Parkers Awards 2020 - Runner Up - Best Used Car

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In their own words

Wife wanted a smaller economical Automatic car to replace her beloved 3.0L Subaru Legacy R auto estate, best car we have owned. After sitting in and trying some of the usual suspects A3, Golf, V40, A class, etc..the 1 series' driving position etc felt the closest to the legacy in her opinion, Her facelift 118d SE does looks smart and it's definitely an improvement on the older model, with some nice features, LED running lights, auto lights/wipers satnav bluetooth etc all the usual stuff these days.. we didn't want runflats so the SE was the only option without them, we found one with a few options added, couldn't find one with leather but got; F&R sensors and Cruise ( Can't believe Cruise control is still an option on a BMW! NB: the speed Limiter is standard but not Cruise) She was concerned going to a rear wheel drive car from permanent 4x4 but overall it feels stable and feels safe in it, she just has to be a little more careful when it's very wet, we have put all season tyres on it so hopefully will cope with the British winters, wasn't a problem last winter but we didn't get any snow, but most likely it will be sat on the drive if it snows. The car doesn't really have much character or feel that special, hard to pinpoint why because it does everything well, typically Germanic I guess, but in this guise it's not going to have you fighting over the keys. The 8 speed torque converter auto is fantastic though, very smooth and easy to use. I personally prefer a manual box, but I have to say it's one of the best automatic boxes out there, and I have driven some of the very latest nine speed options in Volvo merc etc..as I prefer a manual I tend to knock it into 'S' sport on the shifter when coming up to roundabouts and junctions as the sport selector does an excellent job of doing the down shifting (engine breaking) for you that you would normally do in a manual. It doesn't do such a good job when left in ' D' drive mode and you use allot more brake pad. The 150bhp 2.0L diesel pulls very well, though it is a little noisy at times, paired with the auto box it never feels particularly fast until you realise the speed you are doing! it does gain speed quicker that you perceive it to. MPG wise obviously very much depends on right foot and where, but around town and a bit of mixed driving according to trip computer around 42mpg. Mostly motorway 48-53. You have to try very hard to get 60+ (trip computer) but can be done. Around town the car is very easy to drive, fun on an A road, the handling is excellent in most conditions and on the motorway it's generally a nice place to be considering it's not a big car, it's pretty quiet and smooth. But.. There are two slight disappointments with the car that we have both noticed. Firstly the ride can get quite choppy on some roads and motorways if it's not a nice flat road the car does become unsettled and the ride gets fidgety not in an unsafe way you may be going dead straight but the ride is just unsettled it's hard to find another way of putting it but the suspension doesn't seem to soak up the imperfections well and it seems to rock/ yaw, the best word appears to be choppy, as I had read in reviews of other cars. I did read different Car magazine website reviews saying that the SE had the best ride and the Sport/ Msport were too hard, (suspension + runflats) but in this case I'm not sure that the sport suspension might help matters and keep the car flatter? or prehaps it would make things worse? But in any case the chassis/suspension is not as refined as I thought it would be. Secondly the steering is a bit fidgety on the motorway, it's just a bit too direct around the centre point, which is probably why the steering is so great for an A road blast but not a car you can put your arm on the door cill and lazily steer easily down the motorway, it needs a bit of input to keep you in your lane, which can be tedious, but you do get use to it. Overall the wife likes it, it's a nice size (it's not to big for the car parks etc) pretty practical for it's size, though the boot and rear leg room are better in the VW Golf etc. Generally drives well, handles well, has most of the mod cons. Has a good engine and probably one of the best auto box in this size of car. (DSG's in Golf etc have had issues) if you are looking for an automatic the 1series does offer alot for the money second hand when you compare it to the competition, if rear wheel drive is a deal breaker the latest model 2019 is now FWD.

How reliable do you find the car?

So far no problems.
  • How they rated it

  • Reliability: 5 out of 5 5.0
  • Meets Expectations: 4 out of 5 4.0
  • Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 4.0
  • John Lewis recommends this car

About their car

  • Fuel type Diesel
  • When purchased October 2019
  • Condition when bought Used
  • Current Mileage 37,000 miles
  • Average MPG 46 mpg