Jones Ford Buckeye Compares 2017 Ford Explorer VS 2017 BMW X5 Near Avondale, AZ

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2017 Ford Explorer

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VS

2017 BMW X5

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 X5 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 X5 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 X5 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Explorer and the X5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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 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 X5:

 

Explorer

X5

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

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 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 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 X5 doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without their vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports predicts that the Explorer’s reliability will be 27% better than the X5.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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

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 X5 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Explorer’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the X5:

 

Explorer

X5

Front Rotors

13.85 inches

13.1 inches

Rear Rotors

13.5 inches

12.6 inches

The Explorer stops much shorter than the X5:

 

Explorer

X5

 

70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Explorer is 2.4 inches wider in the front and 2.2 inches wider in the rear than on the X5.

The Explorer Sport 4WD handles at .83 G’s, while the X5 xDrive35i xDrive pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Explorer Base/XLT/Limited’s turning circle is 2.8 feet tighter than the X5’s (38.9 feet vs. 41.7 feet). The Explorer Sport’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the X5’s (40 feet vs. 41.7 feet).

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 X5 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 X5 xDrive35i xDrive (37 vs. 41 dB).

Passenger Space Comparison

The Explorer has 20.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the X5 (151.5 vs. 131.2).

The Explorer has .9 inches more front headroom, 2.5 inches more front legroom, 1 inch more front shoulder room, 1.8 inches more rear headroom, 2.9 inches more rear legroom and 2.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the X5.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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

 

Explorer

X5

Behind Third Seat

21 cubic feet

12 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

43.9 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

35.8 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

81.7 cubic feet

76.7 cubic feet

The Explorer has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The X5 doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

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 X5 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

The Explorer’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.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Explorer’s cargo door can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The X5 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its cargo door, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

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 X5 doesn’t offer a remote starting 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 X5 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.

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 X5 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 X5 because it costs $144 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Explorer than the X5, including $577 less for an alternator, $141 less for front brake pads, $220 less for a starter, $376 less for fuel injection, $269 less for front struts and $2318 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations Comparison

The Ford Explorer outsold the BMW X5 by over five to one during the 2016 model year.

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