2021 Volvo XC60 vs. 2020 BMW X5

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 2020/10/21

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC60 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 X5 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC60 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 XC60 and X5 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC60 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.

The Volvo XC60 offers optional built in child booster seats. They’re more crash worthy than an added child seat because of their direct attachment to the seat. BMW doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the X5. Their owners must carry a heavy booster seat in and out of the vehicle; XC60 owners can just fold their built-in child seat up or down.

The XC60 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The X5 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the XC60 and the X5 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, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

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 XC60’s reliability 24 points higher than the X5.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the XC60 Recharge running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the X5:

MPGe

XC60

AWD

Electric Motor

56 city/57 hwy

X5

MPG

RWD

sDrive40i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl.

21 city/26 hwy

AWD

xDrive40i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl.

20 city/26 hwy

xDrive50i 4.4 turbo V8

17 city/22 hwy

M50i 4.4 turbo V8

16 city/22 hwy

On the EPA test cycle the XC60 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the X5:

MPG

XC60

FWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

AWD

T8 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl. Hybrid

26 city/28 hwy

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/28 hwy

T6 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

X5

RWD

sDrive40i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl.

21 city/26 hwy

AWD

xDrive40i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl.

20 city/26 hwy

xDrive50i 4.4 turbo V8

17 city/22 hwy

M50i 4.4 turbo V8

16 city/22 hwy

The XC60 T8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 19 miles. The X5 must run its internal combustion engine to move.

The XC60 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.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volvo XC60 higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the BMW X5 (3). This means the XC60 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the X5 every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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The XC60 stops much shorter than the X5:

XC60

X5

70 to 0 MPH

169 feet

172 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

129 feet

142 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

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The XC60 T6/T8 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The XC60’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.

The XC60 T6 AWD R-Design handles at .88 G’s, while the X5 xDrive50i pulls only .87 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The XC60 T5 AWD Momentum executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the X5 xDrive40i (26.6 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 27.3 seconds @ .67 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the XC60’s turning circle is 4 feet tighter than the X5’s (37.4 feet vs. 41.4 feet).

Chassis

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The Volvo XC60 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 850 to 1100 pounds less than the BMW X5.

The XC60 is 9.7 inches shorter than the X5, making the XC60 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Volvo XC60 amounts to more than styling. The XC60 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .32 Cd. That is significantly lower than the X5 (.36 to .38) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the XC60 get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

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The XC60 has 1.7 inches more front legroom and .6 inches more rear legroom than the X5.

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the XC60 easier. The XC60’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 26 inches, while the X5’s liftover is 30.8 inches.

The XC60’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.

Ergonomics

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Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the XC60 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.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the XC60 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.

Consumer Reports rated the XC60’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the X5’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 XC60 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The X5 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the XC60 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the XC60 will cost $3525 less than the X5 over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC60 is less expensive to operate than the X5 because it costs $146 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the XC60 than the X5, including $275 less for a water pump, $1651 less for a muffler, $34 less for front brake pads, $94 less for a starter, $83 less for fuel injection, $297 less for front struts, $1500 less for a timing belt/chain and $1648 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Volvo XC60 will be $20964 to $21129 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 2020/10/21

Consumer Reports® recommends the Volvo XC60, based on reliability, safety and performance. The BMW X5 isn't recommended.

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