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Expert Review

BMW X1 SUV (2019 - ) review

The BMW X1 is a small premium SUV that rivals the Audi Q3, Mercedes GLA and Volvo XC40.

The Auto Trader expert verdict:


Available new from £29,935

The second-generation BMW X1 builds on the strengths of its predecessor and reduces the shortfalls to a point where they’re almost negligible. The arrival of a new plug-in hybrid version is sure to boost its popularity still further, too, especially among company car drivers. With grown-up driving manners and plenty of practicality, the X1 is worthy of a place on your shopping list.

Reasons to buy:

  • tickInterior space
  • tickQuiet and smooth on the road
  • tickGreat build quality

At a glance:

Running costs for a BMW X1

The X1 costs a similar amount to rival cars from Audiand Mercedes, but as you’d expect, prices are a significant chunk higher than they are for many cars of a similar size and type, but with a less prestigious badge. BMWs – like most prestige brands – traditionally have strong resale values, though, which will help protect your investment if you’re a private buyer, or keep monthly payments down for finance customers. Traditionally, the X1 has been more of a retail purchase rather than a popular company car, but the new 25e plug-in hybrid version is likely to change that for business drivers. BMW has yet to release prices, but its 40g/km emissions, along with its 31-mile electric-only range, will put it in a temptingly low Benefit-in-Kind tax bracket.
Expert rating: 4/5

Reliability of a BMW X1

Despite superb build quality in the X1, BMW’s record in the JD Power 2019 UK Vehicle Dependability Study isn’t that great. In fact, a ranking of 181 problems per 100 vehicles, put it behind every major car manufacturer in the UK, with the industry average being 119. Our owner reviews tell a rather more positive story, though, and BMW’s standard warranty is a little more generous than the norm at three years and unlimited miles.
Expert rating: 3/5

Safety for a BMW X1

All models in the range come with BMW’s Active Guard, featuring a speed limiter and a forward vehicle collision warning system. Front and side airbags are standard, as are rain sensors with automatic headlights and parking sensors front and rear. A reversing camera will cost extra, though.
Expert rating: 4/5

How comfortable is the BMW X1

The X1 might be the smallest X model in BMW’s range, but you certainly don’t feel short-changed, either with the interior quality (which is fab), or with the amount of space on offer. There’s plenty of head- and legroom for the driver and front passenger, while there’s also height and reach adjustment for the steering wheel and height-adjustment for the front seats (although these still feel a little high even in their lowest position). In the back, there’s enough space for a six-foot tall adult to sit behind another. The boot is a respectable 505 litres (rising to 1550 litres with the rear seats down), which is smaller than in an Audi Q3 but bigger than a Volvo XC40. The rear bench can also slide to balance your requirements between rear legroom and boot space. Out on the road, the X1 is comfortable enough and quiet enough, with road- and wind noise being kept pretty minimal. Bear in mind, though, that the ride quality on the larger optional 19-inch wheels, and in the stiffer M Sport versions, can be a bit fidgety on bumpier roads. There’s not too much body roll in corners, while the steering is nice and direct.
Expert rating: 4/5

Features of the BMW X1

The X1 comes in four trim levels – SE, Sport, xLine and M Sport – with the most popular likely to be the latter two. The entry-level SE gets 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and an electric tailgate as standard, as well as two-zone air-conditioning, cruise control, a bunch of interior USB charging ports, sat-nav and park assist with park sensors front and rear. Sport adds 18in wheels, front sports seats and minor trim changes inside and out, while on xLine you also get leather seats, electric folding mirror and satin aluminium exterior trim. As its name suggests, M Sport gets you M Sport fixtures and fittings as well as sportier (and firmer) suspension. Items such as wireless phone charging and electric folding mirrors are options, though.
Expert rating: 4/5

Power for a BMW X1

For the time being, there are two turbo-petrol and two turbo-diesel engines to choose from in the range. The entry-level 18i features a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder engine with 140 horsepower, while the likely best-selling 20i boasts 192 horsepower from its 2.0-litre powerplant and is capable of the 0 to 62mph benchmark in just 7.4 seconds. Only the latter is available with BMW’s xDrive four-wheel drive system. The diesels are both 2.0-litre models, with the 150 horsepower version coming in two or four-wheel drive and the 190 horsepower flagship available only with four-wheel drive. As far as the X1 range is concerned, however, the big news will come with the arrival of the 25e plug-in hybrid in May 2020 with a combined 220 horsepower, 0 to 62mph time of just 7.0 seconds and 40g/km emissions.
Expert rating: 4/5

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