Overview

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Overview (Final Score: A)
The 2016 BMW X1 is completely new for this model year. The new X1 is based, surprisingly, on the BMW MINI Cooper rather than the previous-generation's 3 Series roots. This has meant that the X1 gains a lighter feel, better performance, and more spacious use of its interior versus the previous generation. All good improvements for this compact crossover.

The premium/luxury compact crossover segment is booming and competition is fierce. This newly redesigned X1 puts the BMW offering back on the playing field as a solid competitor. It's peppy, nimble, roomy, and downright fun to drive. All great points.

The 2016 BMW X1 is a five-passenger compact crossover in the luxury segment. It comes standard with all-wheel drive, automated wipers and climate controls, premium upholstery, split-fold rear seating, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen with navigation. A single trim level is offered with option packages for upgrade.

What We Loved About the 2016 BMW X1


  • Roomy and comfortable with plenty of cargo space.

  • Nimble and fun to drive with a lot of sport appeal.

  • Great fuel economy for the class.


What We Didn't Love About the 2016 BMW X1


  • Premium fuel requirement.

  • Lack of crash test data.

  • Expected reliability is only average.


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Exterior View (10/10 relative to market)
The 2016 BMW X1 has a look that no one will mistake for anything but a BMW. With its saloon-ish hood, kidney grille, raked front glass, and shooting brake-style rear end, the X1 looks the part of a Bimmer. German style is found throughout and details bear out the premium quality of this little crossover.

The kidney-shaped grille tops a mustachioed lower intake and is flanked by peering dual-light headlamps. The long, sloped hood meets the rounded, raked windscreen in a curve. From the side, a narrowing greenhouse and rounded roof line give a speedy feel while body lines accent the movement potential. The rear is slightly rounded, but clipped in a fastback shooting brake style. Only the wide body stance, high clearance, and large wheel well gaps indicate the crossover status of the X1.

No matter the angle of approach, the 2016 X1 is a good looking little vehicle with a lot of eye appeal.

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Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (10/10)
The X1's complete redesign for 2016 really shows in the interior's vast upgrades from the previous generation. This little crossover is no longer the cramped little side note in the BMW lineup, seeing a huge amount of interior space added and a lot of upscale touches more fitting for a German luxury vehicle.

The dashboard has been lifted and lightened, making it far more modern and appealing. Straight lines are found everywhere to create a sort of industrial appeal with a very Teutonic aesthetic, flowing off of one another beautifully. These are offset by classic BMW round, analog gauges. The cabin of the BMW X1 is now one of the best in the segment with more luxury and comfort than many others at the same price point.

Seating in the X1 is very good, with the driver and front passenger enjoying a very comfortable, adjustable experience with good bolstering and smart storage and controls placement.

Rear seating sees big improvements from the previous generation X1. Adults can now occupy the rear seats without much complaint. Legroom will still be at a premium for taller folks, but that's to be expected in any compact crossover. Child safety seats are now easy to install in both front and rear facing configurations.

Cargo space in the 2016 X1 is good at 17.8 cubic feet with all seats up. In upper trims with the slide-recline rear seating option, those seats fold down to give 58.7 cubic feet of cargo space when needed. Those seats fold at the touch of a button.

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Technology (9/10)
Technology in the X1 centers on the iDrive interface with a 6.5-inch touchscreen as standard and an 8.8-inch touchscreen upgrade offered with the Technology package option. A command knob at the driver's right hand, just below the shifter, includes quick buttons for menu jumping and the knob can be turned, slid, and pressed for inputs. The touchpad at the top of the knob allows for input in navigation and other controls to simplify things.

The interface is good and relatively easy to use, though the "dialing" menus are sometimes a bit tedious. Voice controls are average in terms of how well they work. The X1 does not have an option for the latest BMW infotainment, however.

Fuel Economy (9/10)
The EPA rates the 2016 BMW X1 at 26 mpg combined with 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. In our real-world driving for a week, which was heavy on highway usage, we achieved 27 mpg overall, so those EPA numbers may not be completely accurate for every owner. We do note that crosswinds and altitude can play a role in our testing in Wyoming.

