BMW X1 Review 2022

BMW X1 At A Glance

4/5
Honest John Overall Rating
The BMW X1 is an excellent small premium SUV if you're looking to buy used, with a good range of all-round talents. It's several years old now, though, and rivals have surpassed it as a new buy.

+Practical, spacious and good to drive. Most engines offer strong performance and low running costs. Primarily front wheel drive. Well-equipped as standard.

-Getting on a bit now if you're buying new. Not the most refined small premium SUV. Cabin starting to lag behind competition.

New prices start from £39,055
Insurance Groups are between 22–34
On average it achieves 79% of the official MPG figure

The BMW X1 is one of the founding fathers of the posh, road-biased small SUV segment. Before the first model (not the second-generation one in this review) arrived in 2009 the premium brands were only building larger, heavier SUVs, but VW had a hit on its hands with the Tiguan, and others were on their way. 

Over a decade later and the market for compact, posh SUVs is enormous. So much so that BMW will sell you not one, but two - the X1 was joined a few years ago by the less practical but sportier X2

Today's BMW X1 has been on sale since 2015, but has received a number of upgrades in this time to keep it competitive with the vast array of newer offerings, which include the Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Jaguar E-Pace, Range Rover Evoque and Volvo XC40

These updates include what was a fairly mild exterior revision in 2019, but there's also been a redesigned cabin and improvements to the technology. The engine range became cleaner, too, while a frugal plug-in hybrid model was added to the range. 

The BMW X1 doesn't look that dated on the outside, but its familiarity and the sheer number of older examples out there means it isn't as special as it was a few years ago. Inside, quality is still up to scratch, but the design is looking old-hat - particularly next to newer BMWs like the 1 Series and 3 Series

Standard equipment is generous – all models get navigation, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, DAB radio and front collision assistance among the basic gear. The front collision assist doesn’t just improve safety, it also lowers insurance premiums, meaning the new X1 is cheaper to insure than before.

It’s cheaper to run too, thanks to reduced emissions and improved fuel economy. The cleanest and most frugal model is the entry-level front-wheel drive sDrive18d diesel, whic has official economy of more than 60mpg. We’d recommend the more powerful, all-wheel drive xDrive20d however, which is still economical but has more get up and go. It's a brilliant small 4x4 with all the creature comforts you could want. 

The engine range also includes the 192PS xDrive20i petrol and 231PS xDrive25d diesel, as well as an all-wheel drive version of the entry-level 18d diesel. The X1 is at its best with the eight-speed automatic transmission, which uses the standard navigation system to predict the right gear for bends and hills, making for smoother progress, particularly on country roads.

Regardless of engine or transmission the X1 is a good car to drive, with accurate, nicely weighted steering and well-judged suspension that gives good body control without being uncomfortably firm. It'll deal with the kerbs at your supermarket car park or grass verges, too, but don't expect it to venture anywhere near as far off-road as the Evoque will. 

On the whole the BMW X1 has aged reasonably well, particularly when it comes to the driving experience. But with such an excellent choice of more modern alternatives on the scene it's becoming hard to recommend as a new buy. Those after a small used SUV will get a great offering, however. 

If you're after the older version of the BMW X1, you'll want our BMW X1 2009-2015 review. 

Ask Honest John

Does my BMW X1 have electric or hydraulic power steering?
"Does my 2017 BMW X1 diesel have hydraulic or electric power steering?"
The F48 BMW X1 uses electric power steering.
Answered by Dan Powell
The turbo on my 2016 BMW X1 has failed. Should we seek compensation?
"The turbo on my 2016 BMW X1 has failed. For this to happen on a four-year-old car with 40,000 miles seems unreasonable. The car has only been driven by my wife and daughter. Is there any recourse to BMW? Thanks."
If the car has a full BMW dealer service history then I would expect your local dealer to make a 'goodwill contribution' request on your behalf to BMW UK. The statute of limitations means you have rights for six years after buying the car (five years if you bought the car in Scotland), but it’ll be increasingly harder to prove the fault existed before you bought it as more time passes.
Answered by Dan Powell
Which warranties are best in terms of cover and cost?
"I'm considering buying a BMW X1 diesel, auto, 4-wheel drive SUV, first registered in March 2017. The new car warranty has expired. The car will be used mainly in rural areas with a mix of short and long journeys. I've been reading about extended warranties available from many sources and it's all a bit confusing. The dealer selling the car offers an RAC-backed warranty, which on this car would cost £750 for three years' cover. I don't know if that is good or bad value. Could you give me some advice concerning which warranties are best in terms of cover and cost?"
It sounds like very good value, but I suspect it won't cover absolutely every potential failure (excluding normal wear and tear items, of course) so it makes sense for you to read the small print. The best warranties are usually offered on manufacturers' 'approved used' schemes. Having said that, it sounds like you do the kind of driving that will keep your car in good mechanical health. Lots of short journeys or long periods of no use tend to be worst for a car.
Answered by Russell Campbell
Which small SUV should I buy?
"With £20,000 to spend on a small SUV, would you recommend a nearly new 1.5 Skoda Karoq or a slightly higher mileage BMW X1?"
We'd go for the Karoq. It's a brilliant small SUV that offers good value for money - although the 1.5 does suffer from hesitation issues. You could consider a Volkswagen Tiguan, too, although you'll be looking at one roughly the same age as an X1. How about a Peugeot 3008 as an alternative? It feels more premium than the Karoq but you'll get a newer one than an X1. We've had fewer issues reported with the 3008, too.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a BMW X1 cost?