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2021 BMW X5 PHEV: Is the xDrive45e the best looking SUV on the market?


Here’s something you don’t see very often on a site mostly about trucks and SUV’s: a plugin hybrid electric vehicle. (PHEV) For this review, Publisher Tim Esterdahl is joined by his friend Aaron Turpen from Aaron on Autos as they take a look at the 2021 BMW X5 PHEV xDrive45e.

The iconinc BMW look

One of the first things Esterdahl mentions about the 2021 BMW X5 PHEV is how much he likes the way it looks. This SUV has great body lines and beautiful wheels and is unmistakable as a BMW.

As he walks around and shows off some of the features, I’m intrigued by the drop-down tailgate. You don’t see this on many SUVs, but it’s something I really like because I think it makes loading and unloading easier and gives you a place to sit while you watch the kids play or take in a fireworks show.

A marriage of luxury and technology

Inside the 2021 BMW X5 PHEV, you’ll find beautiful accents like a crystal gear selector, carbon fiber and chrome accents on the dash and a clean, well laid out center stack. Esterdahl says this is one comfortable, roomy SUV, and one peek at those beautiful white leather seats makes me think it’s also quite luxurious.

And just look at that panoramic moonroof!

As they’re driving, Turpin points out that the infotainment system has gesture controls. How cool is that?

Regenerative braking is another cool technology included in the BMW X5 PHEV xDrive45e. This technology allows you to switch to one-pedal-type driving, more like driving a golf cart than a car, so that you do less hard braking and more coasting. While regenerative braking is engaged the car’s batteries can actually charge while driving. It’s pretty nifty and hard to imagine if you haven’t experienced it.

Charging and tax credits: Cheaper than gas?

How long does it take to charge? Well, that depends on your charger. At Esterdahl’s house where all he has is a 110-volt outlet in his garage, probably days. On Turpin’s 220-volt outlet the BMW X5 PHEV’s battery can go from dead to full in approximately 5 hours. That means if he plugged in every time he got home he’d likely start each drive with a full charge.

BEVs and PHEVs don’t make sense for everyone, but for those with short daily commutes and cheap electricity, a vehicle that can run several miles on battery instead of gas can save you money. Maybe a lot. Plus you have tax credits, which may help to offset the added cost of buying a plug-in hybrid in the first place. And the great thing about PHEV’s is you still have the gas engine to fall back on for long trips.

What do you think of this plugin hybrid electric SUV?



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Erica Mueller

Erica Mueller is a Texan, which means she believes that trucks are family vehicles and giant SUVs make good second cars. As part-time auto journalist for almost a decade, Erica enjoys driving all kinds of vehicles and sharing her experiences with others. Erica is the secretary of the board for the Texas Auto Writers Association as well as a contributor at A Girls Guide to Cars.

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