Review: The BMW X1 is a happy throwback – Los Angeles Times

Posted: Friday, September 02, 2016

Almost all of the world’s automobile manufacturers now make SUVs. Today’s car shopper has access to a broad variety of these sturdy, sporty daily drivers, from highly affordable versions sold by the American, Japanese and Korean car companies to the high-end super cruisers built by luxury marques like Porsche, Jaguar and Bentley — to be joined, soon, by Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini.

Somewhere in between those two extreme ends of the spectrum sits the BMW X1, a solid, square midrange SUV that offers a pleasing combination of modern styling and old-school mechanics.

A wolf in sheep’s clothing, it’s more of a sports car than an SUV, which is to say a car with plenty of S but not a lot of U. (BMW calls its X1 a Sports Activity Vehicle.) While its owners will enjoy a lot of spirited dashing about town, and a comfortable cruise on the freeway, they’re probably not hauling any of their fishing boats up to the lake.

I found it an almost analog experience, and a pleasant return to traditional values. Lacking many of the high-tech amenities now increasingly found in midrange vehicles, the X1 is reminiscent of BMWs I drove in the 1970s and 1980s — and I mean that as a compliment.

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