The BMW X1 is a fun-to-drive and well-built alternative to the likes of the Volvo XC40 and Audi Q3. However, lesser models are missing some desirable safety features.
As an addition to the ever-growing list of premium small SUVs, the BMW X1 stands alongside cars like the Q3 and Mercedes GLA. You may have to fork out a bit more cash than for some of its peers, but it’s also more practical and spacious, feeling like the business-class upgrade to the alternatives.
The X1 is a solid choice for families looking to graduate from handy hatchbacks like the BMW 1 Series. For starters, the X1’s interior is very spacious for you and three passengers. A fourth could fit in the middle rear seat but would feel slightly cramped. The seats are all comfortable and will hold you well as you drive.
Meanwhile, the X1’s boot is the biggest in the its class. It’s practical, too: there’s no load lip, the rear seats can be folded forward with easy-to-find buttons by the boot lid and there’s a great amount of under-floor storage.
The infotainment is similarly brilliant. The X1 comes with BMW’s iDrive, which is one of the best systems currently on the market. It remains considerably intuitive to navigate and the rotary dial controller is just sensitive enough. The graphics are very crisp and it comes well-equipped with a satnav and DAB, USB and Bluetooth compatibility.
If you’re able to get yourself a diesel X1 with automatic emergency braking and parking sensors added as extras, go for it! It’s a great, family-friendly mix of comfort and practicality.
The safety and driver assistant features aren’t quite as remarkable. Desirable kit like Driving Assistant Plus – which includes automatic emergency braking – rear parking cameras and front and rear parking sensors are all optional extras, and not exactly cheap.
The X1 is as easy to drive as its smaller, 1 Series sibling – if not more so. The X1’s ride height and excellent visibility mean it will be a proficient town car, ideal for the school run or work commutes. It grips the road extremely well and both the steering and suspension give you, the driver, top-notch feedback as you make the jump to motorway-level speeds. The smallest available wheels, found on the SE trim, are the best and give the smoothest ride. Noise is the main downside; it emanates quite loudly from the tires.
Of the engine options available for the X1, the diesels perform the best and – if you drive a lot – are the cheapest to run in the long-term. However, they can also sound pretty rough and archaic out on the road.
All the same, the BMW X1 is still an excellent small SUV and can provide all the smoothness, spaciousness and practicality that a family will need in their day-to-day lives.
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