Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
The 1 Series is definitely priced towards the lofty upper reaches of the family car class and, as such, across the line-up, it is quite closely priced against the A-Class. However, the 1 Series isn’t expected to hold onto its value quite so well as the A-Class over three years. BMWs do tend to have some generous discounts available, though – so make sure you click here to check out how much we could save you on a 1 Series now. There are some competitive PCP deals available, but not for every version, so compare and contrast with its rivals.
If you’re a company car driver, you’ll want to stick with the diesels – their CO2 emissions are broadly similar to those of the A-Class and the 116d, like the A-Class, is RDE2 emissions compliant. That means you don't have to pay the 4% diesel surcharge on your company car tax bill, but the 118d (until March 2020) isn't RDE2 compliant, so you do. Claimed fuel economy, again, broadly matches what the A-Class offers, but we managed a few more MPG from an A200d than a 118d.
Equipment, options and extras
There are three main trim levels (the M135i is a separate trim in its own right). Entry-level SE covers the basics, and might make sense if a budget is at the forefront of your mind, but it's not exactly full of features; 16in alloy wheels, air con automatic lights/ wipers and cruise control are about your lot. Sport adds sports seats and exterior styling tweaks, including 17in wheels, as well as dual-zone climate control.
M Sport adds more distinctive bumpers, stiffer suspension (which, as we've mentioned, offers the best ride and handling balance) and a few luxuries, such as power-folding door mirrors, heated front seats and leather trim. If you are buying a 1 Series because it's a more premium or sportier offering, M Sport actually makes the most sense.
In the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, BMW, as a brand, finished one placed behind Audi; a disappointing 21st place out of 31. That was above Mercedes, though.
The 1 Series is covered by a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty, which matches the cover offered by Mercedes for the A-Class.
Safety and security
When it was crash tested by Euro NCAP, the 1 Series received a five-star rating. It performed okay, but was found to have less than ideal protection for the chest and neck of passengers, as well as unfortunate pedestrians. If you are looking for one of the safest cars in the class, we'd go for the A-Class instead.
You get lots of safety equipment, though. This includes automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, speed limit assist, plus a system that will warn you if you get too close to the car in front.
On top of that you can select the optional Driving Assistant package (available on all trim levels) to get blindspot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and rear cross traffic alert.
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