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2020 BMW X1 Review

The 2020 BMW X1 looks all set to remain a best-seller. Only the X3 and X5 find more customers in the United States, while global sales of the X1 push it to the company’s top spot. There’s no need to go into the numbers, but it illustrates how the X1 is a well-executed premium subcompact crossover and one of the better choices in its class.

It has that much-prized elevated seating position set into a vehicle whose size is just right for many buyers. The rest of the X1 conforms to BMW’s usual high standards, with quality materials and excellent ergonomics. The company’s iDrive infotainment system has also evolved to a point where it’s one of the most user-friendly setups out there.

Even when it has front-wheel drive (FWD), there’s still something about a BMW that appeals to anyone who likes driving. Satisfying engine responses, a fine-tuned suspension and confidence-inspiring brakes are always part of the package.

In aspects where the X1 isn’t class-leading, it’s definitely hovering around the top. For city or country driving, or any points in between, the X1 merits a place on any potential buyer’s short list.

What’s New for 2020?

The 2020 X1’s exterior has been tweaked to fall more in line with its larger siblings like the X3 and X5. This includes a sculpted look to the grille and new tinted LED taillights. There are also fresh wheel designs and paint choices.

Inside, the previously optional 8.8-in infotainment touchscreen becomes standard. And a new gear selector signifies an updated 8-speed automatic transmission. See the 2020 BMW X1 models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Pleasing design for a crossover
  • Potent performance
  • Reasonable pricing for the class
  • Considerate fuel consumption

What We Don’t

  • Standard front seats not particularly supportive
  • Blind spot monitoring unavailable

How Much?


Fuel Economy

The X1 has a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine generating 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission sends this power to the front wheels in the sDrive model, or all four in the xDrive variant.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) puts fuel consumption at 24 miles per gallon in the city, 33 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg in combined driving (sDrive), or 23 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined (xDrive).

Standard Features & Options

The 2020 BMW X1 comes as the sDrive28i ($36,195) or the xDrive28i ($38,195).

Standard features include 18-in alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers, 8-way power-adjustable front seats with driver’s-side memory, simulated leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, push-button ignition, powered lift gate, forward-collision mitigation, lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams, rearview camera, front/rear parking sensors, iDrive infotainment system with an 8.8-in center screen, a USB port, Bluetooth phone/audio connectivity, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, navigation with real-time traffic updates and a 7-speaker audio system.

An optional Convenience package brings self-dimming mirrors, power-folding side mirrors, panoramic moonroof, keyless access, ambient cabin lighting and SiriusXM satellite radio.

The Premium package has everything from the Convenience package and adds heated front seats, heated steering wheel, head-up display and LED headlights with cornering lights. The Luxury package includes leather upholstery and wood trim.

The M Sport package entails a dedicated suspension, a recalibrated transmission, a special steering wheel with paddle shifters and an aerodynamic body kit (also revised for 2020).

Other extras include sport front seats, sliding/reclining rear seats, a 360-watt/12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, wireless charging, Wi-Fi and adaptive cruise control with stop/go and active driving assistance.

Cargo space is 27.1 cu ft. with the rear seats up, 58.7 cu ft. when they’re folded down. That’s pretty good for the class. Those rear seats split and fold in 40/20/40 fashion. The front passenger seat also folds down for extra cargo versatility.


Standard protection includes anti-lock brakes, side-curtain airbags, stability control, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking and parking sensors. Options include adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and an automated parking function. There’s no blind spot monitoring, however. Not even as an option.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the X1 its maximum overall score of five stars. The X1 achieved top scores of Good from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in most major test categories (the standard headlights were considered Marginal, the institute’s third-best score).

Behind the Wheel

Although 228 horsepower might sound modest, it’s satisfyingly energetic in a vehicle of this size. Standstill to 60 mph happens in a fairly brisk 6.3 seconds, while steering is precise and handling is predictable yet nimble.

The X1 also has a surprisingly relaxed demeanor, with smooth gear shifts and a compliant suspension. The M Sport package stiffens the ride, but such is the compromise that comes with an improvement in handling.

The main gripe is in the second row. While legroom is acceptable, that middle seat is for occasional use only. Drivers who transport multiple rear passengers on a regular basis will probably want to upgrade to at least an X3.

Other Cars to Consider

2020 Audi Q3 — New for 2020. Not as engaging to drive as the X1, but refined and roomy.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class — Reasonably priced, offering a lot of equipment and a decent turbocharged engine. Due for replacement, however.

2020 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque — The sporty Evoque oozes a particular style and presence. A second generation debuts for this model year.

2020 Lexus UX — Well-built, well-equipped, well-priced and relatively spacious. Enthusiasts will prefer to stick with the BMW, though.

2020 Volvo XC40 — Attractive, practical and keenly priced.

Used BMW X3 — For more power, space and performance, consider an X3. Naturally, new vehicle prices are higher, but a used or certified pre-owned (CPO) model could suit the budget and perhaps bring more equipment.

Autotrader’s Advice

It depends on local conditions (or the expectation of epic road trips) whether all-wheel drive (AWD) is worth the extra $2,000. It will come down to personal taste whether the stiffer suspension of the M Sport package is desirable. If the xDrive28i is the ideal choice, then consider the Premium package with the heated front seats and heated steering wheel. Find a BMW X1 for sale

Our editors are here to make car buying easier. We’ve driven, reviewed and compared thousands of cars. We’ve bought and sold more than our fair share, too. And as part of the sprawling Cox Automotive group of companies, we have exclusive access to a range of valuable data and insights. Whether you’re looking for the best car, the best deal or the best buying advice, you can trust... Read More about Autotrader

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