BMW X1 SUV
Price £26,930 - £36,210
- Very good to drive
- Cheap to run
- Expensive to buy
- Baffling list of optional extras
- Basic model is two-wheel-drive only
At a glance
"The BMW X1 is a practical compact SUV that's a lot more stylish than its predecessor."
The BMW X1 is a premium compact SUV and the smallest off-roader in the brand's range. The term ‘compact’ is a bit deceptive here, however: although it's 15mm shorter than its predecessor, it's also 53mm taller and 23mm wider. It's also styled more like an SUV than the previous model, which just looked like a high-riding 3 Series estate.
The X1 has many rivals to contend with, including the Audi Q3, Mercedes GLA-Class and desirable Range Rover Evoque. It also has to compete with rivals from more mainstream brands, such as the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and Honda CR-V.
Unlike the somewhat awkward-looking first-generation X1, this latest model has been designed to look more like its larger X3 and X5 sister models and definitely has a more attractive shape than its predecessor.
There are four main trim levels to choose from: SE, Sport, xLine and M Sport. Inside, the X1 is just like any other BMW: well built, logically laid-out and driver-focused. Even the basic SE model is well equipped, as satellite navigation and a powered tailgate are standard across the range.
The X1 can be fitted with either a 1.5-litre three cylinder petrol (reserved for the sDrive18i model), a 2.0-litre petrol engine (in the four-wheel-drive-only xDrive20i model) or a 2.0-litre diesel, which offers three different power outputs – 148, 187 and 228bhp. The 187bhp xDrive20d is our pick of the range, as it combines efficiency, reasonable running costs, refinement and performance.
In terms of dynamic ability, the X1 is a vast improvement over the previous model. It uses the same mechanical platform as the MINI hatchback and the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, so handling is good and it's a capable car either on or off-road.
All in all, then, the new X1 is a much better SUV than its rather flawed predecessor. It's now a much stronger contender in the premium compact SUV class than before.
Fuel economy is good across the range and the BMW X1 is available with a good-value service package
The BMW X1 handles well, but the top-of-the-range xDrive25d is more powerful than anyone would really need
The BMW X1 has sat nav as standard across the range and can be fitted with a huge amount of extras
The BMW X1 is spacious in the rear and has a very competitive boot size
Tried-and-tested parts should help the BMW X1’s reliability case but some useful safety kit is optional