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BMW X1: prestige and practicality at a decent price

BMW X1 Photo courtesy of BMW

This compact crossover is not so much the Ultimate Driving Machine, but is more down to earth.

Based on BMW’s uber-popular 3 Series sedan, the first-generation X1 was arguably the most fun to drive of all compact SUVs. Alas, gen 1 is gone, replaced by an X1 that shares architecture with the Mini Clubman. A significant change in the base version is that it now has FWD rather than RWD. And no longer is a 6-cylinder engine an option; a turbo 4-cylinder and 8-speed automatic are the only engine/transmission combo offered.

The upshot? The latest X1 is less the Ultimate Driving Machine but is more practical. A little taller and wider, it’s quite roomy for a compact SUV. The interior is upscale and well-crafted, except for the front-seat cushions, which are uncomfortably short and flat. A cross-mounted engine allows for a shorter hood, giving excellent visibility forward. There’s now more drivetrain weight over the front wheels—good for traction on slippery pavement, not so good for super-responsive handling. Still, handling is safe and secure. And the engine is silky smooth and plenty spunky.

A FWD X1 is the least expensive BMW—SUV or sedan—with a base price at $36,000. AWD adds $2,000, and option packages can drive the price tag crazy high. But happily, even the base model comes with plenty of standard goodies, including a power liftgate and streaming Bluetooth. Stick to the basics and you can park this BMW in your driveway for not a whole lot more than you’d pay for a compact SUV from a less prestigious brand.

With the Auto Club's free Car Buying Service, members can enjoy a no-hassle experience when purchasing a new or used vehicle. Get estimated pricing and access to online inventory before visiting a AAA-recommended dealer near you. For details, go to AAA.com/auto or call 800-709-7222. 

Model years: 2016–2019

Vehicle layout: Compact SUV, 2.0-liter inline 4 (228 hp), 8-speed automatic, AWD

MSRP: $36,000 (base),$47,000 (well-equipped)

MPG, city/hwy/combined: 22/31/25

Crash-test ratings: NHTSA: 5 stars overall. IIHS: good (all ratings)

Basic warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles

Spare tire: None (run-flat tires)

Final assembly: Germany, United States, Brazil

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