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2019 BMW X1 Review

The 2019 BMW X1 is one of the highest-ranking luxury subcompact SUVs. It has the well-rounded performance you would expect from a BMW, highlighted by responsive steering and potent acceleration. A spacious interior and a great predicted reliability rating seal the deal.

Pros & Cons

  • Lively engine
  • Precise steering
  • Lots of passenger and cargo space
  • Excellent predicted reliability rating
  • Noticeable road and wind noise in the cabin

New for 2019

  • Touch functionality for the infotainment system
  • Navigation, voice control, Apple CarPlay, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning now standard

Is the BMW X1 a Good SUV?

The BMW X1 is one of the best luxury subcompact SUVs. This crossover boasts a powerful engine, and it tackles corners with enthusiasm. The X1 also maintains a composed ride and delivers good fuel efficiency. Its cargo capacity is among the highest in the class, and there's also a ton of space for passengers to get comfortable. The X1's few downsides include standard synthetic leather upholstery that isn't quite as luxurious as what you'll find in some classmates. Additionally, the cabin is plagued by some noticeable road and wind noise.

Should I Buy the BMW X1?

Nearly anyone looking to buy a small luxury SUV should consider the X1. Whether your priority is practicality or performance, the X1 delivers. You may also want to consider a rival like the Volvo XC40. It offers nimble handling but more powerful engine choices than the X1, in addition to a longer list of features. Both of these SUVs are far better choices than a lower-ranked SUV like the Mercedes-Benz GLA

Compare the X1, XC40, and GLA »

Should I Buy a New or Used BMW X1?

The 2019 X1 is part of a generation that debuted for the 2016 model year. It’s undergone some important changes over the years. For example, the 2016 X1 debuted with standard all-wheel drive, but BMW made it optional for the 2017 model year. For 2018, a rearview camera became standard. BMW added more standard features to the 2019 X1, including a 6.5-inch touch screen, a navigation system, and voice control. The X1 also gained several advanced safety features such as front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, and city collision mitigation. Purchasing an older model will likely save you a lot of money, but the 2019 X1 is more well-rounded.

If you're interested in a used model, be sure to read our reviews of the 2017 and 2018 X1. If you decide that a used X1 is for you, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 X1 »

We Did the Research for You: 31 Reviews Analyzed

To give you a complete overview of the 2019 X1 – and make your car-shopping experience easier – we analyzed 31 BMW X1 reviews alongside safety scores, performance specs, and more.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current X1 generation, which runs from 2016 to 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our crew has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we do not accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an external company manages the ads on our site.

How Much Does the BMW X1 Cost?

The 2019 X1 starts at around $34,950, which is about average for the class. Models with xDrive (all-wheel drive) cost $2,000 more.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local BMW dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our BMW deals page.

BMW X1 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: BMW X1 or Volvo XC40?

The Volvo XC40 gives the X1 a run for its money but comes up a little short in comparison. Like the BMW, the Volvo takes sharp turns with ease, and both of its standard and available turbocharged engines help deliver quick acceleration. The X1's seats are a little more supportive, and it has more cargo space and easier-to-use infotainment features than the XC40. The Volvo has a larger touch screen and more available safety technology, including the Pilot Assist driver assistance system. A better predicted reliability rating helps the X1 pull ahead in this matchup, though. 

Which Is Better: BMW X1 or Mercedes-Benz GLA?

The Mercedes-Benz GLA ranks low among luxury subcompact SUVs, and overall, it's a far cry from the X1. The Mercedes suffers from a cramped back seat, and it offers less cargo space than the BMW. A larger standard touch screen (measuring 8 inches compared to the X1's 6.5) and available Android Auto aren't enough to overcome the GLA's other interior woes. The Mercedes is available in a performance-oriented model – the AMG GLA 45 – that features a powerful 375-horsepower turbocharged engine. However, the BMW still bests this Benz in overall performance, with responsive handling, a comfortable ride, and a perfectly capable base engine. 

Compare the X1, XC40, and GLA »

X1 Interior

How Many People Does the X1 Seat?

The X1 has seating for up to five people. The seats are comfortable and supportive, and there's enough space for adults in both rows. Sliding and reclining second-row seats are available. According to some reviewers, sound insulation could be improved, as too much road and wind noise creep into the cabin.

X1 and Car Seats

There are two sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats. The rear middle seat has an additional upper tether. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the X1’s LATCH system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use. The IIHS noted that the lower anchors are difficult to maneuver around.

X1 Interior Quality

The X1 is praised for its premium styling and soft-touch dashboard, though some reviewers bemoan the standard synthetic leather upholstery. You can upgrade to genuine leather upholstery (which is standard in some rivals) and add upscale touches like brushed aluminum trim and wood accents.

