BMW X1 vs. Land Rover Discovery Sport

By

Contributing Editor

A veteran auto journalist and editor of Tirekicking Today, Jim has contributed countless reviews and articles to such publications as autoMedia, New Car Test Drive, and Kelley Blue Book, as well as J.D. Power, cars.com, Consumer Guide, and the Chicago Tribune. He began by writing about antique/classic cars and how-to tasks, before turning to new and used vehicles. Most of his 30 published books have dealt with auto history, along with six children’s titles. His most recent book is the Tirekicking Used Car Buyer’s Guide.


, Contributing Editor - March 15, 2016

BMW’s smallest crossover model debuted for 2012, followed by a 2016 redesign. Surprisingly, the new structure is shared with BMW’s MINI brand. That means it’s a front-drive layout, though the X1 has standard all-wheel drive. Slightly enlarged, the X1 now benefits from more usable interior space, and looks more like a crossover. Available safety features include a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning.

For 2016, a new Discovery Sport model has supplanted the Land Rover LR2. Derived in part from the fashionable Range Rover Evoque, this compact crossover SUV theoretically seats seven, but third-row space is scant. Land Rovers are well-known for off-road prowess, and the Discovery Sport retains a fair share of that familiar capability. Ground clearance of 8.3 inches, accompanied by skid plates, help it cope with harsh terrain.

See a side-by-side comparison of the X1 & Discovery Sport »

What the BMW X1 Gets Right

As expected of a BMW, agile handling is a primary attraction of the X1 xDrive28i. Steering is quick yet somewhat firm for a small crossover, and the X1 feels a bit heavy. In reality, that demonstrates how this BMW grasps the pavement. Although the cabin feels a tad snug, space is ample and headroom excellent, including the back seat. An optional sliding seat boosts comfort. Standard equipment is a bit modest, and driver assists cost extra.

Developing 228 horsepower, the 2-liter four-cylinder turbo has abundant vigor, working with an eight-speed automatic that includes paddle shifters. An X1 can hit 60 mph in a brisk 6.3 seconds, and the driver can select from three drive modes. The EPA estimates gas mileage at a fairly frugal 22/32 mpg city/highway (26 mpg combined).

What the Land Rover Discovery Sport Gets Right

Visually, the new model relates to other vehicles from the iconic British SUV manufacturer. It’s not at all angular like the old LR2. Producing 240 horsepower, the turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder engine works with a six-speed automatic transmission that incorporates paddle shifters. Haldex all-wheel drive is standard. So is a four-mode Terrain Response system. Variable ratios in the electric power steering can ease parking.

Go-almost-anywhere potential includes the ability to climb a 45-degree grade. Although the Discovery Sport doesn’t qualify as totally refined, you can expect a quiet, comfortable highway ride. Fuel economy, EPA-estimated at 20/26 mpg (city/highway) is about right for this class. Leather upholstery is standard, and a rotary knob controls the automatic transmission. Active-safety features are largely extra-cost options.

Can BMW’s smallest crossover score against new entry from British off-roading icon?

Land Rover is the choice for off-road ventures, while BMW tempts with its customary level of sporty road behavior, if a bit shorter on the utility side.

Our Verdict: BMW X1

Sporty, agile handling with the X1 is too hard to overlook. If off-roading lies in your future, though, Land Rover is the way to go.

Take a closer look at the BMW X1 »

Take a closer look at the Land Rover Discovery Sport »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Contributing Editor

A veteran auto journalist and editor of Tirekicking Today, Jim has contributed countless reviews and articles to such publications as autoMedia, New Car Test Drive, and Kelley Blue Book, as well as J.D. Power, cars.com, Consumer Guide, and the Chicago Tribune. He began by writing about antique/classic cars and how-to tasks, before turning to new and used vehicles. Most of his 30 published books have dealt with auto history, along with six children’s titles. His most recent book is the Tirekicking Used Car Buyer’s Guide.