Anyone who approaches the X1 expecting 3 Series Touring levels of materials quality is in for an unpleasant surprise. Because while BMW has tried hard to make the X1’s cabin feel like that of its donor car, it has only partially succeeded.
The basics are sound enough. The steering wheel offers reach and rake adjustment, so few will struggle to find a comfortable driving position. Once you’re in situ, the X1 offers you a vantage point between that of a regular saloon and a full-size SUV’s; the shallow rear window doesn’t help with reversing, but you do feel more elevated than you would in a 3 Series. Despite its long bonnet, the raised seating position provides a good view of the road out front.
Rear accommodation is adequate as long as you’re under six feet tall; any lankier than that and you’ll find your knees rubbing against the front seats. But there’s lots of head room and the flat rear seat could just about cope with three people for short journeys. Entry is tight through small door apertures.
At 420 litres, boot space is beyond that of a regular Nissan Qashqai. The rear seat backrests are adjustable and split and fold 40/20/40. With the reclining back rest of the rear seat pushed all the way forward boot space extends to 480 litres. The slightly higher lip may be fine for everyday use, but lifting more bulky items to the required level could prove troublesome.
It’s in materials and finish where the X1’s cabin is less than convincing. BMW has tried hard to provide smoke and mirrors by coating regularly touched surfaces in soft-feel materials. But move away from the driver’s direct line of sight and you’ll find brittle plastics, particularly low down in the centre console.