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2020 BMW X1 Review

The 2020 BMW X1 takes a top spot in our luxury subcompact SUV rankings thanks to its well-rounded performance, user-friendly features, and comfortable interior with plenty of room.

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious cargo area
  • Refined, powerful engine
  • Intuitive tech features
  • Lively handling
  • Low safety score for the class
  • Some unimpressive cabin materials

New for 2020

  • Refreshed exterior design
  • 8.8-inch infotainment touch screen now standard

Is the BMW X1 a Good SUV?

Yes, the BMW X1 is a great luxury subcompact SUV. It offers what many people want in a smaller crossover: plenty of passenger and cargo space, ample engine power, engaging driving dynamics, and a solid list of standard features that includes the user-friendly iDrive infotainment system. 

Although this BMW ranks near the pinnacle of its class, it's not without faults. Some cabin materials are of a lower quality than you would expect for a luxury SUV – or for a vehicle wearing the vaunted BMW emblem. Additionally, the X1's overall safety score is low for the class.

Should I Buy the BMW X1?

The X1 deserves a place on buyers' shopping lists because of its appealing combination of performance, space, and value. With one main trim level, a wide array of standard equipment, and different ways to add options, it's easy to get the X1 you want.

Rivals worth considering include the posh Audi Q3 and the engaging Jaguar E-Pace.

Compare the X1, Q3, and E-Pace »

Should I Buy a New or Used BMW X1?

For 2020, BMW slightly refreshes the X1’s exterior and adds an 8.8-inch infotainment touch screen to the standard features list. A 6.5-inch touch screen was standard in the 2019 X1, and the larger display was optional. If you like the updated look, you should buy a new BMW X1. If not, you may be better off shopping for a 2019 model that’s outfitted with the larger infotainment screen. It will be nearly identical to a new X1 and likely less expensive.

If you are shopping for an older model, the 2019 X1 is a better choice than previous models in this generation. For 2019, BMW added touch capability to the infotainment system, as well as several newly standard features, including navigation, Apple CarPlay, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. A rearview camera became standard for 2018. Front-wheel drive was made standard for 2017; all 2016 X1 models were all-wheel drive.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017 X1, 2018 X1, and 2019 X1 reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 X1 »

We Did the Research for You: 33 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 33 BMW X1 reviews – along with reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2020 X1 is the right new car for you. This 2020 BMW X1 review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2016.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain objective, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team manages the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the BMW X1 Cost?

The 2020 BMW X1 starts at $35,200, which is about average for a luxury subcompact SUV. The all-wheel-drive X1 starts at $37,200. There are a multitude of packages and individual options that can push the X1's price up to around $50,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great deals 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 Audi Q3?

The Audi Q3 joins the X1 near the top of the luxury subcompact SUV class. These German rivals are both great choices, but for different reasons. The BMW comes out on top in performance thanks to its sharper handling and better fuel economy. It also has several more cubic feet of cargo space than the Audi. However, the Q3 has one of the nicest interiors in the segment, surpassing the X1, which has a few unimpressive materials in its cabin. The Q3 also has a much better safety score and a lower starting price, as well as standard leather upholstery and all-wheel drive.

Which Is Better: BMW X1 or Jaguar E-Pace?

The Jaguar E-Pace has a lot going for it, but it can’t compete with the X1 head-to-head. The E-Pace has a roomy cargo hold, but the X1’s is larger. Also, the BMW’s second row is much more suitable for adults. Inside, the BMW comes out on top in infotainment usability and fuel economy. Both of these crossovers have some noticeably lower-rent interior touches, but they also boast deft handling and good acceleration. However, some critics deride the E-Pace for its excessive engine harshness. All things considered, you're probably better off sticking with the X1. The BMW costs several thousand dollars less than the E-Pace, which has one of the highest base prices in the class.

Compare the X1, Q3, and E-Pace »

X1 Interior

How Many People Does the X1 Seat?

