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2020 BMW X1
$35,200 — $37,200 MSRP
30
Photos
SUV
5 Seats
26-27 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 2 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Tight turning circle
  • Responsive powertrain
  • Fuel economy
  • Roomy cabin
  • Cargo and storage space
  • Quality cabin materials

The Bad

  • Complicated multimedia system
  • Firm ride
  • Blind spot detection unavailable
  • Android Auto unavailable
  • Mushy brakes
  • Slight accelerator lag
2020 BMW X1 exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2020 BMW X1
  • Five-seat small SUV
  • Updated exterior styling
  • Larger standard multimedia touchscreen
  • Turbo four-cylinder engine
  • Front- or all-wheel drive
  • Apple CarPlay and navigation standard

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2020 BMW X1 Review

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

We take the 2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i, priced at $37,200, for a spin and take a look at its interior, exterior and handling.

By Jennifer Geiger

The verdict: The 2020 BMW X1 delights with powertrain pep and on-road poise, but its multimedia system is a big-time frustration.

Versus the competition: Like several others in the class, the X1 deftly combines luxury and fun, rising above the crowd in terms of roominess and fuel economy but sinking below the rest in multimedia usability.

Related: How Do Car Seats Fit in a 2020 BMW X1?

The X1 is BMW’s smallest SUV and seats five. It got some minor styling tweaks for 2020, including a larger version of the automaker’s kidney grille, punctuated by updated LED headlights and a more muscular bumper. See it compared with last year’s version.

It goes head to head against the likes of the Audi Q3, Cadillac XT4 and Volvo XC40; compare them.

Lively Engine, Playful Feel

Driving the X1 was a delight. After just a hint of lag, the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine was lively from a stop, and clean, snappy shifts from the eight-speed automatic quickly furnished more power. For 2020, BMW revised the transmission’s gear ratios for quicker performance, with 0-60 mph acceleration now happening in 6.3 seconds for the all-wheel-drive X1 xDrive28i and 6.6 seconds in the X1 sDrive28i, BMW says.

Popping the X1 into Sport mode (via a button near the center console) amped up the level of engagement with increased accelerator response and firmer steering. Eco mode did the opposite, dulling throttle to benefit fuel economy; Comfort mode splits the difference.

Especially in Sport mode, the X1 is as spirited...

The verdict: The 2020 BMW X1 delights with powertrain pep and on-road poise, but its multimedia system is a big-time frustration.

Versus the competition: Like several others in the class, the X1 deftly combines luxury and fun, rising above the crowd in terms of roominess and fuel economy but sinking below the rest in multimedia usability.

Related: How Do Car Seats Fit in a 2020 BMW X1?

The X1 is BMW’s smallest SUV and seats five. It got some minor styling tweaks for 2020, including a larger version of the automaker’s kidney grille, punctuated by updated LED headlights and a more muscular bumper. See it compared with last year’s version.

It goes head to head against the likes of the Audi Q3, Cadillac XT4 and Volvo XC40; compare them.

Lively Engine, Playful Feel

Driving the X1 was a delight. After just a hint of lag, the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine was lively from a stop, and clean, snappy shifts from the eight-speed automatic quickly furnished more power. For 2020, BMW revised the transmission’s gear ratios for quicker performance, with 0-60 mph acceleration now happening in 6.3 seconds for the all-wheel-drive X1 xDrive28i and 6.6 seconds in the X1 sDrive28i, BMW says.

Popping the X1 into Sport mode (via a button near the center console) amped up the level of engagement with increased accelerator response and firmer steering. Eco mode did the opposite, dulling throttle to benefit fuel economy; Comfort mode splits the difference.

Especially in Sport mode, the X1 is as spirited as the Q3 and more playful than the XC40, with a firm, controlled ride to complement direct steering and an overall feeling of nimbleness. Its small turning radius made short work of parking maneuvers. Buyers can opt for an M Sport suspension for more dialed-in road manners.

It also rises above the rest in fuel economy. In base two-wheel-drive trim, the X1 gets an EPA-estimated 24/33/27 mpg city/highway/combined, a smidge better than 2WD versions of the Cadillac XT4 (24/30/26 mpg) and Volvo XC40 (23/33/27 mpg), and a lot better than a base Audi Q3 (19/27/22 mpg), though that car  has standard all-wheel drive. Like the others, the X1 is available with all-wheel drive; there’s a small mileage penalty, however, of 1 mpg combined.

