Used 2016 BMW X1 Review
Edmunds expert review
If you are in the market for a luxury SUV in a small package, the 2016 BMW X1 is a good place to start. The BMW isn't the most fuel-efficient in its class, but if athleticism and cargo capacity are important to you, the BMW sets the bar. Which characteristics are most important to you in a compact SUV? Read on to decide.
What's new for 2016
If you're shopping for an entry-level BMW crossover SUV, you're going to end up looking at the X1, the automaker's smallest and most affordable utility vehicle. The previous-generation BMW X1 was great fun to drive but exceptionally tight on passenger space, and therefore pretty impractical for family use. It's a different story with the redesigned 2016 BMW X1, though, which is taller and wider and much roomier on the inside. That's not the only upgrade on the new X1, but it's the main reason to put this small luxury crossover back on your shopping list.
The all-new 2016 BMW X1 adopts front-wheel-drive architecture but retains its athletic SUV looks.
BMW purists might alert you to the fact that the X1 is no longer based on the rear-wheel-drive 3 Series and now shares its front-wheel-drive platform architecture with the Mini Cooper family (BMW owns Mini). We'll agree that it's a little weird to have "front-wheel drive" and "BMW" in the same sentence, but for the majority of shoppers interested in an entry-level luxury crossover, there's no significant downside to this change. Minis are already known for their nimble handling, so there's hardly any great loss in raiding the corporate parts bin, while the standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine, while down on power compared to last year's four-cylinder X1, should deliver acceleration and fuel mileage that's as good as or better than any of this crossover's four-cylinder rivals. Plus, all-wheel drive is also standard, so every 2016 X1 is suitable for winter-weather driving.
Inside the 2016 BMW X1, head-, shoulder and legroom have all increased, especially in the backseat. Cargo capacity is now near the top of the class, though anyone needing serious cubic footage would do better with a larger crossover like the X3. Cabin materials are noticeably nicer than before, and the X1's front occupants finally get standard power-adjustable seats. There are a few new technology features, too, including an available head-up display, a hands-free power liftgate and a frontal collision mitigation system with pedestrian detection.
Within the growing class of small luxury crossover SUVs, the BMW X1 is easily one of the most appealing options for 2016. You'll find interior accommodations of similar quality in competitors like the Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA250, but adults will have trouble getting comfortable in their snug backseats, and both crossovers are quite a bit slower than the X1. The distinctively styled Lexus NX 200t has a nicely appointed cabin of its own and a good-sized rear seat, but offers very little cargo space when that seat's in use. Meanwhile, the larger and somewhat more expensive Acura RDX is better suited for families than the others and remains an excellent value for shoppers who prefer a six-cylinder engine.
That's not to say the 2016 BMW X1 wouldn't also work for a small family. Whereas its predecessor was narrowly focused on delivering a sporty driving experience, this new X1 is far more practical and worth considering if you want a useful luxury crossover with a small footprint.
Trim levels & features
The 2016 BMW X1 is a small luxury crossover SUV with seating for five. It's offered in a single xDrive28i trim level.
Standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels, automatic windshield wipers, a power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, eight-way power front seats, driver memory settings, "SensaTec" premium vinyl upholstery and a 40/20/40-split-folding rear seat. Standard electronic features include BMW's iDrive interface with a touchpad controller and 6.5-inch screen, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a seven-speaker sound system with HD radio, a CD player and a USB input.
There are several major option packages for the 2016 BMW X1. The Premium package adds keyless ignition and entry, hands-free control for the power liftgate, adaptive LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, power-folding mirrors, four-way power lumbar for the front seats and interior ambient lighting. Meanwhile, the Luxury package is your ticket to real leather upholstery and wood interior trim. The Technology package will be a must for smartphone addicts, as it bundles BMW's integrated smartphone apps, navigation and an upgraded 8.8-inch display screen. The M Sport package (late availability) adds sportier programming for the automatic transmission, a sport-tuned suspension, exterior aerodynamic trim pieces, sport seats and an M Sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, and requires that you order summer performance run-flat tires as a no-cost add-on (in lieu of the standard all-season run-flat tires).
