First impressions: BMW X1

3 Nov 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on First impressions: BMW X1


First impressions: BMW X1

I’m just writing up the BMW X1 for our SUVs site. I was intrigued by the X1; BMW is touting it as their least-expensive vehicle, with a starting price under $32,000. And I’m down with small SUVs.

About this one, however, I’m not so sure.

Here’s the thing: As a BMW, the X1 is great. Yeah, it’s a bit Spartan on the inside (this despite the fact that the one I drove had $4,000 worth of options — in BMW-land, that doesn’t even get you leather, navigation, or a power driver’s seat). But it has the magnificent two-liter turbo engine I raved about in my 328i and 528i. and even though it’s a bit heavy and soft by BMW standards, it’s still good fun to drive.

But the interior space is really stingy. Not just stingy by SUV standards — we’re talking stingy by small hatchback standards. There’s more room (and comfort) in a Honda Fit than there is in the BMW X1.

So what’s a car writer to do?

What I should have done was claim the X1 as a car. Jason (our Guide to SUVs ) and I try not to step on each other’s toes. If I’d reviewed the X1 for this site, Bob would be my uncle.

Yeah, it’s a great small car.

But the X1 is labeled as an SUV and it looks like an SUV — more like a baby X3 than a 3-series hatchback (which, as Jason pointed out, is what BMW really ought to make). How do you give a good write-up to an SUV that offers less cargo space than a Honda Fit — a car that costs one-third as much and gets significantly better fuel economy?

I’m getting the review ready to hand in now, and that’s where I am with it. It’s a wishy-washy review, one caught between my viewpoint as a car fan and my job as a car writer. Do I like the X1? Yeah.

Could I, in good conscience, recommend it to a reader? Not one who is looking for a utility vehicle with some utility.

I’d love to hear your thoughts — would you consider an SUV like the X1 as a car? Would you buy a utility vehicle that was short on utility? Click the comments link and tell me what you think. I’ll post a link to the review once it’s up. — Aaron Gold

Photo Aaron Gold


I much prefer the Mercedes B class that we have up here in Maple Syrup Land. Also spartan, it seems to be laid out better. Canada will be introducing the M-B A Class soon.

That should be interesting#8230;espcially in diesel.

I just bought a BMW X1. Traded in a much loved 2010 VW GTI. I wanted/needed a smallish vehicle, AWD, four doors, flexible cargo, reasonable milage AND fun to drive in the the mountains of Colorado.

The choice came down to a loaded Mazda CX5 or bare-bones X1 for the same money. Picked the X1 based on the great engine and fun to drive.

Probably more of a car than a SUV but it works for me.

I think you hit the nail on the head with this one. I love bmw and I have had the 3 series, x3 and a z3 and now an x1. I love this car. Granted the only reason I didn#8217;t get another 3 series is because I just had a baby but overall I am very pleased. Great fun to drive and not bad to get the car seat in and out of but it is not spacious at all.

I usually only drive it alone, carrying my giant hockey bag with the seats down in the back or if it#8217;s me the baby. If the whole family needs to go somewhere we take our VW tiguan which is 1/10 the fun but much more practical. Don#8217;t forget the gas mileage is amazing on the 4 cylinder turbo and I got leather and the cold weather package for 33k.

You just have to go to the right dealer.

(5) Godwin Wong says:

I own a 2008 BMW x3. I still love to drive it. I also got the X1 as a loaner. You have to get used to the shudder of the stop/start but I think it is a minor nuisance. Yes, it is small and feels like flying in economy class rather then first class if it were a plane.

If I just the prestige of owing a BMW, get a CPO BMW. If I just want a equivalent small SUV wagon, I would consider a Subaru.

October 29, 2013 at 12:37 pm

(6) Bill H. says:

For some reason BMW is slowly getting behind the 8 ball with their cars.

The exter4ior hasn#8217;t changed in years and at only a short distance they all look pretty much the same.

They do handle well and get pretty good milage but this SUV is just another example why they need some new people in the design area.

As for price any car over 30K, incl options should have more standard items than options.

I have a 3 sedan and the out the door price, incl tax, delivery, basic options, registration, etc was approx 41K though it was advertised at 29K at the time. 12 K extra. people often forget about the tax, registration, etc and then get all wrapped up in the sales pitch.

If you do your homework and want a start up luxury car, wait for the year end, new models coming sales and check out various dealers, etc.

I got leather, extra tinted glass, up grade audio, free travel mugs and even a cap.

Out the door was 31K, period.

I still get approx 28/29 mpg average, I love my 3 and no way would I buy the new SUV.

