked the Volvo XC40 T5 R-Design AWD higher than the BMW X3 xDrive30i.

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