BMW X1: How practical is it?

  • Boot fills up quicker than expected
  • Spacious cabin is a real plus point
  • 40:20:40 split rear seats also useful

For a family car like the BMW X1, practicality is a key attribute. One aspect I reckon the X1 is slightly lacking in is the size of its boot – at 420 litres it’s not small, but it doesn’t accommodate as much luggage as you might expect of a relatively large, blocky car.

A big supermarket shop, for instance, or a journey that requires a few large bags can easily see the X1’s boot filled up to the parcel shelf.

BMW X1 boot

It’s worth pointing out that the X1’s quoted boot volume is greater than quite a few other cars of this type though, including the Nissan Qashqai (410 litres) and Ford Kuga (406 litres), as well as regular hatchbacks like the VW Golf and Ford Focus.

It can’t compete with the seriously capacious Honda CR-V long termer we also have on the books at Parkers at the moment, although in fairness that’s a larger car all round. The X1’s more pocket-sized than you might think – parked next to a Land Rover recently it looked like a city car by comparison.

With the rear seats folded down (they go almost but not quite totally flat), there’s a decent 1,350 litres of carrying capacity and editor Kieren found the space useful in an earlier update.

Helpfully, the rear seat backs fold in a 40:20:40 split, so each of the three seat sections can be folded down individually. What’s more, the back rests can be locked in several positions, freeing up more boot space while still allowing passengers to occupy the seats.

One slight niggle is that there’s a bit of a step between the boot floor and the tailgate opening, making life trickier if you need to slide a heavy item out.

BMW X1 extended storage

The optional Extended Storage package fitted to our X1 (described in a previous update) includes a partitioned area under the boot floor (pictured above) but I have to confess I’m yet to find a use for it.

Also included in the package are straps that can be attached to the boot floor to secure loose objects, although when they’re not in use they tend to become dislodged and I usually find them loose in the boot when I open the tailgate after a journey.

One of the X1’s strongest points is its very roomy and comfortable cabin. Headroom front and rear is very generous, which is impressive given that the X1 has a relatively low roofline yet offers a high seating position.

Rear passengers have been happy with the amount of legroom although they also report that they can feel bumps in the road more keenly than when sitting in the front – possibly as they are sitting close to the rear axle.

The X1’s a useful and usable car then, but there are other models within the BMW fold that are a better bet on the practicality front. Under the skin the X1 is based on the previous-generation BMW 3 Series and if space is what you’re after, then a current 3 Series Touring estate is a better place to put your money.

Total mileage: 6,192 miles

Average fuel economy: 34.7mpg