BMW X1 plug-in hybrid long-term test: report 3

The classy BMW X1 is one of our favourite family SUVs, but can the latest plug-in hybrid version still cut the mustard? We’re living with one to find out...

BMW X1 xDrive25e 2021 front

The car BMW X1 xDrive25e M Sport Run by Mark Pearson, used cars editor

Why it’s here To find out if this plug-in hybrid SUV can live up to its on-paper economy promise while taking on regular family motoring duties

Needs to Serve up a healthy dollop of practicality, efficiency and comfort, yet still be good fun to drive

Mileage 1937 Price £39,675 Target Price £38,695 Price as tested £44,740 Official economy 156.9mpg Test economy 99.0mpg 

22 June 2021 – Tempted by the fruit of another

They say comparisons are odious, but in our car-testing game they can come in quite useful, and I recently got the chance to compare the Volvo XC40 T5 recharge plug-in hybrid with my BMW X1 PHEV.

Both cars can travel on electric-only power – the X1's official range is up to 32 miles, the XC40's 28 miles – and they can both juggle their power sources to best suit the mood.


I was initially swayed by the stylish looks and more modern interior of the XC40. Added to that, its steering was lighter, it was more refined and its ride was better than in my X1. However, after a few days I was cursing its poor over-the-shoulder visibility and also its huge but tricky-to-use touchscreen.

For me there is no substitute for my X1’s wonderful iDrive setup, with the rotary controller dial that makes inputting information on the move so much easier. It's by far the best way to operate the infotainment system, although you can also use voice and touch if you wish.

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