BMW X1 (2015 – 2022) Review

BMW X1 (2015 – 2022) At A Glance

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

Can you recommend an alternative to the Audi Q2?
"I like the look and performance of the Audi Q2. What similar models would perhaps be a better choice?"
The Volkswagen T-Roc is a very similar car underneath to the Q2, powered by many of the same engines. Its cabin isn't quite as nicely trimmed but it's a newer design, with fresher tech. We'd also consider the BMW X1 or X2, the MINI Countryman and the Mazda CX-30.
Answered by Lawrence Allan
How does the Lexus UX compare to the BMW X1?
"How do you compare Lexus UX 250h and BMW X1 (2-litre petrol, auto), models 2018-2020. And where does Suzuki Vitara 1.4 Boosterjet auto stand in this mix? Models 2016-2020. "
Both the Lexus UX and BMW X1 are desirable premium SUVs. The Lexus UX is likely to be a very reliable choice, and the brand consistently performs well in our annual Satisfaction Index. The BMW X1 will be more enjoyable to drive, though, and has a better infotainment system. The Suzuki Vitara should also be very reliable, although it feels dated alongside competitors like the Volkswagen T-Roc (and will feel rather downmarket compared to the BMW X1 and Lexus UX).
Answered by Andrew Brady
Can you recommend a small SUV for towing?
"I'm looking to purchase a small/mid-sized SUV for about £20,000. We only drive about 8,000 miles per year so I'm guessing petrol but we do tow a trailer tent quite often in the summer months so it must cope with that OK. I'm looking at the BMW X1 or X2 or maybe the Audi Q3. I have not discounted going bit bigger so the Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4 or Ford Kuga may be options."
The low-down grunt of a diesel engine will make light work of towing your trailer tent but it's not ideal for your otherwise low mileage. I'm guessing your trailer tent isn't particularly heavy, so a punchy turbocharged petrol should be able to tow it without too much effort. Depending on its weight, a BMW X1/X2 or Audi Q2 should be up to the job and they're excellent small SUVs. How about a Volkswagen Tiguan? It's not quite as premium as a BMW or Audi, but you get more physical car for your money. Take a look at the Skoda Karoq, too, if you're not fussed about the badge on the bonnet.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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
More Questions

What does a BMW X1 (2015 – 2022) cost?