The BMW X1 was introduced in 2009, selling briskly that it prompted Audi to come up with an answer in the Audi Q3. Up to this day, the two offroaders are pitted against each other.
One of the first things that you will realize upon seeing a Q3 is its resemblance to its bigger cousins, the Q5 and Q7. The resemblance is so uncanny that you may even think that the Q3 is a mini-version of the Q5.
On the other hand, the X1 looks smaller than its Audi counterpart. It also resembles the BMW X3. The face looks intimidating, with a long hood and arching roof giving it a very sporty look. There are silver-lined trays under the rear and front bumpers, making it look rugged as well.
Both the Q3 and X1 are fast on the road. There isn’t much of a difference in terms of speed given that their engines have very similar horsepower output. The X1 is powered by a 2 liter turbocharged engine that can produce 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Its competitor also has a 2 liter engine, but with only 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque.
But the X1 is gifted with 8 speed automatic and a standard rear-wheel drive, while the Q3 has a 6 speed automatic transmission and standard front-wheel drive. The X1 is particularly more impressive when going on trails. Both vehicles are available with optional all-wheel drive platform.
The Q3 can give you a better view of the road, with a seat that is placed higher than that of the X1. With its beige cabin, the Q3 also gives you the impression that it is large. Steering the compact crossover is not difficult too, which is great news if you often find yourself in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
The Q3 also is better than the X1 when it comes to ride quality. It can absorb bumps better than the X1.
The X1 however is far more fuel efficient, as it is rated 23/34 for city and highway driving, respectively. The Q3 has energy efficiency ratings of 20/29 mpg.
Both models are considered as entry-level compact cross overs, but get inside the X1 and Q3 and you will agree that they don’t look cheap at all. The X1 has interiors that are typical of any BMW model, with a stylish design and luxurious trimmings. Yes, there are some plastics but you can’t really complain about it.
You may also notice how low the seat of the X1 is. But it is not that bad, as it would still give you a good view of the road. The seats are very comfortable.
The dark cockpit of the X1 gives you the impression that it is a very sporty SUV, in line with its character. The equipment levels are impressive as well, giving you everything you need. It is just a shame that the rear seats are cramped for a sport utility, and these are better for a sedan instead.
The prices of the X1 and Q3 are also very close making it even harder for a buyer to decide which model to choose. The 2015 BMW X1 has a MSRP of $31,825, with the all-wheel drive model at around $33,600. The top of the line xDrive 351 is around $40,000.
The 2015 A3 meanwhile has a MSRP of $30,700. The TDI sedan which is diesel powered costs around $33,600 while the S3 line begins at around $42,000.
So which one should you pick? It’s a close call. If you foresee driving the compact crossover in the city, then you might as well go with the Q3 as it has dimensions that make it perfect for city driving. Ride quality of the Q3 means you won’t be slowing down anytime you approach bumps on the road.
But if you are after fuel efficiency, then you should go with the BMW X1. The latter is also more appropriate for rugged terrain.
But no matter which model you should, you should enjoy driving either the X1 or the Q3.
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