Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2017 BMW X3 VS 2017 Volvo XC60 Near Phoenix, AZ

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2017 BMW X3

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2017 Volvo XC60

Safety Comparison

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the X3 xDrive’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The XC60 doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

Both the X3 and the XC60 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, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot 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 BMW X3 is safer than the Volvo XC60:







5 Stars

5 Stars

Leg Forces (l/r)

309/613 lbs.

390/661 lbs.

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 and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the BMW X3 is safer than the Volvo XC60:





Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Hip Force

222 lbs.

345 lbs.


Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

42 G’s

43 G’s


Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

16 inches

18 inches




Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

45 G’s

Hip Force

355 lbs.

721 lbs.

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

Warranty Comparison

There are over 14 percent more BMW dealers than there are Volvo dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the X3’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the X3 has a standard 210-amp alternator. The XC60’s 180-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

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 X3’s reliability will be 17% better than the XC60.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the X3 third among compact premium SUVs in their 2016 Initial Quality Study. The XC60 isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 58 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 30th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 14th in reliability, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 16th.

Engine Comparison

The X3 xDrive35i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 5 lbs.-ft. more torque (300 vs. 295) than the XC60 T6’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the X3 s/xDrive28i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the XC60 T6:




Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

6.3 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

14.8 sec

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The X3’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the XC60 are solid, not vented.

The X3 stops shorter than the XC60:





60 to 0 MPH

114 feet

117 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the X3 has larger standard tires than the XC60 (245/50R18 vs. 235/60R18).

The X3’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the XC60’s standard 60 series tires. The X3’s optional 245/40R20 front and 275/35R20 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the XC60’s optional 45 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the X3 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The XC60 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The X3 has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The XC60’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The X3 offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The XC60’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The X3 has vehicle speed-sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The XC60 doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the X3’s wheelbase is 1.4 inches longer than on the XC60 (110.6 inches vs. 109.2 inches).

The X3 xDrive28i xDrive handles at .82 G’s, while the XC60 T6 pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The X3 xDrive28i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the XC60 T6 (26.9 seconds @ .77 average G’s vs. 27.3 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

Passenger Space Comparison

The X3 has 5.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the XC60 (100.1 vs. 95).

The X3 has 2.7 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear headroom, .1 inches more rear legroom and .8 inches more rear shoulder room than the XC60.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the X3 easier. The X3’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 27.8 inches, while the XC60’s liftover is 29.4 inches.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the X3’s available cargo door can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The XC60 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 X3 offers an optional heads-up display which projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The XC60 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The X3’s front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The XC60’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

If the windows are left down on the X3 the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the XC60 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the X3 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. Heated windshield washer nozzles cost extra on the XC60.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the X3 has standard extendable sun visors. The XC60 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The X3’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The XC60 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the X3 owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the X3 with a number “5” insurance rate while the XC60 is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the X3 is less expensive to operate than the XC60 because typical repairs cost less on the X3 than the XC60, including $28 less for front brake pads, $114 less for a fuel pump and $192 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations Comparison

Consumer Reports® recommends both the BMW X3 and the Volvo XC60, based on reliability, safety and performance.

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its May 2015 issue and they ranked the BMW X3 xDrive28i xDrive three places higher than the Volvo XC60.

Strategic Vision rates overall owner satisfaction with vehicle quality. The BMW X3 is ranked second in the Near-Luxury Utility category. The Volvo XC60 is ranked below average.

The BMW X3 outsold the Volvo XC60 by 25% during the 2016 model year.

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