The BMW X1 SUV has five seats, but four occupants is a more realistic expectation because of a narrow rear middle seat. The front seats are power-adjustable in eight ways, and you can opt for four-way lumbar adjustment. The seats provide good side support and remain comfortable for long trips. Front sport seats are optional.

Drivers should have good outward visibility thanks to a commanding seating position, and the setup of the gauges and dashboards lends a sporty, cockpitlike feeling. However, very short and very tall people may want for more ways to adjust the steering wheel position for better ergonomics.

Second-row head- and legroom should prove sufficient for adult passengers, as long as they're in one of the two outboard seats. If you regularly ferry around taller people, you may want to spring for an optional sliding and reclining back seat.

X1 and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the X1's rear outboard seats, as well as an additional tether anchor for the middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this LATCH system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use.

The lower anchors are easy to find because they're behind clearly marked plastic hinges. However, there's little room to maneuver your hands around the lower anchors to attach the car-seat straps. The tether anchors are easy to locate and distinct from other hardware.

X1 Interior Quality

BMW's entry-level SUV feels well put-together, and its cabin materials mostly match its luxury price point. Enhanced trim options such as wood grain and brushed aluminum make the interior feel more upscale. Still, the standard SensaTec synthetic leather upholstery is a little hard. There are also some harder plastic surfaces in noticeable places, but they're limited to areas you don't touch regularly.

X1 Cargo Space

The X1 bests nearly all other luxury subcompact SUVs in cargo space, offering 27.1 cubic feet behind the back seats. The 40/20/40-split-folding second row goes down nearly flat to open up 58.7 cubic feet. Those values make the X1 pretty competitive even against compact SUVs.

This BMW has enough room for several large suitcases or many smaller carry-on bags. A power liftgate is standard, and hands-free opening in the form of BMW's Comfort Access proximity keyless entry is optional.

X1 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The X1 comes standard with BMW's iDrive infotainment system, which earns a lot of a praise for its straightforward operation and easy controls. Its standard 8.8-inch touch screen has crisp graphics and responds quickly to inputs. You can also use a rotary knob on the center console for most functions if you don't feel like stretching to reach the screen. Both of these setups are simple to use, even when driving.

Navigation and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration come standard, but like all other BMW models, Android Auto is not still available. Optional features include satellite radio, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound stereo, wireless device charging, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

Read more about interior »

X1 Performance

X1 Engine: Tame but Competent

The BMW X1 comes equipped with a 228-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It helps get the car moving quickly from a stop, and power delivery up to cruising speeds is strong and steady. Though the X1 won’t throw you back in your seat, it offers plenty of muscle for your daily commute.

X1 Gas Mileage: Solid for the Class

With standard front-wheel drive, the 2020 X1 returns an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Those numbers are good for a luxury subcompact SUV. The all-wheel-drive BMW X1 xDrive gets 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

X1 Ride and Handling: Well-Rounded

The X1 is one of the more fun-to-drive small SUVs in this class thanks to its responsive handling and good corner-carving abilities. However, those who crave a sportier drive may find the steering a little light and numb. Furthermore, the suspension is a bit on the stiff side. This crossover rides smoothly over most bumps in the road, but larger imperfections may jostle the cabin.

Read more about performance »

X1 Reliability

Is the BMW X1 Reliable?

The 2020 BMW X1 has an above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

BMW X1 Warranty

BMW covers the X1 with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

How Much Does It Cost to Insure a BMW X1?

The cost of insuring a BMW X1 will depend on a variety of factors, including your deductible, the level of coverage that you want, and the type of insurance that you choose. Your age, gender, location, credit score, and driving record can also have an impact on your insurance rates. Check out our car insurance guide to find the best policy for you.

X1 Safety

X1 Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2020 BMW X1 an overall safety rating of five out of five stars. The X1 received five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover evaluations.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the X1 the highest rating of Good in all six crash tests. This BMW also received the second-highest rating of Advanced for the effectiveness of its standard front crash prevention features.

