BMW X1 review - can Munich's smallest SUV compete with rivals?

BMW’s X1 is a sharp-driving junior SUV

Evo rating
from £24,230
  • Drives better than its rivals, less money than an X3, cabin quality
  • Poor economy from petrol engine, some might find ride too stiff

The new BMW X1 does a lot to rectify the problems of the car it replaces, but also takes a few steps back along the way.

Entry-level variants are now only available with front-wheel, while the only petrol engine in the product range suffers from poor economy. Still, an improved interior, smaller footprint and better ride and refinement, leave the X1 a strong competitor for the Mercedes GLC and Audi Q3.

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The BMW X1 can be specified with the company’s xDrive four-wheel drive, but in reality if you want to go off-roading, a Range Rover Evoque is a better proposition. 

That being said, the pick of the model range is the X1 xDrive 20d. It’s reasonably quick, boasts good economy and has enough off-road capability for the majority of owners.

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The new X1 is greatly improved over its predecessor and can be considered a serious contender against its rivals, too. As the premium and small crossover market continues to grow, with new entrants coming from traditional and unlikely brands – Ford’s Vignalle and Seat and Skoda both want a slice of pies – BMW had to get its new X1 right second time around.  

With the new Mini/2 Series platform it’s based on, the functionality of iDrive, the latest interior tech and the improved fit and finish, the new X1 now feels like a car punching above its weight.

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