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

BMW’s X1 is a sharp-driving junior SUV

Evo rating
Price
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

Ride and handling

The BMW X1 is one of the best SUVs at disguising its crossover guise by feeling fairly nimble compared to the competition, but it does so at a cost. Utilising the platform of the current Mini and 2 Series Active Tourer is a huge benefit here. Those expecting the soft and cushioned ride of a proper full-fat premium SUV will likely find the X1 a little stiff.

It’s not overly aggressive, but BMW has at least made a nod to its heritage of driving dynamics by keeping the X1 on the sportier side of the spectrum. Don’t for a second think this is Macan levels of exciting however, as the X1 is predominantly designed to be an entry-level premium crossover, not a driver’s car.

Subscribe to evo magazine

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

Particularly impressive is the car’s stability and lack of bodyroll. It doesn’t have that disconcerting feeling of a high centre of gravity on turn-in and with four-wheel-drive optioned, has good traction out of corners.

BMW has done a lot to try and offer increasing levels of customisation to the X1’s driving experience, not just with the traditional comfort/sport modes, but with different suspension and steering options.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

X1 buyers can specify Dynamic Damper Control and Variable Sports Steering, as well as a stiffer and lower M Sport suspension package. Each one tailors the car more towards the sporty or softer side of the spectrum, but in reality the standard setup is more than adequate.

The X1 does a good job of hiding its quasi-SUV size and shape, but still makes some dynamic concessions to the crossover design. A 1 Series will bring more thrills, but the X1 is a far more engaging steer than a lot of the crossover competition and a big step up from its predecessor.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/toyota/yaris/201932/toyota-gr-yaris-revealed-in-full-return-of-the-homologation-special
Toyota Yaris

Toyota GR Yaris revealed in full – return of the homologation special

One of most sought after hot hatchbacks of 2020 has finally been revealed: the Toyota GR Yaris
10 Jan 2020
Visit/honda/civic-type-r/202099/new-2020-honda-civic-type-r-makes-debut-at-tokyo-auto-salon
Honda Civic Type-R

New 2020 Honda Civic Type R makes debut at Tokyo Auto Salon

Honda has released the first images of the revised Civic Type R that’s being shown for the first time in Tokyo
10 Jan 2020
Visit/bmw/x3/202087/bmw-x3-m-2020-review-the-right-ingredients-in-a-very-wrong-package
BMW X3

BMW X3 M 2020 review – the right ingredients in a very wrong package

The first BMW X3 M previews the next BMW M3’s all-new powertrain, let's hope it doesn’t preview anything else
8 Jan 2020
Visit/hyundai/i30-n-hatchback/201775/hyundai-i30-n-versus-hyundai-i30-tcr
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 N versus Hyundai i30 TCR

Can Dickie Meaden beat Steve Sutcliffe in a straight(ish) race? We sent them to the Circuit Nuvolari with a pair of Hyundai i30 Ns to find out.
20 Sep 2019