• The base-level X1 returns 34 highway miles per gallon
  • All-wheel drive models return 33 mpg
  • The X1 is on sale now from $31,545

BMW's latest crossover offers the best fuel economy in its class. That's the latest from the federal government's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which recently announced that the 2013 BMW X1 will return 24 mpg in the city and a whopping 34 mpg in highway driving for a combined average of 28 mpg.

According to the EPA, those figures are for the base-level, rear-wheel-drive X1 sDrive28i, which features a 241-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder powerplant mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. An all-wheel-drive version of the same model, dubbed the X1 xDrive28i, touts similarly impressive fuel economy figures of 22 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway for a combined city and highway total of 26 mpg.

The EPA also announced fuel economy ratings for the more powerful X1 xDrive35i, which borrows its 300-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine from BMW's performance-oriented 335i sedan. According to the government agency, the xDrive35i is capable of 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg in highway driving for a combined average of 21 mpg. The combined fuel economy figure isn't a direct average of the city and highway ratings, but rather slightly biased towards city usage to reflect a typical driving cycle.

Thanks to its stellar highway fuel economy rating, the base-level X1 boasts the best gas mileage in its growing compact premium crossover segment. Rivals include Buick's upcoming Encore crossover, along with the larger Acura RDX and Range Rover Evoque. While the Encore was recently rated at a competitive 33 mpg in highway driving, the RDX and Evoque both top out at 28 mpg on the highway, and just below 20 mpg in city driving.

But while the X1 is today's fuel economy champion among compact premium SUVs, it might not hold that title for long. That's because small crossovers from several manufacturers, including Audi, Lexus and Lincoln, are on the way--and each will focus sharply on fuel economy in the wake of tightening government regulation and rising gas prices.

The 2013 BMW X1 is officially on sale now with a starting price of $31,545 including destination for the base-level sDrive28i model. The all-wheel-drive X1 xDrive28i starts at $33,245 with destination, while the xDrive35i model offers a base price of $39,345 with shipping.

What it means to you: If you're interested in an upscale crossover but worried about fuel economy, check out the BMW X1.


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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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