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2016 BMW X1 xDrive 28i Review by John Heilig +VIDEO

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By John Heilig

ENGINE: 2.0-liter twin turbocharged I-4
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed Steptronic with manual mode
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 228 hp @ 5,000 rpm/258 lb.-ft. @ 1,250-4,800 rpm
WHEELBASE: 108.7 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 176.8 x 70.8 x 60.8 in.
TIRES: P225/50R17
CARGO: 25.0/56.0 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)
ECONOMY: 22 mpg city/32 omg highway/26.1 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 16.6 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 3,726 lbs.
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Audi Q3, Buick Encore, Ford Escape
STICKER: $43,945 (includes $995 delivery, $8,150 options)
BOTTOM LINE: BMW’s smallest Sport Activity Vehicle is a pleasure to drive. It is essentially silent on good roads, and has just enough BMW power and luxury to make it fun.

BMW calls its sport utility vehicles Sport Activity Vehicles. There’s still plenty of utility the X1. I like the size, about the same as a Ford Escape. Yet it offers BMW luxury and power despite being the smallest of BMW’s five SAVs. I had an opportunity to compare it side-by-side with other SUVs and the X1 held up well.

The X1’s 2.0-liter Twin turbocharged inline four delivers a healthy 228 horsepower. We had no trouble getting up and going no matter what the road, Interstate or winding country lane. The engine is also essentially silent. We found we had to use cruise control just to keep me honest because there’s no engine feedback noise. The Heads Up Display does remind you of your speed, but a heavy right foot can be troublesome nevertheless.

There is a control switch on the center console that adjusts the car’s set-up for Comfort, Sport or EcoPro. What this does is adapt the responsiveness of the accelerator pedal and steering as well as the shift characteristics of the transmission. We kept it in Sport most of the time.

The X1 is a second-generation car and is all new, with a new body design, an efficiently-optimized version of BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system and newly developed chassis technology. Additionally, there is increased interior room for added comfort.

I had one problem with the shoulder belt. It is fixed at the door pillar and can’t be adjusted, so it usually ran across my neck unless I set the driving position high, which I don’t like. I ended up using a hook that ties the lap and shoulder belt together, adjusting the angle. I use it in our family car as well.

Other than the shoulder belt, the front seats are comfortable with decent side support. Rear legroom is very good. Our tester came equipped with optional slide and reclining rear seats that add up to 2.6 inches in rear legroom.

Sport Utility/Activity Vehicles made their reputation as cargo carriers that can be driven (almost) anywhere. The X1 is no slouch in cargo carrying. I was able to fit a golf bag diagonally with the rear seat backs up, although I could have folded them (40-20-40) to make stowing the bag easier. There is additional storage under the floor of the cargo area. The power lift gate operates with the key fob as well as a switch on the driver’s door.

Interior storage consists of room for water bottles, etc. in all door pockets, and a large cubby at the base of the center stack. The small center console/arm rest also has USB and AUX outputs. The two cupholders are positioned close to the center stack making it difficult if you have tall bottles or cups.

BMW’s iDrive is a knob in the center of the center console that is a simple way to control audio and HVAC functions. It also is used to program destinations into the navigation system and it works easily.

Parking assist helps with a rear view camera and front park assist that alerts you if you are too close to an obstacle. This is annoying when you’re trying to get close to an ATM machine, but it is also comforting to know it’s working. The right exterior mirror also dips when you shift into reverse to help find the curb.

The X1 has a basic instrument panel with a tachometer and speedometer as well as the HUD. In the center of the dash is a large clear infotainment screen that can be read easily under all light conditions.

The BMW X1 is an easy vehicle to drive. It is an SAV, or SUV, but it drives like a mid-size sedan. It’s just more useful.

(c) 2016 The Auto Page Syndicate.

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