The new BMW iX1 looks like one of the most promising new Bimmers to date. Its all-electric powertrain is both powerful and decently efficient, while also providing all-wheel drive grip. Additionally, its interior packs tons of space and practicality, which will make it useful for real customers. It’s also relatively unique in the segment, as there won’t be too many natural competitors once it goes on sale. However, one of its closest new rivals will be this–the Volvo XC40 Recharge.
We obviously haven’t driven the BMW iX1 yet, as it’s still super new and no one has, nor have we driven the Volvo XC40 Recharge because, well, Volvo hasn’t yet let us. So we can’t comment on how they’ll drive or how their ranges/efficiency compare. We can compare their styling, though, and so we shall.
Much like the BMW iX1 and the X1, the Volvo XC40 Recharge is almost identical to the standard XC40. That’s no bad thing, though. The Volvo XC40 is one of the best looking small crossovers on the market. It’s a few years old now but it still looks great and the all-electric Recharge is no different.
Up front, the Volvo I think takes the win. Its simple, elegant, perfectly proportioned, and has a headlight design called “Thor’s Hammer,” how does one not love that. To be fair, the new BMW iX1 looks really good and has one of the best faces of any modern BMW. However, Volvo’s simplistic, less-is-more approach to design is hard to beat.
When you look at them in profile, I think the BMW iX1 takes it. Both are really good looking from the side but it’s the Bimmer that looks sportier and more engaging. It sits on its large wheels nicely, which makes it look sporty, its roofline is more aggressively raked, as is its shoulder line, and its Hofmeister Kink is one of the best to be fitted to a modern Bimmer. The XC40 Recharge is great looking too but more as a piece of sculpture. I want to put an XC40 on my desk and admire it but I want to get in and drive the iX1.
I have to give the nod to the BMW iX1 out back, too. Its taillights, which feature a sort of wraparound “L” shape, are heavily sculpted and look far more interesting than the upright stick lights of the XC40. The BMW also has a better rear roof spoiler, which looks sportier. Again, the Volvo has a good looking back end but the iX1 is just a bit better looking.
Again, the BMW iX1 takes the win inside. While the Volvo XC40 has a nice enough interior, it’s a bit too bland inside to match the much newer iX1’s. That’s admittedly not very fair, considering the XC40 debuted a few years ago and the iX1 debuted five minutes ago, but that doesn’t make it any less true. The iX1’s cabin looks smart, is packed with tech, looks premium, and has some more modern looking features, such as the nicely sculpted steering wheel and cantilevered arm rest. The XC40’s cabin is nice but it’s pretty spartan. Plus, I’ve been inside it and know the materials aren’t up to snuff and Volvo’s infotainment system pales in comparison to BMW’s iDrive 8.
There you have it, folks. The BMW iX1 takes an easy win over an aging Volvo XC40 Recharge, in terms of design. Typically, front-wheel crossovers from BMW don’t do well in these photo comparison tests but BMW’s design team did a great job with this new iX1.