X1 Cargo Space

The X1 has lots of cargo space compared to its competition. There's 27.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the back row and 58.7 cubic feet when you fold down the split-folding 40/20/40 rear seats. A power liftgate is standard.

X1 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

BMW added some new technology to the X1 for the 2019 model year, including a standard 6.5-inch touch-screen iDrive infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, navigation, and voice control. The standard infotainment system also comes with Bluetooth, HD Radio, and seven speakers.

You control the user-friendly system through either the touch screen or a rotary dial. This dial also has a touchpad that recognizes handwriting, allowing you to enter numbers and letters to input addresses into the navigation system. An 8.8-inch touch screen, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system, satellite radio, and a Wi-Fi hot spot are available.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

X1 Performance

X1 Engine: Enough Power

The X1 comes with one powertrain option: a 228-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. This engine has plenty of power, and the transmission provides smooth shifts for quick acceleration.

X1 Gas Mileage: On Par for the Class

The front-wheel-drive X1 earns an EPA-estimated 23 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. These estimates are about average for the class. The all-wheel-drive xDrive model gets 1 less mpg both in the city and on the highway.

X1 Ride and Handling: Responsive and Composed

The X1 has well-weighted steering, poised handling, strong brakes, and a somewhat firm suspension system, but it’s tuned more for comfort than sportiness. The available M Sport suspension system provides a stiffer, more athletic ride. Front-wheel drive is standard, and xDrive (BMW's all-wheel-drive system) is available.

Read more about performance »

X1 Reliability

Is the BMW X1 Reliable?

The 2019 X1 earns an excellent predicted reliability rating of 4.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

BMW X1 Warranty

The 2019 X1 comes with a four-year/50,000-mile new vehicle warranty.

Read more about reliability »

X1 Safety

X1 Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2019 X1 the highest rating of Good in all six crash tests performed. It received the highest rating of Advanced for its front crash prevention technology, but its headlights received the second-lowest rating of Marginal for how well the headlights illuminate the road ahead. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2019 X1 a five-star overall crash test rating, with five out of five stars in the side crash test, and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests. 

X1 Safety Features

The 2019 X1 comes with a hefty list of standard safety features, including a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, city collision mitigation, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams. A head-up display and park assist are available.

Read more about safety »

Which BMW X1 Model Is Right for Me?

The X1 comes in one main trim level: the sDrive28i. This front-wheel-drive base model costs $34,950 and has a respectable list of standard features that should be sufficient for most shoppers. Features include an iDrive infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, HD Radio, seven speakers, navigation, and voice control. Standard safety features include rain-sensing windshield wipers, a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, city collision mitigation, front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams.

The xDrive28i (the all-wheel-drive version of the X1) costs an extra $2,000. The M Sport package costs $4,650 and adds sport seats, a sport-tuned suspension, and unique styling. Several other packages and individual options are also available. Notable upgrades include an 8.8-inch touch screen, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a head-up display, park assist, keyless entry, satellite radio, and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system.

See 2019 BMW X1 specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 X1 should definitely be on your short list of luxury subcompact SUVs. It has balanced performance, with tight handling and a comfortable ride, and its lone available engine packs a punch. From a practical viewpoint, it also has abundant passenger and cargo space, as well as an outstanding predicted reliability rating. However, there is noticeable wind and road noise as well as low-grade synthetic leather upholstery in the cabin.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "A standout in the class, the 2019 BMW X1 is fun to drive, can haul a good amount of gear and is relatively easy on the wallet. Though we tend to think of BMW as a maker of premium cars with premium price tags, the truth is, there are a number of Bimmers that are actually quite affordable. Take this subcompact X1 crossover, for example, which starts around $35,000 -- the average transaction price of a new vehicle in the US." -- CNET
  • "It only took a few minutes behind the wheel of the 2019 BMW xDrive28i for us to conclude this may be one of our favorite BMW crossover SUVs." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The BMW X1 offers shoppers in the compact luxury crossover category an intriguing blend of performance, comfort and utility. If you're looking for something that cleverly blurs the line between a low-slung sedan and a high-riding SUV, the X1 is worth a test drive." -- Edmunds (2017)


Expert Advice

Last Updated: December 5, 2019

Declining Sales: After dominating the luxury subcompact SUV sales game in 2018, demand for the X1 has fallen steeply. While the X1 is still selling in the top third of the segment, dealerships have sold 37.5 percent fewer X1 models to date in 2019 compared to the same period last year.

Research more buying advice »

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