Good Thing, Small Package: The 2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i

Front 3/4 view of 2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i
The 2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i.
Just two months after reviewing the biggest BMW SUV, the X7, it's time to examine the smallest---the X1.  Right off the bat, there's a lot to recommend. 

First of all, it is one of the least-expensive ways to become a BMW owner.  The starting price for our tester, the 2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i, is $37,200---which is only $765 more than the base price of the 2020 Ford Escape Titanium AWD we reviewed earlier this month.

Rear 3/4 view of 2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i

That price spread will get a bit bigger as we get into the options, but more on that later.

Hood open on 2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i

Engine in 2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i

Under the hood, there's a two-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, making 228 horsepower and 258 pounds per foot of torque.  It's silky smooth and more than a little quick, with 0-60 happening in 6.3 seconds. It's mated to an eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission with Sport and Manual shift modes.  The EPA estimates 23 miles per gallon in the city and 31 on the highway.

If you're a couple with no kids or a couple of kids who are out of the car seat stage, the X1 is great.  But if you're dealing with, or might deal with car seats---you're gonna need an X3.   I know this because we had a blessed event in our family---grandchild number two was born while I had the X1.  Mrs. TireKicker and I babysat grandchild number one, 23 months old, while our daughter was in the hospital giving birth.  And here's how the car seat situation shaped up:

2020 BMW X1 xDrive 28i with child safety seat

Things have changed in the 20 years since I last had to deal with car seats.  They now must be mounted rear-facing (we had the option of forward-facing when I was a dad).  And the design of the child safety seat back eats up a lot of real estate over the rear-seat floorwells.  Plus---you must maintain two inches separation between the leading edge of the child safety seat and the seatback in front of it:

2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i with child safety seat

Done.  But here's what that does to that front seat:

Front seat forward in 2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i

Front seat forward in 2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i

It's not easy to get an angle that really shows just how close that seat is, but it's way too close to the front passenger airbag.  Mrs. TireKicker is 5'6", and she'd have had to wedge herself into the seat.  Again, because of the airbag, I wouldn't let her ride up there.

I'm six feet even, so the car seat can't go behind me.  I know---you're saying "mount it in the middle". But the seat is just wide enough and the X1 just narrow enough that doing that would require moving BOTH front seats that far forward.

Again, if car seats are or may be a thing for you---you need a bigger BMW X.

Tailgate open on 2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i

Front seats in 2020 BMW X1 xDrive 28i

Beyond that, though, the accommodations are high-quality and a very pleasant place to spend some quality driving time.  Here's what comes standard for your $37,200:

  • Driving dynamics control.
  • Dynamic stability control.
  • Brake drying.
  • Brake stand-by.
  • Start-off assistant.
  • Brake fade compensation.
  • Four-wheel ventilated anti-lock disc brakes.
  • Dynamic brake control.
  • xDrive all-wheel-drive.
  • Apple CarPlay.
  • BMW Remote Services.
  • BMW ConnectedDrive Services.
  • USB connections.
  • Bluetooth.
  • Satin aluminum roof rails. 
  • Matte chrome exterior trim.
  • HiFi sound system with HD Radio.
  • Three-spoke leather-wrapped multifunction sport steering wheel.
  • BMW Navigation Business with iDrive, an eight-point-eight inch touchscreen, advanced real-time traffic information and natural voice operation.
  • Dynamic cruise control.
  • Eight-way power front seats with driver memory.
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers with adjustable speed and automatic headlight control.
  • Power tailgate.
  • Halogen high-and-low-beam headlights.
  • Park distance control, front and rear.
  • Active Driving Assistant including frontal collision warning with City Collision Mitigation, lane departure warning, speed limit info and automatic high beams.
  • Larger capacity fuel tank.
  • Rear view camera.
  • Center armrest.
  • Automatic climate control.
  • Anthracite headliner.
Instrument panel in 2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i

Gauge cluster in 2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i

Infotainment and HVAC in 2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i

If you stopped right there, you'd have a well-made, well-equipped vehicle for $38,195 ($37,200 base price plus $995 destination charge)---$435 less than the Ford Escape Titanium AWD

But, when have you ever seen a BMW with no options?  Here's what our tester had, at extra cost:

  • Storm Bay Metallic paint: $1,200.
  • Mocha Dakota leather interior: $1,400.
  • Premium Package (power folding mirrors, keyless entry, panoramic moonroof, auto-dimming mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, lumbar support, heated front seats, ambient lighting, LED fog lights, LED headlights with cornering, head-up display, one-year SiriusXM Satellite Radio subscription, navigation): $4,950.
  • 19-inch Y-Spoke 580 RF wheels: $600.
  • Slide and recline rear seat: $300.
  • Fine wood fineline trim: $350.
  • Sport seats: $400.
  • ACC Stop & Go and Active Drive Assist: $1,000.
  • Parking assistant: $200.
Front view of 2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i

Rear view of 2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i

So, with those extras and destination, the bottom line on the window sticker is $48,645.

Still.  It is a BMW, not a Ford Escape.  And last July, we had a Toyota RAV4 crack the $40,000 barrier, stickering at $40,263.  

The 2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i makes a strong case for itself.  And surprisingly, relative affordability is one of the key points.