Suggestion #2 – 2014 BMW X1 xDrive28i
Following Infiniti’s crossover formula is the BMW X1. This compact utility is also long on driving fun and short on cargo space, though it is appreciably more commodious than the QX50. Depending on what position the second-row seat is in, this Bimmer should offer between 25 and 56 cubic feet of luggage space
Aside from greater interior room the X1 also trumps the Infiniti in another area: pricing. This BMW kicks off at right around $33,000 for the most basic version (including $925 in destination charges). With a budget of around 35 grand this leaves a little bit of wiggle room.
Stepping up from the most basic model she can snag an xDrive28i model, which includes all-wheel drive. Why does this matter? Well, she lives in a cold-climate area where snow and ice can be an issue; extra traction cannot hurt on her 120-mile round-trip daily commute. We drove that far once and don’t care to do it again.
Like other BMWs, this version of the X1 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It puts out a solid 240 HP with 258 LB-FT of torque. Technologies like variable valve timing and lift ensure responsive driving performance and maximum fuel efficiency. A cutting-edge eight-speed automatic transmission further minimizes consumption.
Speaking of economy, the X1 absolutely trounces Infiniti’s petrol-swilling QX50. In fact the rout is so severe the BMW’s city performance is better than its Japanese competitor’s combined-economy score.
The X1 stickers at 22 miles per gallon in urban driving and a whopping 33 on the interstate. Together, Uncle Sam says it ought to average 26 MPG. Fuel efficiency? Check and double check.
Additionally, when it comes to pricing it’s hard to argue with this compact BMW. The all-wheel drive model starts at right around $33,500, including destination charges. Padding the bottom line we opted for the $700 Cold Weather package, which includes a heated steering wheel and seats, as well as retractable headlamp sprayers. That brings the vehicle’s out-the-door price to $34,225, again including delivery fees. We think Jalpa would approve.
But even though the X1 has a cost advantage over the XQ50, BMW’s pricing scheme is worthy of scorn. The abovementioned figure is rife with asterisks. For instance, it does not include leather seating surfaces. Instead the interior is trimmed with the company’s Sensatec vinyl material; real cow hide costs an additional $1,450 plus they require you to get an extra options package.
Beyond this the company also charges for paint. You get basic black or white for free, but any of the other “metallic” hues are going to cost you at least $550. However, if you opt for the sexy Le Mans Blue plan on shelling out $3,550 because you have to get the M Sport package as well. What is it with BMW and ridiculous fees? Have they suddenly transformed into a Wall Street bank or something?