The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
There’s a good range of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel, plus a central armrest to aid comfort. The driver's seat has plenty of side support, too, even on SE models, which miss out on the heavily bolstered sports seats you get with Sport and M Sport trim.
You'll find it easy enough to get comfortable, but it’s a shame that adjustable lumbar support is reserved for the options list across the range; those who frequently make long journeys would be wise to add it. Meanwhile, all the dashboard controls are laid out in a logical manner.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
Overall, visibility is very good in the X1, helped by a driving position that's higher than a traditional hatchback's. Helping further is a low-mounted dashboard that doesn't interrupt your view over the bonnet.
The size and position of the windscreen pillars can cause visibility issues for some drivers; they can partially obscure your view if you have to sit close to the wheel. This is a particular issue when pulling out at junctions
The upsweeping rear window line can be problematic when reversing, although rear parking sensors are standard on all models. A reversing camera is optional as part of the Technology Pack, but this is quite expensive.
Sat nav and infotainment
The BMW X1 has a brilliant 8.8in touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav, a DAB radio, a CD player, Bluetooth and a USB socket. As well as the touchscreen, there’s a rotary dial and a handful of shortcut buttons between the front seats, and using these is wonderfully intuitive, you simply twist the dial to scroll through the on-screen menus and press it to make a selection. The system includes online connectivity and real-time traffic information as standard. There's also a larger, 10.3in touchscreen infotainment display available as a fairly costly optional extra.
There’s also the option of a full-colour head-up display that projects information, such as your speed and navigation directions, onto the windscreen right in your line of sight. Again, it’s pricey, but it could still be worth considering.
The X1 is about as classy inside as small SUVs get. The X1 has the kind of solid build quality and premium feel that you’d hope to find in a premium-badged German car.
Even on entry-level SE versions, there’s plenty of chrome trim and metal effect inlays to lift the ambience, while all controls operate with a well-oiled precision. If you really want to push the boat out, leather upholstery is standard on high-spec xLine models and is optional on all other trim levels.