Jones Ford Buckeye Compares 2017 Ford Explorer VS 2017 BMW X3 Near Avondale, AZ

Responsive image

2017 Ford Explorer

Responsive image
VS

2017 BMW X3

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Ford Explorer 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.

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Explorer inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The X3 doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

To help make backing safer, the Explorer (except Base)’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The X3 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Explorer and the X3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, available all-wheel drive, collision warning systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and front and rear parking sensors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Ford Explorer is safer than the BMW X3:

 

Explorer

X3

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

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

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Ford Explorer is safer than the BMW X3:

 

Explorer

X3

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.9 inches

.9 inches

Abdominal Force

159 G’s

198 G’s

Hip Force

214 lbs.

222 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

144

162

Spine Acceleration

36 G’s

42 G’s

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

Warranty Comparison

Ford’s powertrain warranty covers the Explorer 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than BMW covers the X3. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the X3 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 11 times as many Ford dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Explorer’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The Explorer 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 X3 doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

Engine Comparison

The Explorer has more powerful engines than the X3:

 

Horsepower

Torque

Explorer 2.3 turbo 4 cyl.

280 HP

310 lbs.-ft.

Explorer 3.5 DOHC V6

290 HP

255 lbs.-ft.

Explorer Sport/Platinum 3.5 turbo V6

365 HP

350 lbs.-ft.

X3 s/xDrive28i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

240 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

X3 xDrive35i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

300 HP

300 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The Explorer has almost a gallon more fuel capacity than the X3 (18.6 vs. 17.7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The Explorer 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 Comparison

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

 

Explorer

X3

Front Rotors

13.85 inches

12.9 inches

Rear Rotors

13.5 inches

13 inches

The Explorer stops much shorter than the X3:

 

Explorer

X3

 

70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

187 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Explorer’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the X3 (255/50R20 vs. 245/40R20).

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Explorer’s wheelbase is 2.2 inches longer than on the X3 (112.8 inches vs. 110.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Explorer is 4.2 inches wider in the front and 3.6 inches wider in the rear than on the X3.

The Explorer Sport 4WD handles at .83 G’s, while the X3 xDrive28d xDrive pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis Comparison

The front grille of the Explorer uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The X3 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Explorer Sport 4WD is quieter than the X3 xDrive28d xDrive (37 vs. 44 dB).

Passenger Space Comparison

The Explorer offers optional seating for 7 passengers; the X3 can only carry 5.

The Explorer has 51.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the X3 (151.5 vs. 100.1).

The Explorer has .7 inches more front headroom, 3 inches more front legroom, 4.2 inches more front shoulder room, 1.5 inches more rear headroom, 3 inches more rear legroom and 5 inches more rear shoulder room than the X3.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Explorer’s middle row seats recline. The X3’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Explorer’s cargo area provides more volume than the X3.

 

Explorer

X3

Third Seat Folded

43.9 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

27.6 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

81.7 cubic feet

63.3 cubic feet

The Explorer’s cargo area is larger than the X3’s in almost every dimension:

 

Explorer

X3

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

19.7”/49”/79.8”

n.a./37”/68”

Max Width

48”

48”

Height

45.5”

31”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Explorer Sport/Platinum’s optional second and third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The X3 doesn’t offer automatic folding second row seats.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Explorer offers a 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.

The Explorer (except Base/XLT)’s optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The X3 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport/Platinum’s exterior keypad. The X3 doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system, and its BMW Assist can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Explorer has a standard rear variable 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.

Optional air conditioned seats in the Explorer (except Base/XLT) keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The X3 doesn’t offer air conditioned seats.

The Explorer (except Base/XLT) 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 X3 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Explorer is less expensive to operate than the X3 because it costs $333 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Explorer than the X3, including $53 less for an alternator, $85 less for front brake pads, $186 less for a starter and $284 less for front struts.

Recommendations Comparison

The Ford Explorer outsold the BMW X3 by almost six to one during the 2016 model year.

© 1991-2016 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. Who We Are
Click here to view the disclaimers, limitations and notices about EPA fuel mileage, crash tests, coprights, trademarks, and other issues.