SAFETY

The 2012 X5 received four out of five stars in rollover crash tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It hasn't undergone any of NHTSA's other crash tests, and it hasn't been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

However, BMW has safety features that eased my mind while driving with my family in tow. Standard features include all-wheel drive, bi-xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights, all-disc antilock brakes, front and rear parking sensors, an electronic stability system with traction control, antiroll control and six airbags, including side curtains for both rows of seats.

With a few upgrades, you can also get my new favorite feature: the head-up display, which is part of the Technology Package ($1,700). It projected my speed on the windshield so I never had to take my eyes off the road, and when I was using the navigation system, turn-by-turn directions appeared there as well. Other optional features include a rearview camera with top view, a side-view camera, which proved helpful in tight parking spots and when parallel parking, and adaptive cruise control.

The only glaring omission was the absence of blind spot warning system. I expected the X5 to have it, especially because other SUVs, with significantly smaller price tags, are now offering the system.

Installing child-safety seats in the X5 was hassle-free, thanks to the two sets of easy-to-access lower Latch anchors and a roomy backseat. Find out how the X5 performed in our Car Seat Check.

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