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BMW X1 Estate 09-15

What’s the used BMW X1 Estate 09-15 like?

BMWX1-Sdrive(2012)side-rearThe BMW X1 is the smallest of BMW’s SUV offerings, and sits below the X3, X5 and X6 in the company’s range, offering a way into big BMW ownership at a lower price than its more established stablemates.

When it first arrived on the scene in 2009, this first-generation model, also known by its BMW codename E84, was only offered with three diesel engine variants. By the time production ended in 2015, however, the range has grown to encompass five types of diesel and one petrol.

Both rear-wheel drive (sDrive) and four-wheel drive (xDrive) variants were offered, letting buyers choose between fuel economy and all-weather ability. All X1s of this generation corner tidily, feeling stable and composed, though inconsistent-feeling steering means they aren’t quite as involving to drive as some other BMWs, or indeed rivals such as the Mazda CX-5 and Nissan Qashqai.

Neither is the X1 as comfortable. Firm suspension leaves it feeling rather unsettled, while M Sport versions are fitted with even stiffer springs, as well as large wheels with low-profile tyres, leaving them feeling particularly unpleasant.

Inside, meanwhile, the X1 doesn’t quite have the same high-quality interior feel of other BMWs. There are some cheap, brittle feeling plastics in places, and the dashboard design feels a little more mainstream than you might expect. What’s more, back seat passengers might find leg room to be rather cramped. Still, at least it’s quiet on the move, with wind, road and engine noise all well suppressed.

What used BMW X1 Estate 09-15 will I get for my budget?

The BMW X1 costs from as low as £8000 for an example that’s in poor condition or with a write-off against its name. However, you can pick up a respectable high-mileage example for £9000, and just a little more – £9500 or so – gets you a clean, straight X1 xDrive 20d SE with average mileage.

If you can stretch a little further, £11,000 should get you an early car with low mileage or a few tasty options, or a later example with average mileage.

The very most you should pay for a very last-of-the-line, xDrive 25d M Sport with low mileage and options is currently around the £25,000 mark, though we’d pay a little less and settle for a lower-spec car.

BMWX1-Sdrive(2012)-interior

How much does it cost to run a BMW X1 Estate 09-15?

Regular servicing on the X1 shouldn’t be excessively expensive, although you might find some repairs cost you more than they would on a car without a premium badge.

However, the X1 should be reasonably cheap to fuel. Economy figures can ve as high as 62mpg in super-frugal Efficient Dynamics versions, which is as good as you’ll get from an Audi Q3. Normal two-wheel drive diesel X1s aren’t quite as efficient, but neither do they embarrass themselves, and on the whole, the X1 is more economical than the Range Rover Evoque, and about the same as the Mazda CX-5.

Those impressive efficiency figures mean the X1 is cheap to tax, too, but keep in mind that four-wheel drive models cost more, as they emit more CO2.

Advice for buyers

BMWX1-Sdrive(2012)side-rear

What should I look for in a used BMW X1 Estate 09-15?

When test driving an X1, keep an eye out for any sort of smoke from the tailpipe. A small black puff under heavy acceleration is acceptable; any other sort of smoke, however, should be considered a sign of deeper problems with the engine.

Also listen out for any unusual ticking, knocking or rattling from the engine. Diesel models exhibiting this symptom could be about to experience timing chain failure, as detailed below.

To date, there have been five recalls affecting the first-generation X1. The two most serious of these are: some cars built before November 2011, and included the replacement of four engine bolts that could loosen and cause oil to leak into a sensitive area, resulting in an engine management light coming on; and on some cars built before July 2012, the steering box needed to be replaced because it could cause a power steering failure.

Before buying, it’s worth checking that any recalls your car may need have been carried out using the DVSA website.

What are the most common problems with a used BMW X1 Estate 09-15?

The X1’s 2.0-litre diesel engine has been the subject of a number of complaints of stretched and snapping timing chains. This fault can lead to significant engine damage if the chain does snap, usually requiring replacement of the whole engine. There is no real cure and even replacing the chain as a preventative measure is costly.

BMWX1-Sdrive(2012)-wheel

Is a used BMW X1 Estate 09-15 reliable?

The X1’s reliability record is a little below average, but not catastrophic, according to the What Car? Reliability Index. The vast majority of problems are caused by electrical and engine faults, with gearbox faults coming in a distant third. Keep in mind, however, that some mainstream manufacturers like Mazda and Honda have a better reputation for reliability than BMW, according to the JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study.

Our recommendation

Which used BMW X1 Estate 09-15 should I buy?

The four-wheel-drive xDrive 20d model is probably the best to go for if you plan to go off-road or want all-year-round grip from your BMW X1.

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the sDrive 18d provides ample power for most people, and its two-wheel drive layout means it will be more economical too, so it’s probably the best model for those who only plan to use their car on the road. It was only introduced in 2013, though, so if your budget doesn’t stretch that far, an sDrive 20d makes for a good middle ground.

Whichever engine and drivetrain format you opt for, though, avoid the M Sport trim for its too-firm ride, and choose instead an SE or xLine model, which have softer suspension.

Our favourite BMW X1: sDrive 18d SE

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