There are a few blemishes on the X1’s road manners. First, the automatic engine stop-start system needs work. Where the rest of the powertrain is smooth overall, the system shudders to life awkwardly. Second, the X1’s taut suspension and stiff ride don’t play nicely with bumpy roads. Lastly, noise isolation could be better; quite a bit of road and wind noise make their way into the cabin.

Control Woes

While the exterior got an update for 2020, not much changed on the inside this year aside from some new contrast stitching for the imitation leather seats and surfaces. As before, the cabin waves its luxury-car flag with lovely gloss wood paneling and leather trim. A few cheap spots stand out, like some hard plastic on the door, but the overall vibe is quality.

What needs an update (another one) is BMW’s multimedia system. Last year’s standard 6.5-inch display is gone, replaced by the previously optional 8.8-inch unit, which is now standard. It comes with navigation and Apple CarPlay compatibility but no Android Auto (a problem for me).

More problems: The X1’s multimedia system bundles navigation, radio, phone and the car’s overall systems menu, all controlled by a rotary knob. The system is both distracting and annoying to control via the console-area knob, which I also found ergonomically challenging to reach. Eschewing the knob for the touchscreen solves some of that, but the system’s menu structure isn’t very straightforward, so tasks that should be simple — such as opening your favorites menu or switching the station — require several steps.

Audi, Cadillac and Volvo all approach multimedia systems in different ways, and after sampling many of them, the X1’s is the most confounding — and it has one of the smallest screens.

Un-Compact-Sized Room

In both rows, the seats are comfy and space is more generous than the car’s compact dimensions suggest. The X1 has more rear headroom than competitors and more rear legroom than all but the XT4.

This played out when installing child-safety seats. The X1 had ample space for two of them — even space-hogging rear-facing car seats — and exposed Latch anchors made installation a breeze. Check out our full Car Seat Check.

Behind the rear seats, there’s 27.1 cubic feet of space — plenty for a full load of groceries for my family of five and significantly more than the Q3 (23.7), XT4 (22.3) or XC40 (20.7) offer. With the seats folded, the X1 has 58.7 cubic feet of space, once again more than its competitors; there’s also a pass-through for carrying longer items.

Safety and Value

The 2020 BMW X1 received five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and top crashworthiness scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but it did not pass that organization’s vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention test.

In safety features, the X1 is well equipped, with standards like low-speed forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and automatic high-beam headlights. One of the X1’s safety blind spots is that you can’t get blind spot monitoring. Another is that other driver assistance and safety features, including adaptive cruise control ($1,000), can get expensive.

The 2020 BMW X1 starts at $36,195 as a base sDrive28i with front-wheel drive. That’s a little more than the Audi Q3 (impressive for Audi given the Q3 comes with standard all-wheel drive) and Volvo XC40, but slightly less than a Cadillac XT4 (all prices include destination charges).

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

5.0
11 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.9)
Performance
(5.0)
Interior Design
(5.0)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.9)
Value For The Money
(5.0)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

LOVE MY CAR!

by ZETA ZSDT from Hazel Crest on November 29, 2020

The BMW "X" series is really the Ultimate Driving Machine as they say! I was debating on buying this car, but I am just so happy I made the purchase. Read full review

(5.0)

Ultimate Driving Machine Indeed

by Terry from St. Paul, MN on July 3, 2020

Although it doesn’t ride as smoothly as their sedans, it’s still heads and shoulders above “ordinary cars”. The attention to details is impressive; and the acceleration in sport mode feels more like a... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2020 BMW X1 currently has 1 recall


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2020 BMW X1 has not been tested.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by BMW

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / unlimited distance

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    Certified Pre-Owned Elite with less than 15,000 miles; Certified Pre-Owned with less than 60,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    1 year/unlimited miles from expiration of 4-year/50,000-mile new car warranty

  • Powertrain

    N/A

  • Dealer Certification Required

    196-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All CPO Program Details

Latest 2020 X1 Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The X1 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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*MSRP and Invoice prices displayed are for educational purposes only, do not reflect the actual selling price of a particular vehicle, and do not include applicable gas taxes or destination charges.