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QUALITY | 7 out of 10
The rear seats are split 40/20/40, and fold flat to create a large load floor. The total cargo capacity isn't quite as large as the upcoming 3-series wagon's, but if buyers really cared about rational things like practicality, we'd all be driving wagons and hatchbacks, not crossovers.
As for versatility, the cargo hold features rubber tie-down floor straps, tie-down hooks, an elastic strap, and a 40/20/40-percent split-folding rear seatback that also reclines to 31 degrees for comfort, or to 1 degree bolt upright to increase the seats-up cargo space by about 2 cubic feet.
Behind the back seat, you have 25.0 cubic feet of cargo space, nearly 50 percent more than what you get in a current 3-series trunk. And the rear seat folds in sections to progressively increase storage to 56.0 cubic feet. That’s not quite as much as a Honda CR-V can hold, but then the X1 is shorter, narrower, and much lower.
Car and Driver
Storage space is adequate, but the clip-on cupholder still looks like a panicky afterthought, as do the USB input ports, which are bolted on to the fascia.
Be sure to consider how much space you'll need in a vehicle before you choose the 2015 BMW X1 over the larger BMW X3.
Cargo is what's most been compromised, clearly. With the fold-down options on the rear seatbacks, the cargo area is short and has less than 15 cubic feet with the rear seats up in place; although that expands to 47.7 cubic feet (preliminary specs). For perspective, that's far less cargo space than the Ford Escape, but more like a roomy hatchback.Two golf bags will fit in the space, however.
The X1 is sized more like the subcompact crossovers available today than the compacts that are familiar to more buyers. By rough comparison, it's more Escape, Countryman, and Evoque, than X3, GLK or Q5, with a suitably tall roofline that also makes it something of a last-generation BMW 3-Series wagon.
Inside, that comparison makes sense, because the X1's interior space measures up for most adults. Headroom is never really in question, and neither is elbow room. The center console isn't so wide that it claims too much space, but it does make solid contact with front-passenger legs on a regular basis.
The back seat does its best to overcome the short wheelbase span. It reclines for long-distance comfort and flips forward for cargo flexibility. Even when four adults are seated, there's enough legroom, but clearly not enough space for three across. For children, that's no problem.
It's from the center console back where you start noticing the X1's shorter cabin. Some difficult storage choices have obviously been made, as the USB port carves out a lump of its own from the bin that lies ahead of the shifter, leaving room for one cupholder behind the lever--which forces a second cupholder to hang precariously off the right side of the console. It's at times like these where you feel for a culture not raised on 64-ounce beverages--but front passengers who repeatedly bang their knees against the cupholder when getting in won't make these choices seem all that forgivable. Door pockets do help make up the difference for other items though.
With a rack of switches, knobs, and pushbuttons, each with their own haptics and intents, the instrument panel can appear a bit cluttered. The joystick shifter needs its own walk-through, too, unless you equate the "park" button with the "fire" button on a video game controller. The volume knob on the radio's small, and almost out of reach.
Across either of these versions, you do hear the engines a fair amount--a coarse thrum with the four-cylinder engine, or more of a bellowing note with the six; in either case, it's not the sweet note that was produced by BMW's former naturally aspirated sixes.
Cargo space is especially limited in the X1, as is back-seat space.