2016 BMW X1: An Excellent Crossover, if You Like That Sort of Thing!

2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i | MSRP: $34,800 | Price as tested: $43,620

Engine: 2.0L; 228 h.p.; 258 lb.-ft. | MPG: 22 city / 32 hwy

Features: Keyless, Run-flat tires, Slide and Recline Rear Seat, M Sport Suspension, Start-Stop Engine, Driving Dynamics Control, 8-Speed Steptronic, etc.

 

I’ve never really understood the small SUV or ‘CUV’ market. To me, you’re better served with a proper station wagon. I’ve made no secret out of how I feel about wagons, because as a car enthusiast, if I want to carry things and people, I’d rather do so with a low center of gravity and car-like handling. I constantly hear people praise SUV’s with, ‘It drives just like a car,’ or ‘car-like handling.’  Well, if you want that, why not just get a car?

But with over 4-million vehicles sold in this segment last year, there’s clearly a high demand for this type of vehicle. And the market is flooded with them. Every car company has marshalled all their resources in the pursuit of snatching a piece of this lucrative market, effectively killing the station-wagon market simultaneously.

BMW, for what it’s worth, is one of the few car companies that still imports wagons, despite killing the 5-Series Wagon for the latest generation and persisting rumors that we won’t get the next generation of 3-Series Wagon. For now, however, you can still get what is essentially the same car with the same features as the X1, but in wagon form with the 328i X-Drive Sport Wagon. But, if sitting higher is your thing – you absolutely can’t go wrong with this BMW X1.

First off, the 228hp twin-power Turbocharged 2.0-Liter engine is excellent at motivating the slightly heavy frame of this capable mini-truck. We do miss, however, the silky-sweet power delivery and sonorous sound of the inline 6 cylinders this engine replaced. While the turbo 4-banger actually has better torque delivery, and more instantaneous acceleration, it lacks the refinement of the 6-cylinder. It does, however, get much better mileage – a tradeoff most would be happy with.

But refinement is exactly what you get on the interior. I would say that one of the things that BMW consistently does best is putting together a high-quality interior. The materials and fit/finish are exceptional, if not a bit austere. This is Teutonic luxury, after all. But all that brushed aluminum trim and black leather just feels good – and in my experience…

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