X1 Safety Features

The 2020 X1 comes standard with BMW's Active Driving Assistant, which includes forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, speed limit recognition, and automatic high-beam headlights. Rain-sensing windshield wipers, a rearview camera, and front and rear parking sensors are also standard.

Optional active safety features include a head-up display, adaptive headlights, stop-and-go adaptive cruise control, and automatic park assist.

Read more about safety »

X1 Dimensions and Weight

The BMW X1 is 14.6 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,554 to 3,713 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 BMW X1 Built?

BMW builds the 2020 X1 in Germany.

Which BMW X1 Model Is Right for Me?

The 2020 BMW X1 comes in two main models: the front-wheel-drive sDrive28i and the all-wheel-drive xDrive28i. All X1s come with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The base model is well-equipped with a standard infotainment system and a long list of driver assistance features. Many options can be added individually or as part of packages, but note that these can increase the BMW X1’s price by many thousands of dollars.

BMW X1 sDrive28i

The front-wheel-drive X1 sDrive28i starts at $35,200. Standard features include synthetic leather upholstery, eight-way power-adjustable front seats, automatic climate control, a power liftgate, a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, and an 8.8-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, navigation, Bluetooth, a USB port, a seven-speaker stereo, and HD Radio.

The X1 also comes standard with forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, speed limit recognition, automatic high-beam headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a rearview camera, and front and rear parking sensors.

The M Sport Design package costs $4,650 and adds an M steering wheel, a sport-tuned transmission, LED fog lights, and exterior enhancements. Genuine leather upholstery is available for $1,450.

The Convenience package ($2,550) comes with a panoramic moonroof, satellite radio, proximity keyless entry, LED fog lights, interior ambient lighting, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a universal garage door opener, four-way front-seat power lumbar adjustments, and power-folding, auto-dimming outside mirrors. The $5,000 Premium package has all of the contents of the Convenience package, as well as a head-up display, heated front seats, and adaptive headlights.

Stand-alone options include stop-and-go adaptive cruise control ($1,000), automatic park assist ($200), front sport seats ($400), a sliding and reclining rear seat ($300), a 12-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound stereo ($875), an M Sport suspension ($400), wireless device charging and a Wi-Fi hot spot ($500), and heated front seats and a heated steering wheel ($550).

BMW X1 xDrive28i

The BMW X1 xDrive28i comes with all-wheel drive and hill descent control, and it starts at $37,200. It has the same standard and optional features as the base model.

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.

See 2020 BMW X1 specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 BMW X1 combines a fun driving experience with everyday practicality, helping it earn a top spot in our luxury subcompact SUV rankings. Straightforward technology, a roomy cabin, and ample cargo space make this small BMW crossover a great choice in this class.

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

  • "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. … 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." -- Autotrader
  • "The 2020 X1 is … small but both effortlessly playful and uncompromisingly practical. It's powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that revs eagerly and smoothly with good fuel-economy ratings and plenty of power. The cabin is spacious for such a small crossover; four adults will ride in comfort, with room to spare for their luggage in the capacious cargo hold. It's this perfect blend of sport and function." -- Car and Driver
  • "There’s enough interior space to justify its SUV designation, and the turbocharged 4-cylinder delivers impressive performance backed by razor-sharp cornering, yet the X1’s firm ride isn’t unforgiving or overly harsh. Although more expensive than competitors … the X1 also bests these worthy opponents in almost every category, making it the small-luxury-crossover SUV to beat." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)


Expert Advice

Last Updated: April 23, 2020

Declining Sales: While the BMW X1 is selling in the middle of the luxury subcompact SUV segment, dealerships have sold 27.6 percent fewer models so far this year compared to the same period in 2019. One of its main competitors, the Audi Q3, is currently outselling the X1 by nearly 35 percent.

Research more buying advice »
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2020 BMW X1

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