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The BMW X1 is a crossover that’s called a subcompact because it’s built on the Mini platform, but given its height, no one would think of it as being sub-compact.
This second-generation X1 was launched as a 2016 model. New for 2017, X1 is available with front-wheel drive.
Besides the twin-kidney grille, there isn’t that much to differentiate the X1. The handling is pleasant enough, but not inspiring; from behind the wheel, especially with front-wheel drive, you might think you’re driving a Ford or Kia. The X1 is less costly than you might expect from BMW, and the interior materials reflect that.
BMW sees among its competitors the Range Rover Evoque and Audi Q3, but we’d add the Acura RDX, Volvo XC60, or even the Ford Escape Titanium to the list. Comparing the features of these vehicles to the X1, they look pretty good.
The BMW X1 uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, mated to a paddle-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission. It’s really quick, maybe the best thing about the car, with strong power for passing.
BMW engineering almost always brings good fuel mileage. The X1 rates an EPA-estimated 23/32 mpg City/Highway, or 26 mpg Combined with front-wheel drive, one per gallon lower with xDrive all-wheel drive.
The IIHS gives it its best rating, Top Safety Pick Plus.