The BMW X1 feels like a quality product, is spacious for its size, comfortable and even fun to drive. But you need to pay for optional extras to get the best from it
The BMW X1 is an excellent choice if you need a practical SUV but don’t want to drive something a little more mainstream, such as a Nissan Qashqai. The BMW has a plush interior that makes you feel special, has decent performance and is surprisingly fun to drive.
The X1 might be the smallest SUV in BMW’s line-up but you’ll find its interior is pretty spacious with back seats that can happily seat tall adults and a boot that is spacious, easy to load and packed with handy features.
Up front there’s plenty of space, the dashboard feels nicely built and you can choose from a range of expensive trims that make the X1 feel a cut above comparable models such as the Mercedes GLA and Audi Q3.
All versions come with sat-nav that’s operated via a 6.5-inch screen – but you’re better off upgrading to the nicer-looking 8.8-inch BMW Navigation Plus system. It comes as part of a £1,370 pack that also includes a head-up display that projects important info – such as speed – onto the windscreen.
Unfortunately, you’ll need to stump up for more options if you want to make your X1 drive as well as it can do. Top of your list should be the £1,600 eight-speed automatic gearbox that changes gear quickly and smoothly, and means you don’t need to operate a clutch in town driving.
The BMW X1 is a classy practical family car that you’ll feel smug about owning
The £390 adjustable dampers are more reasonably priced and worth going for because they allow you to switch between a comfortable setup or firmer suspension that makes the X1 feel more planted in corners.
Those dampers make the X1 more comfortable on the motorway, although there’s no getting around the fact there’s quite a lot of tyre roar at high speeds. Safety is strong, however, and the X1 was awarded five stars when it was crash-tested by Euro NCAP in 2015.
All the engines are decent but the 118d diesel’s mixture of power and economy makes it a safe bet – it’ll return 60mpg fuel economy in the real world and get from 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds.
And that pretty sums the jack-of-all-trades X1 – it’s a spacious family SUV that’s also good to drive. You can get more in-depth info on the BMW X1 by reading our following interior, driving and specification reviews sections. Or watch a group test between it and the Mercedes GLA and Audi Q3.