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Review: We Found Out How the 2017 BMW X1 Outperforms the Competition

This week we drive the 2017 BMW X1 xDrive 28i and see how it handles the high-altitude of Colorado’s mountains. How does it outperform the competition?


The 2017 X1, BMW’s smallest and most affordable utility vehicle, offers a surprising amount of passenger and cargo space in a small package. It offers up the brand’s quality build, and a turbo power plant that delivers performance and handling out-performing the competition and it still gets good fuel economy.

What’s new for 2017?

Fresh from last year's full redesign, the BMW X1 carries over unchanged for the 2017 model year. Its main competition comes from the Range Rover Evoque, Audi Q3, Acura RDX, Volvo XC60, and maybe even the Ford Escape Titanium made in the US. Like its stablemate X3, it takes the boredom out of driving.

Features and options

The 2017 BMW X1 xDrive 28i (35,100) comes standard with automatic windshield wipers, a power lift gate, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, eight-way power front seats and driver memory settings. Electronic features include BMW's iDrive interface with a touchpad controller and 6.5-inch screen, navigation, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a seven-speaker sound system with HD radio.

Optional packages

The Premium package ($3,250) on this X1 added keyless ignition and entry, a hands-free power liftgate, adaptive LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, power folding side mirrors, front seat power lumbar, and interior ambient lighting.

The Driver Assistance package ($1,150) included a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and an automated system that can parallel park for you. The Cold Weather package ($550) adds heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. This X1 tester also came with Canberra Beige Dakota Leather ($1,450), Slide and Recline Rear Seats ($300), and Navigation ($1,200). Total; MSRP including destination: $46,320.

BMW X1 CabinInterior highlights

Stepping inside the new X1 we immediately noticed the upgraded Canberra Beige Dakota leather interior and the oak grain trim throughout the cabin. The quality of materials and the fit and finish is top rate. The now standard power-adjustable seats make it easy to find the perfect driving position along with the tilt/telescoping steering wheel. With the hot weather in Denver, we didn’t need the heated seats and steering wheel this week.

The most notable difference in the newly-remodeled interior comes in the back seat. Rear passengers get more head and legroom than the outgoing model. Our passengers commented on how roomy it felt for a small crossover. Families with small kids will want to check out the X1 as it offers more utility and cargo-carrying ability.

This tester came with the optional Slide and Recline Rear Seats that we think is a must-have for the $300 upgrade cost. With the rear seats up, you'll have 17.8 cubic feet for hauling groceries and the kids sports equipment. With the upgraded rear seat feature, you can fold down the seats at the touch of a button which opens up 58.7 cubic feet of cargo carrying space. The power tailgate was included at no charge and we used it often this week.

Engine and fuel mileage specs

The 2017 BMW X1 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine is rated at 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This tester came with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system. Fuel mileage comes in at an EPA estimated 22/31 city/highway mpg and 25 combined mpg with all-wheel-drive.

Driving dynamics

BMW has always had a good all-wheel-drive system and the xDrive in the X1 is a must for those who live in northern or mountain climates. We put the X1 xDrive to the test in the mountains of Colorado this week. The xDrive worked perfectly as we powered through traffic and dirt roads in the Colorado high country.

In city driving, the X1’s turbo four-cylinder engine is smooth and powerful in normal driving situations. As we traveled up I-70 at the higher altitudes, the turbo kicks in and offers abundant power to zip past slower traffic. The eight-speed automatic transmission offers seamless shifts and we like the Sport mode gear selection for quicker shifts in our more spirited driving maneuvers.

The X1 rides more like a crossover than a sports utility. The ride is more compliant than in past models and it’s geared toward the average driver than the driving enthusiast. It still handles the curves without stumbling, but it has a more refined ride that families will like. Ride comfort takes precedence over sporty handling which is unusual for most BMW vehicles. But even with a more refined ride, the X1 still outperforms the Range Rover Evoque, Audi Q3, Acura RDX, Volvo XC60, and Ford Escape Titanium on the fun-to-drive meter.


Overall, the 2017 BMW X1 xDrive is a vehicle that offers families an intriguing blend of performance, comfort and utility. The interior ranks high in comfort and comes with more room for passengers. With the Slide and Recline Rear Seat option, rear passenger comfort is ramped up and the option makes it easier to load cargo. The X1 is fuel-efficient and easy to maneuver in the city and is a good urban runabout. It’s not as engaging for driving enthusiasts as past models, but families will enjoy its ride quality and it still outperforms the completion when it comes to driving dynamics.

Photo credit: BMW