Crossover & Midsize

Buying This Used BMW Is a $20,000 Mistake

Scoring a luxurious used SUV at less than half its original cost seems like an unbelievable deal. However, some models still aren’t worth the price. And purchasing a used 2014 BMW X5 is the perfect example of how you can easily make a $20,000 mistake instead of a savvy decision.

Why might this particular X5 model year become a used purchase you might come to regret? Taking a close look at data provided by real-life owners of this luxury SUV will inform of potential problems that may await.

Is the 2014 BMW X5 a reliable used luxury SUV?

A black 2014 BMW X5 on display at an auto show
The 2014 BMW X5 xDrive35i Premium featured at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show | Photo By Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

No. Trusted experts researched this model’s long-term dependability, and the X5 finished well below its top competitors. According to Consumer Reports, the BMW is the least reliable midsize luxury SUV released for the 2014 model year.

The publication gathers data from its subscribers to determine the likelihood a particular vehicle will experience problems. It then analyzes this information and rates 17 potential trouble spots. Consumer Reports gave the 2014 BMW X5 an astonishingly low 9% reliability rating.

Due in part to this revelation, Consumer Reports also listed the 2014 X5 on its notorious ‘Used Cars to Avoid Buying’ list. The BMW X5 isn’t known for reliability. That may explain why Consumer Reports recommended skipping over four iterations of this SUV. But the 2014 model year was particularly disastrous, having the second-worst score behind the 2013 X5.

What are this used luxury SUV’s known issues?

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Consumer Reports gave the 2014 BMW X5 the lowest-possible rating in eight of 17 potential trouble spots. Most concerningly, some of these categories include areas that have expensive repair costs and impact occupant safety. Thus, you may end up paying more than the $18,175-$20,325 average retail price that Consumer Reports estimates you’ll pay for this SUV.

For example, multiple 2014 BMW X5 xDrive35d owners complained of the brake calipers seizing. Consumer Reports subscribers also noted suspension problems across all models. One X5 xDrive50i owner stated, “Air springs reached the end of their natural life and had to be replaced. When they failed, the rear of the vehicle dropped, and rough roads made it undrivable.”

Brake and suspension performance is crucial to a safe, lively driving experience. That’s especially true for a luxury SUV that’s built to deliver thrilling driving dynamics. But even if these problems don’t give you pause, some of its other known issues might. Consumer Reports also gave the 2014 X5 a 1/5 rating in body integrity, engine (minor), engine (major), fuel system, drive system, and electric system.

Used luxury SUV alternatives to the 2014 BMW X5

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Don’t let the 2014 BMW X5’s negative outlook taint your opinion of the entire nameplate. BMW redesigned the X5 for the 2014 model year, and as we know, first-year products can experience many bumps. More recent iterations of the X5 aren’t plagued by the same issues as this debut model.

For example, even the 2015 X5 is a practical used luxury SUV purchase. Consumer Reports increased its reliability rating to 34% percent, and its average starting retail price is only $2,150 more than the 2014 model. However, we’ve identified two other midsize luxury SUVs from other manufacturers that are even better used car purchases. And most importantly, both models have estimated retail prices under $20,000, according to Consumer Reports.

The 2015 Lexus RX is one of the most dependable used luxury models on the market. Consumer Reports gave it a 90% reliability score, and the U.S. News & World Report ranked it the top model in the segment for 2015. 

Additionally, it’s practically the opposite of the 2014 BMW X5, as the 2015 RX was the last version of the vehicle before it was redesigned. That indicates that Lexus had years to work out as many kinks as possible, so you shouldn’t experience too many problems.

Those who want to explore another option should look into the 2015 Acura MDX. It’s not nearly as dependable as the 2015 Lexus RX, but its 73% reliability rating from Consumer Reports is well-above average for its class. Plus, it’s packed with value. It comes standard with leather seats – a pricey premium feature on the 2014 BMW X5 – and it has seating for seven passengers.