The 2021 BMW X1 Impresses Despite ‘Low-Rent’ Slam

It’s tough to qualify as a truly perfect vehicle, and the 2021 BMW X1 is no exception. Though it boasts plenty of positive qualities, this luxury subcompact SUV’s interior suffers a bit. But is that enough to hold back this Beemer? Here’s a look at the 2021 BMW X1.

Overview of the 2021 BMW X1

U.S. News rates the 2021 BMW X1 first on its list of luxury subcompact SUVs, so it clearly thinks the positives outweigh the negatives. With an overall score of 8.4 out of 10, the 2021 X1 also earned a 9.1 safety rating from U.S. News. The publication likes the “enthusiastic engine, straightforward infotainment controls, and a roomy cabin and cargo hold.” It also enjoys the sporty handling. On the flip side, it says the X1 offers an overly “firm ride” and “some low-rent cabin materials.”

The BMW X1 has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and it gets excellent fuel efficiency. Both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are available. U.S. News finds the 2021 X1 has plenty of power for everyday driving and “is relatively fun to drive.”

The X1 comes with satellite radio, a new standard feature for 2021. This BMW doesn’t offer Android Auto compatibility on any trim level, but Apple CarPlay comes standard. Other standard features include an 8.8-inch touchscreen, seven-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, USB port, push-button start, and automatic climate control. Optional features include built-in navigation, wireless charging, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon stereo system, proximity keyless entry, and a panoramic moonroof.

The BMW X1 comes standard with a number of advanced safety features, and additional ones are available. Standard features include a rearview camera, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, and automatic high-beams. Adaptive headlights, stop-and-go adaptive cruise control, parallel and perpendicular park assist, and a head-up display are available options.

The BMW X1’s interior

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U.S. News admits the 2021 BMW X1 mostly “has a handsome cabin full of premium materials.” Higher trim levels offer luxury materials such as Dakota leather and chrome accents. However, hard plastics cover some spots. They’re mainly in out-of-the-way locations, including the bin beneath the front seat. But it’s undesirable enough to earn the X1 a “low-rent” knock.

Otherwise, the 2021 X1’s interior is attractive. It offers seating for five people. And it has 27.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat, which increases to 58.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. That’s bigger than most other subcompact SUVs and offers as much room as some luxury compact SUVs. The X1 also comes standard with a power liftgate.

Synthetic leather upholstery and eight-way power-adjustable front seats come standard as well. Available options include front sport seats, real leather upholstery, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and sliding and reclining rear seats. The seats are plush and supportive. And there’s plenty of head- and legroom in the front and rear seats, although the rear seats aren’t super-spacious.

Other SUV options

U.S. News points out other options for buyers who can’t get past the 2021 BMW X1’s “low-rent” interior. The Audi Q3 offers a nicer cabin plus additional standard features — all at a lower base price. The Volvo XC40 is a bit bigger than the X1. And the compact X3 is another good BMW option.

But the 2021 X1 starts at a reasonable $35,400 for the front-wheel-drive sDrive28i and $37,400 for the all-wheel-drive xDrive28i.

Though the BMW X1’s interior isn’t perfect, this subcompact crossover still stands at the top of its class.