The 2018 BMW X1 is a crossover built on the Mini platform that’s offered in both front-wheel and all-wheel-drive variants. Visually, the X1 looks much larger than the Mini, due in part to the BMW styling, giving it a much taller profile. But make no mistake, this is not a wagon, it is a true crossover by design.

Exterior Flair

Featuring the signature twin-kidney grille, the X1 clearly announces itself as a BMW.

Sleek, attractive headlamps wrap around the front edges and character lines slide up and over and head toward the rear taillamps. Dark cladding wraps around the rear and touches the low air intakes up front.

This crossover SUV comes in one main trim level, with a few options and packages available. It is the lowest end of the BMW lineup and therefore has the least amount of BMW-like standard features.

The IIHS gives X1 its best rating, Top Safety Pick Plus. The base model X1 is called the sDrive, which features front-wheel-drive and a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a starting price of $33,900. Standard features include synthetic leather upholstery, the iDrive infotainment system with a 6.5-inch screen, automatic climate control, a rearview camera, and a power liftgate.

Interior

This two-row SUV officially lists seating for five, though I’d say my tester clearly would comfortably seat four adults. Front and rear seating has ample legroom and headroom. My tester featured the optional reclining and sliding rear seats that added to the comfort and convenience in back.

Material and fit and finish meet BMW-level expectations. While it is the beginning of the line, the cabin craftsmanship is the same quality as other BMWs, with upscale trimmings such as brushed aluminum and piano black adding to a standard level of refinement. This is the same synthetic leather that is standard seat upholstery in BMW’s stable.

The BMW X1 features an easy-to-use infotainment system. The 6.5-inch display is not a  touch screen, a center knob between the seats allows you to make your selections. This is a simple non-touch system to use. Options raise the bar with Wi-Fi hot spot, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system, or Apple CarPlay.

The 27.1 cubic feet of space behind the back seat is ample for daily commutes and errands, as well as handling a few suitcases for the weekend. Fold the back seat down for a total capacity of 58.7 cubic feet.

Performance

The BMW X1 uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, mated to a paddle-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission. This is plenty of ‘pop’ to provide easy passing and adequate merging power onto the highway. I found the built-in stop-start system to be a bit jagged and rough.

The 2018 BMW X1 rates an EPA-estimated 23/32 mpg City/Highway, or 26 mpg Combined with front-wheel drive, one mile per gallon lower with xDrive all-wheel drive.

Packages

The 2018 BMW X1 sDrive28i ($33,900) comes with front-wheel drive; X1 xDrive28i ($35,900) comes with all-wheel drive. Leatherette upholstery is standard. (All prices are MSRP and do not include $995 destination charge.) X1 sDrive28i Convenience Tier ($36,400) includes SiriusXM, panoramic moonroof and other features, while Premium Tier ($39,700) adds navigation and active-safety features. The Luxury Package ($1550) upgrades to leather upholstery and premium trim materials.

The X1 has some pretty decent competition that ranges from Volvo, Acura RDX, or the Ford Escape Titanium, but none really has the BMW-drive DNA or the exterior flair.

This auto review was researched and written by SteinPro Content Services and provided to the Sun-Times for publication