Price  £24,230 - £33,540


reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Comfortable to drive
  • Well equipped
  • Appealing diesel engines
  • Awkward styling
  • Expensive to buy
  • Heavy steering is a chore around town

At a glance

The greenest
sDrive20d EfficientDynamics 5dr £26,760
The cheapest
sDrive16d SE 5dr £24,230
The fastest
xDrive25d xLine 5dr £32,540
Top of the range
xDrive25d M Sport 5dr £33,540

"Practical and comfortable, the X1 combines the driver appeal of a sporty hatchback with the practicality of an estate."

Although its name might suggest otherwise, the BMW X1 shares parts in common with the old BMW 3 Series Touring estate than the current BMW 1 Series. That could explain the X1's oddly proportioned looks, with a bonnet that seems too long for the rest of the car.

The facelifted model (which arrived in 2012) looks much better than the original car. Changes for 2012 included more external body colouring and additional chrome work. Inside, plastic quality was also improved, although the X1 still falls behind the BMW 3 Series in this respect. The X1 goes head-to-head with cars such as the Audi Q3 and new Mercedes GLA.

Also new for 2012 was BMW's 25d twin-turbocharged diesel engine, which tops the range and can be paired with the brand's excellent eight-speed automatic gearbox. The 20d diesel remains one of the most popular choices with buyers thanks to its strong performance and decent fuel economy. BMW only offers one petrol model, and high running costs mean it's often overlooked. It also costs more to buy than the majority of the diesel range.

BMW offers the X1 with xDrive four-wheel drive for extra grip in slippery conditions, or in sDrive two-wheel-drive form for improved fuel economy. Despite the option of four-wheel drive, the X1 has been designed primarily with road driving in mind and it feels like a tall estate car to drive. Its suspension is more comfortable than many of its rivals and the X1 doesn’t suffer from too much body lean in corners.

Trim levels include SE, Sport, xLine and M Sport, and while the BMW is quite an expensive car, standard equipment is generous. Features include dual-zone air-conditioning (with separate driver and passenger controls), DAB digital radio, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth phone connectivity and 17-inch alloy wheels.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.2 / 5

Avoid the petrol model and the BMW X1 offers affordable running costs

Engines, drive & performance

3.6 / 5

The BMW X1 20d offers the best balance between performance and economy

Interior & comfort

2.5 / 5

Step up from a 3 Series and you’ll notice a shortfall in quality in the BMW X1

Practicality & boot space

3.2 / 5

The BMW X1 is much more practical than the standard 1 Series

Reliability & safety

3.4 / 5

The pre-facelift BMW X1 scored poorly in our Driver Power 2014 survey

What the others say

3.8 / 5
based on 4 reviews
4 / 5
Rear passenger space is on a par with a 3-Series, although headroom is better due to the higher roofline. Plus, the rear seatbacks adjust. The 420-litre boot is fractionally bigger than in most family hatchbacks and the seats fold flat, but while this means the X1 is more flexible than the 1-Series, it isn’t massively practical.
4 / 5
On the road, the X1 benefits from having characteristics from both cars and SUVs. BMW has kept body roll sufficiently in check to allow it to be capable of a lively back-road sprint and, when equipped with four-wheel drive, there's a good deal of grip too.
12 / 20
Make no mistake, the BMW X1 is a good product. But is it one that anyone will actually want?
4 / 5
The low running costs and sharp handling of BMW's smallest SUV are appealing, but the cabin is a little short of space and quality.
What owners say 
4.3 /5 based on 63 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
16 Dec 2014
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