BMW X1 (2015 – 2022) Review
BMW X1 (2015 – 2022) At A Glance
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.
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.