Our first month with the Four Seasons 2013 BMW X1 was short, to say the least. Shortly after its arrival, it was sent on the road to serve as a support vehicle for a series of photographic shoots. After a week away from our offices, it returned, but it didn't stay all that long: by the end of the month, the X1 was shipped out to our staff in New York.
Despite that hectic schedule, two Automobile staffers still managed to squeeze in road trips during the X1's brief stay in Michigan. Managing editor Amy Skogstrom was the first, piloting the X1 to Ludington over the Fourth of July weekend.
"I drove the X1 to Ludington to visit my mom for the weekend, with husband, two golf bags, and weekend luggage in tow. It all fit, but the narrowness of the rear cargo hold meant that we had to angle the golf bags back there, removing the longer clubs, and then try to fit our other belongings in the remaining space. We ended up throwing a roller bag into the back seat, even after having removed the cargo cover so we could heap extra items in the rear.
"Once loaded up, the X1 was a perfectly nice car for our 3-plus hour trip. The inside isn't plush, but we were happy with the amenities: cruise control, navigation, satellite radio, and Bluetooth. The latter came in handy, because it happened that as I was on the road to Ludington at the same time as my sister and her boyfriend, who had just flown in to Grand Rapids, where they picked up a rental car. They were about 10 or 15 miles ahead of me and called to let me know that they were stuck in a major traffic backup due to road construction. I exited the freeway, used the nav system to vector my way around about 15 miles of back roads, avoided the traffic jam, and actually managed to pass my sister. The wonders of modern communications."
"As for the styling, the X1 was a hit with my 78-year-old mom. Unlike many people her age, she's a fan of small cars (perhaps having to do with the fact that she is barely -- if she stretches -- five feet tall). The X1 gives her the higher ride height that she prefers, and the seat is at a level that makes it extremely easy for an older person to get into and out of. Surely BMW wasn't aiming this car at senior citizens, but if my mom is any indication, they might try marketing it to them."
Thankfully, the X1 also appeals to a younger demographic, if digital platforms managing editor Jen Misaros is any indication.
"I love the way the X1 drives around town," Misaros writes. "Its just-slightly-higher-than-a-car ride height means that the X1 handles very much like a BMW sedan/coupe. And those extra inches also help give it a slight visibility advantage over cars. The ride is great at lower speeds but on the highway the dampers have a hard time quelling heaves. Rear visibility is not great, but it's better than our previous Four Seasons Range Rover Evoque.
"The X1 is more compact than I anticipated but it was the perfect size for a weekend trip for two. The hatch is surprisingly spacious and the plastic pockets tucked in the rear corners worked well for storing smaller items. The cabin is a bit small but there are several storage areas that came in handy. The angled cupholder at the front of the door pocket keeps a water bottle or other sealed container at arms reach and it was more convenient for me than the console cupholder. The pop-in cupholder is useful in a pinch but it really makes the interior feel more cramped than it already does. Thankfully it's removable and, more importantly, fits in the glovebox without too much cramming."