BMW’s second-generation X1 takes a lot of heat from many car enthusiasts for switching to front-wheel drive, especially in America where it’s the first front-drive Bimmer ever. This is exacerbated by the fact that the first-gen BMW X1 was rear-wheel drive-based and an absolute blast to drive. However, BMW needed to add some more space, more practicality and more everyday usability to its smallest SUV, so the second-gen swapped drive-axles.
When equipped with xDrive all-wheel drive, though, the new X1 is still a fantastic car and we’re big fans here. I remember the first time I drove the new X1 and hopped behind the wheel with extreme skepticism. Boy, was I wrong. It genuinely handles well and has excellent steering feel. It might actually have better steering feel than the 3 Series. It’s without a doubt the best small premium crossover in the segment and Mat Watson from Carwow seems to agree.
In this latest video review, Watson starts off by going over just how practical it is. With a massive trunk and opening, larger than most of its competitors, you can fit a ton of luggage and cargo inside. It has a ton of places to hook and tether things to, it has a large under-floor storage space in the trunk and easy fold-down rear seats. For practicality purposes, it crushes the previous generation and most of its current competition. It also has a great back seat, with loads of knee room and enough space to fit three adults side-by-side in relative comfort.
But the biggest improvement on the interior has to be the quality. While the first-gen X1 was nice inside, this new car just feels leaps and bounds better. All of the materials feel premium and the design is modern and practical. It also looks great from the inside and there are about one million bins and cubby spaces to put stuff.
In terms of driving dynamics, there isn’t another premium crossover than can hang with the X1. It might be front-wheel drive-based, but the little X1 is a fun and tossable thing. You can actually feel the road, through both the steering wheel and the seat of your pants. While the Land Rover Disco Sport is a great SUV, it’s more of a truck and less fun to drive. The Mercedes GLC-Class is also very good but far more luxury oriented and too soft. The X1 blends comfort and fun in a cohesive and practical package that’s near impossible to beat.
The only real issues with the X1 were the coarseness of the 2.0 liter turbo-diesel engine and the price. But if you forgo the bigger engine — which is doesn’t need anyway — for a smaller one and take it easy on the options list, you get a car that has everything any buyer in the segment could ask for.
That’s why Watson recommends that, if you’re in the market for such a car, go and buy the BMW X1 right now because it’s the best car in the segment.