October 29, 2013 at 1:04 pm

(7) Eric says:

#8220;the X1 is labeled as an SUV and it looks like an SUV #8212; more like a baby X3 than a 3-series hatchback#8221;


I saw these in Germany when they first came out, and had the opportunity to look at them closely compared with other BMW#8217;s nearby, particularly the 1er hatchback which is sold overseas. The X1, based on my observations, is mislabeled. Yes, I know that BMW markets it as a SUV, but, having compared the two nearly side by side, the X1 is really just a 1er hatch with AWD, and a slightly raised suspension, much like the Volvo V60XC is to the S60 sedan.

It is, in effect, the 4-door 1 series for the U.S. market.

I guess spartan-ness is in the eye of the beholder. This car is BY FAR more luxurious inside than my 88 E30 convertible is, which cost about $33K when new, and well optioned. I recently priced an X1 online, equipped as closely as possible to my 25 year old convertible.

The X1#8242;s quoted price was just over $42K.

I understand, Aaron, that you don#8217;t think this car has much #8220;utility#8221; compared to other cars, but, comparing it to a Honda Fit is like comparing apples to oranges. Although they#8217;re both technically #8220;hatchbacks,#8221; they#8217;re totally different concepts; the X1 isn#8217;t a jellybean with wheels, and the Fit isn#8217;t available with AWD. When most hatchbacks on the market can#8217;t compare to the Fit with regard to their interior layout, comparing the X1 to the Fit a faulty comparison.

We#8217;ll consider the X1 when the time comes to replace my wife#8217;s (probably by that time 12 year old) Pacifica. Not sure if we#8217;ll buy it due, ironically, to the cargo space issue Aaron mentioned. We may step up to the X3, or so something else entirely.

Still haven#8217;t decided if another SUV is even the answer. Personally, I think they#8217;re overrated. We may do just fine with either a mid or full size sedan.

October 29, 2013 at 5:15 pm

(8) Larry Stephenson says:

I#8217;m pretty surprised at your comments about the room in the X1. I remember getting in the back of an X5 when they first came out and thinking it was smaller than my 1969 1600. When I test drove the X1 that I currently own I had my 6#8217;4#8243; son with me and he sat in the back.

Granted he couldn#8217;t wear a hat, but hipsters don#8217;t need them.

If I could upload a photo I would send one of my 18#8217;11#8243; sea kayak resting comfortably on top of the X1. I specifically liked it because the lift height for my boat was very manageable.

It isn#8217;t a cargo hauler, but for driving to work in Minnesota winters, it is great for a normal sized (5#8217;10#8243;) guy. Just keep it in Sport mode to avoid the shudder/stop and it is quite zippy too.

October 29, 2013 at 9:03 pm

(9) RW says:

Got a great deal and bought a new fully loaded 2014 x1 for 39k 2 months ago. With tax and fees it came out to about 44k. This price included a couple of rebates and a good relationship with the dealer.

Since then I#8217;ve put over 6k miles on it. I love this car. As an active, single person living in NYC, who works in property development it fits my needs perfectly.

The main reason I picked the x1 over other entry luxury cars and the 3 series was that it was the most fun to drive, with the exception of the Cadillac ats. Plus I wanted a luxury awd car with a sticker price for under 40k. The 4 cylinder engine is great, it#8217;s quick and powerful while still maintaining a respectable 20mpg for mostly city driving (I use to average 14mpg in my lexus is 350). The steering wheel feel and the handling is my favorite feature of the car.

Steering is precise and tout, never feeling loose which was my main complaint with the new 3 series. This car is a pure joy to drive on a nice twisty road.

Bottom line the x1 is a great urban car that is a fun car to drive on weekends away in the country or the hamptons. It#8217;s also very comfortable for a single person or a couple with no kids. I know I could have gotten better value for 40k if I gotten a fully loaded ford fusion with awd or a Toyota rav 4. but none of those cars were able to put a smile on my face like the x1 did while driving at full speed down a nice bendy road, and that#8217;s priceless.

October 30, 2013 at 2:46 am

(10) Joe says:

I am on my fourth BMW. I currently own a 2013 X1 Sport and 2013 328i. I love BMW and the evolution thereof. Those that continue to bitch about BMW either own an older Bmw or don#8217;t own one at all. The X1 is the funniest car that I have owned.

I have owned peugeots, Mercedes, and an assortment of other vehicles#8230;the x1 is my 20th automobile. Would I recommend the x1. Hell yes!

Skip the majority of options#8230;get the sport line and leave the kids home. Turn the auto/ stop, anti-skid off, put it in drive sport and that little four will surprise the hell out of you. The drivers in your rear view will be shocked as well.

Buy it.

Tagged as:

Other articles of the category "BMW":

Our partners
Follow us
Contact us
Our contacts

Born in the USSR


About this site

For all questions about advertising, please contact listed on the site.

Car Catalog with specifications, pictures, ratings, reviews and discusssions about cars