The exterior of a silver BMW X1

BMW X1 review (2015-2022)

The X1 is BMW’s smallest SUV but it’s still extremely practical with a big boot and plenty of space. The X1 drives and handles better than most other SUVs, both on and off road.

Pros

  • Nimble and rewarding to drive
  • Good range of petrol and diesel engines
  • Roomy and practical with a big boot

Cons

  • You pay a premium for the BMW badge
  • Different option packs make finding the right used car harder
  • Insurance costs can be high

Summary

“Fun to drive, practical and with a premium feel, the BMW X1 is a great choice.”

The BMW X1 is a stylish, well-built compact SUV that’s an excellent all-rounder. It’s roomy enough for all the family, whether you’re carrying three adults in the back or need to fit a child seat.

It’s available with BMW’s 'xDrive' four-wheel drive system and the engine line-up includes both diesel and petrol options. Trim levels start with the SE and rise through to Sport, xLine and M Sport models. We're focusing here on the second-generation BMW X1, which was sold new between 2015 and 2022.

What’s the interior like?

“The BMW X1 has a well built and practical interior with a luxurious feel.”

The interior of the BMW X1 has a premium feel and well laid out dashboard. All the buttons and controls are within easy reach, so it won’t take long to get used to.

There’s a standard six-inch infotainment screen in the centre of the dash, which is tablet-style and operated by BMW’s excellent iDrive controller behind the gear shifter. The iDrive controller helps you to control the climate, air con and audio system. Cars with the Nav Plus option package have a larger seven-inch touchscreen, plus a useful Head-Up Display (HUD) that projects information onto the windscreen in front of the driver so you don’t have to look down.

The front seats are extremely comfortable, which is great for long journeys. You can also seat three adults pretty comfortably in the back. There’s even an optional feature that lets you slide the rear bench back so you can balance how much space you need for luggage and rear legroom.

The X1’s boot can hold 505 litres, which is enough for a few large suitcases. The folding rear seat splits 40:20:40 for increased loading options. This means that you could comfortably sit two adults in the back with a long piece of furniture in the middle.

What’s it like to drive?

“Fun to drive and a range of strong engines.”

The BMW X1 handles corners well, with a more responsive, controlled feel than many SUVs. It's well-suited to town driving, too, with a high driving position that allows you to clearly see what’s around you.

While it’s emphasis is on agile handling and driving pleasure, some rivals, such as the Audi Q3 and Range Rover Evoque can be a little more comfortable due to their softer suspension. The standard SE trim with 18-inch wheels delivers the most comfortable ride in the X1.

There’s a decent range of engine options in the X1 line-up, starting with a 1.5-litre petrol which offers more than adequate performance and a 2.0-litre petrol which is a two-wheel drive providing excellent performance. You can also opt for an X1 with four-wheel drive. The diesel engines are available with a similar level of performance and are all smooth, quiet and refined.

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“The X1 costs more than some rivals, but day-to-day running costs should be reasonable.”

The BMW X1 is a premium model that commands higher prices than mainstream mid-size SUV rivals such as the Kia Sportage, Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Karoq. That said, its popularity means that you should be able to find the version you want on the used market.

All the engines are relatively fuel-efficient and the diesels are especially good in this respect. Watch out for insurance premiums because some X1 models fall into a comparatively insurance high group.

An easier way to find or sell a car

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Which one is best for you?

 All the cars in the X1 line up are good. The SE spec level is comprehensive enough and the 1.5-litre provides more than adequate performance for everyday driving. It’s also decently fuel-efficient.

If you spend a lot of time on the motorway, the greater economy of the diesel may make more sense, and the entry-level sDrive18d is also a sensible choice. If you choose a higher-powered option, you’ll pay a bit more for the privilege.

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