On the safety front, there are two Driver Assistance packages. The base package bundles a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors and an automated parallel-parking system that steers the X1 into spots for you. The Plus version of this package must be purchased in combination with the adaptive cruise control option. It adds a frontal collision warning and mitigation system with pedestrian detection, lane departure warnings, automatic high-beam headlight control and speed limit information. Note that if you order the Cold Weather package (heated steering wheel and front seats), you lose the heated steering wheel when the Driver Assistance Plus package is equipped.
One individual option that most BMW X1 buyers will want to get is recline and fore-and-aft sliding adjustment for the rear seats. This option also includes power fold-down capability for the seats. Other notable add-ons are 19-inch wheels and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. You can also get conventional all-season tires instead of run-flat tires.
Performance & mpg
For 2016, every BMW X1 comes with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine rated at 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission drives all four wheels through the standard all-wheel-drive system, which also includes hill descent control.
The 2016 BMW X1 comes with a fair number of standard features, but if you want this widescreen infotainment display, you'll need the Technology package.
At the Edmunds test track, an X1 with 19-inch all-season tires sprinted from zero to 60 mpg in 6.5 seconds, making it one of the quicker vehicles in its class. The EPA's estimated fuel economy for the 2016 X1 is 26 mpg combined (22 city/32 highway).
Every 2016 BMW X1 comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes (with automatic brake drying), front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, front knee airbags, active front-seat head restraints and hill descent control. Also standard is the BMW Assist emergency communications system, which provides automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle recovery and on-demand roadside assistance.
Optional safety equipment includes the rearview camera and parking sensors that are part of the basic Driver Assistance package. The Plus version of that package provides more advanced driver aids like a frontal collision warning and mitigation system with pedestrian detection and lane departure warnings.
In Edmunds brake testing, an X1 with 19-inch wheels and all-season tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 109 feet, an exceptionally short stopping distance for a car in this class.
Most buyers will be happy with the turbocharged four-cylinder engine that comes in every 2016 BMW X1. This engine is smooth and powerful in normal driving situations, and should be quite fuel-efficient. The eight-speed automatic transmission shifts unobtrusively, though the quicker gearchanges that come when you select Sport mode in iDrive feel more appropriate for matching BMW's "Ultimate Driving Machine" tagline.
Earlier BMW X1s were known for their extraordinarily athletic handling. You'll still have fun driving the 2016 X1 around tight turns, but in general, it feels more like a utility vehicle and less like a car. The light-effort steering is precise, but if you've previously owned a BMW, you might find it lacking in feedback. Ride comfort also takes greater priority on the 2016 BMW X1, though you'll likely want to avoid the 19-inch wheels if you regularly drive on rough roads.
Whereas earlier BMW X1s had a fairly plain interior design, the 2016 X1 is more inviting and has one of the most elegant cabins in this price range. The expensive-looking dash combines BMW's classic analog gauges with modern technology and high-quality materials, although, you'll need to ante up for the optional 8.8-inch iDrive display screen to enjoy the full effect. The biggest upgrade compared to last year's X1, though, is the increase in passenger space.
From the driver seat, the 2016 X1 feels less like a sport sedan than its predecessor, but it's still a swift and dynamic drive, with better ride quality to boot.
You'll especially notice the difference in the backseat, where there's more room in every direction. Transporting adults and teenagers in the backseat should be a far more pleasant task, and installing a rear-facing car seat is finally a viable proposition (depending on which child safety seat you have, of course). Still, you'll definitely want to spend a few extra bucks on the optional slide and recline adjustment for the rear seats. With the rear seats in use, you'll have 17.8 cubic feet at your disposal for hauling groceries. With that upgraded rear seat equipped, you can fold down the seats at the touch of a button and open up 58.7 cubic feet, which is a good number for a small luxury crossover. Owners will also find plenty of small storage slots in the front seat.
Although we would have liked to see BMW equip the redesigned X1 with a newer-generation touchscreen with pinch-and-swipe capability (as in the 2016 7 Series), its iDrive technology interface is still functional and fairly easy to use. An integrated touchpad on the main control dial lets you scrawl text and number inputs with your fingertip, a feature that's more useful than you might think. The menu structure is straightforward and processing times are quick, which helps minimize the amount of time you spend looking away from the road.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.