BMW's smallest crossover SUV offers robust performance and surprising interior space for its size. Buyers who want a sporty driving experience but can't sacrifice utility will find a lot to like in the X1.

Pricing and Equipment

The X1 starts at $34,095 with front-wheel drive, or $36,095 (both prices include BMW's $995 destination charge) with BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system. The base price includes plenty of desirable features:

  • Power front seats with driver memory
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • A power liftgate
  • Automatic wipers
  • Selectable driving modes
  • HD radio and Bluetooth streaming audio

Most buyers will want the $1,500 Luxury Package, which adds leather seats and wood or aluminum interior trim. The $3,250 Premium Package goes further into luxury territory with a panoramic sunroof, keyless ignition, power-folding mirrors, and upgraded lighting. The $2,850 Driver Assistance Plus pack brings advanced safety technology, like an automated parking system and automatic emergency braking, to the X1. Buyers who want an extra dose of handling and performance can add the $2,450 M Sport package.

Performance Pros

BMW X1

Every X1 carries a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that develops 228 horsepower, matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.

  • The engine feels just right for a luxury crossover of this size. According to BMW, the X1 hits 60 mph in about 6.3 seconds, and yet it earns an EPA rating of 26 mpg in combined city and highway driving.
  • BMW purists might scoff at the X1's standard front-wheel drive – the company made its name with sporty rear-drivers, after all – but the reality is that it provides a stable, familiar driving experience to customers outside the frozen north who don't need (or want) to spring for the xDrive all-wheel-drive system.

Performance Cons

  • There's a flip side to front-wheel drive – while the X1 handles very well for a crossover, it lacks the rock-solid feel and agility BMW purists prize.
  • The transmission is reluctant to downshift when the driver calls for more power. We had to select Sport model to keep the X1 on its toes while traversing hilly roads.

Interior Pros

  • Rear leg and head room exceeds our expectations, and the wide door cutouts make the space feel bigger than it actually is.
  • With the rear seats folded, the X1 accommodates up to 58.7 cubic feet of stuff. That's a significant advantage over other small luxury crossovers, which tend of focus on style rather than utility.

Interior Cons

  • The front seats feel under-stuffed for average adults. Thigh and back support are mysteriously lacking from this BMW. An upgrade to the optional sport seats is definitely in order.
  • The X1's low starting price shows up inside. Some materials would look at home in a mass-market crossover. The optional wood trim classes things up, but not to the level we expect in a BMW.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The BMW X1 offers decent ground clearance and the all-wheel drive system responds instantly to changing surface conditions. It's not a true off-roader, but the X1 can certainly handle gravel and dirt without getting into trouble.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

As is the case with a lot of BMWs, the X1's price can increase rapidly.

The Bottom Line

The BMW X1 impresses us with its sporty performance and overall capability, but its luxury quotient might not be high enough for buyers who want something truly special.