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Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (8/10)
The 2016 X1 is rated by the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study as being "About Average" in expectation. This is an improvement over the previous generation and is about the average rating for most BMW vehicles. There are no recalls for the 2016 X1 and it has a better warranty than many other vehicles on the market at four years and 50,000 miles.

Safety (8/10)
Although our safety score could be higher for this vehicle, we had to keep it reasonable because there have been no published crash test results for this new-generation X1. Despite that, we note the bevvy of included safety equipment and options the X1 sports and BMW's overall reputation for safety and technology as good signs that the 2016 X1 will ultimately do well once crash test scores are given.

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Performance (9/10)
A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine outputting 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque powers the BMW X1. Fans of the MINI will recognize this engine immediately. An eight-speed automatic transmission with all-wheel drive (standard) takes power to the wheels and offers hill descent control to boot.

The 2016 BMW X1 seems a bit underpowered on paper, but this tiny SUV drives extremely well and we achieved 0-60 mph times of under 7 seconds routinely. That's quick for a crossover of any kind. On the road, the X1 is sporty and feels light and nimble. In practice, it is definitely easy to maneuver, though visibility to the rear can become an issue in some cases. On the up side, a rearview camera is standard equipment for parking.

The X1 is not as quiet on the highway as some higher-end competitors may be, but for the price point, it's reasonably quiet and well-mannered. The sporty chassis can mean that some road bumps are more apt to translate into the vehicle, but most will find this less annoying than might otherwise be expected thanks to the fun nature and engaging drive dynamics of the X1.

Pricing and Value (9/10)
With a starting price around $35,000 and a well-equipped price at just a couple of thousand over that, the 2016 X1 is a great value considering what's included. With AWD as standard, with a turbocharged engine included, and with the excellent interior quality and roominess it has, the X1 is a great choice at a good price point.

There are competitive vehicles that may meet this same value proposition, however, so shoppers not sold by brand may wish to look around before purchasing. We also note the premium fuel requirement of the X1 and its only average reliability expectation as negatives here. Knowing all of that, though, we would still recommend the X1 as a solid choice in the premium compact crossover segment.

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Total Score and Competitive Comparison (72/80, 90%)
When it's all added up, the 2016 BMW X1 is an easy A. It does pay, however, to look at the competition, which offers many excellent alternatives in this premium segment. The Audi Q3 is similar in sportiness, but doesn't have the roominess that the X1 provides. The lexus NX 200t is a great choice as an alternative, though the X1 offers more cargo room and better road handling. The best competition against the X1 is the Acura RDX, which is a bit larger and more spacious, but doesn't offer the same fuel economy and is a bit more expensive off the lot.

For practicality mixed with fun driving and good daily use, the 2016 BMW X1 is a great offering in the compact crossover segment. Its luxury level refinement comes at a reasonable price.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
SUV - AWD
xDrive28i AWD 4dr SAV 4 Cylinder AWD 34800
xDrive28i AWD 4dr SAV Brazil 4 Cylinder AWD 34800

Comparison of 2016 BMW X1 with Similar Cars

2016 BMW X1 MSRP Invoice
2016 BMW X1 $34,800 $32,515
Similar Cars to Consider MSRP Invoice Compare
2016 Toyota 4runner $34,010 $31,289 2016 BMW X1 VS 2016 Toyota 4runner
2016 Cadillac SRX $37,605 $35,537 2016 BMW X1 VS 2016 Cadillac SRX
2016 Acura RDX $35,370 $33,287 2016 BMW X1 VS 2016 Acura RDX
2016 Lincoln MKC $33,260 $31,597 2016 BMW X1 VS 2016 Lincoln MKC
2016 Mercedes-Benz Gla-Class $32,500 $30,225 2016 BMW X1 VS 2016 Mercedes-Benz Gla-Class

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2016 BMW X1 ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2016 BMW X1 rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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