Our 2014 BMW X1 xDrive28i is certainly no stranger to road trips and weekend journeys, but for the first time in months, we were finally able to stretch its legs without running into a winter storm. Associate Web editor Eric Weiner recently had a chance to pilot our X1 Four Seasons vehicle down to Akron, Ohio, a round trip of roughly 390 miles.
“Although I traveled alone almost the entire time I spent trekking to Akron and back this past weekend, I can see how the X1 would be the ideal road trip car for a couple or a small family,” says Weiner. “There’s a fair amount of usable space, but the crossover feels in no way chunky or cumbersome. I barely qualify this as a crossover, since the low driving position and easy ingress and egress make the X1 seem more like a small wagon to me.
“The X1 drives quite smoothly on the highway with practically silent gear changes and very mild road noise. But if you shift it into sport and punch the throttle, the engine hum and turbo whine – to say nothing of the added physical punch -- help create a satisfyingly sporty driving experience. Steering is nicely weighted and there’s just the right amount of feedback to make cornering feel engaging. Throttle response is very direct yet I still found it easy to modulate my speed on the highway.”
“The appeal of the BMW interior is that it is simple and clean, and it doesn’t distract the driver with bright lights, colorful graphics, and hundreds of buttons. I do think that the infotainment system could use an upgrade. At least for me, the amount of different screens is clunky to use. Also, voice recognition does not work automatically—you have to preload recordings into the system in order for it to recognize commands.”
There surely will come a time when we notice that the 2014 BMW X1 is meant to be something other than a 3-series with a hatchback and all-wheel drive, but it didn’t happen this month.