In-depth reviews

BMW X1 review

The BMW X1 is a small premium SUV that offers plenty of interior space, excellent on-board technology and strong, efficient engines

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£34,910 to £52,950
  • Good choice of engines
  • Strong residuals
  • More practical than before
  • Firm ride in M Sport guise
  • Not cheap to insure
  • Average warranty cover
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The third generation BMW X1 is the best yet. The family crossover is more spacious inside with improved infotainment, while hybrid technology helps the petrol and diesel engine line-up to deliver even greater efficiency. More expensive plug-in hybrid models are also available, which widens the appeal of the X1 even further, particularly for business users.

Downsides? Well, the ride can be a little firm, particularly with the M Sport suspension set-up, and there are rivals that are cheaper to buy. The flaws are minimal, though, and we’re so impressed by the latest X1 that we’ve named it our 2023 Small Premium SUV of the Year at the Auto Express New Car Awards. As a capable family car that’s still good to drive, the BMW X1 is definitely worth considering.

About the BMW X1

If truth be told, the first-generation BMW X1 didn’t quite deliver the goods. It was rather drab to look at, while its lacklustre interior and dreary diesel engines certainly weren’t of the calibre buyers had come to expect – certainly from a brand that took pride in making ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’.

Moving on from its debut in 2009, the X1 received the usual mid-life facelift treatment, followed by an all-new model in 2016 which felt more premium and was better to drive. A raised ride height meant the small SUV had a feel of its larger X3 sibling, too, and put to bed previous accusations of it being just a ‘jacked-up estate car’.

The latest third-generation BMW X1 has matured into a capable family car that offers more interior space than before, improved on-board technology and an appealing blend of performance and economy. It’ll need all of these attributes to win over customers in an increasingly competitive market. 

Rivals include the equally premium Audi Q2 and Q3Mercedes GLARange Rover Evoque and the Volvo XC40, while the stylish Mazda CX-30 is an interesting alternative. The VW Group provides a closely-related trio in the shape of the Volkswagen T-RocSEAT Ateca and Skoda Karoq, while if you want a bit more style than these three offer, but still with plenty of practicality, then the Peugeot 3008 is also sure to impress.

The X1 range includes a strong line-up of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines, plus there’s the all-electric iX1 if you’re ready to make the change to battery-powered motoring. Front- (sDrive) and all-wheel drive (xDrive) models are available, with a seven-speed automatic transmission as standard, while the Sport, xLine and M Sport are the familiar trim levels that are on offer.

Frequently Asked Questions
The BMW X1 offers plenty of practicality for a compact SUV and it’s filled with excellent tech. It’s good to drive, too, while its wide range of powertrains neatly blends performance and economy. All these qualities earned the X1 our 2023 Small Premium SUV of the Year award.

For an alternative review of the BMW X1, visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk...

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