2016 BMW X1

2016 BMW X1

Episode 3547
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

The BMW X1 was a true, early entry into the subcompact luxury crossover segment. But as is often the case, those that quickly follow are able to use your blueprint and improve upon it.  Thus a new X1 has now been unleashed on the entry-level luxury loving streets of upscale suburbia.  But there’s more new here than meets the eye.   

The 2016 BMW X1 may not look all that unique from its predecessor; but it is indeed vastly different, riding on all-new architecture, and a front-wheel-drive based one at that. 

Surely blasphemy to the BMW faithful. It’s all about baby steps, folks. BMW has already gotten you addicted to their SUVs, and now they slip in the front-drive architecture. 

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the reasons for that change; to drive costs down thanks to platform sharing with MINI, while bringing interior space up. 

And there is indeed more room, especially in the back seat; but don’t expect midsize space here, it still feels smallish.

There’s also a bit more cargo space, climbing from 25.0 to 27.1 cubic-ft.; accessed by a standard power lift gate. Hands free operation is an option making the X1 a much more practical vehicle. 

And we do like our practicality, as does BMW; giving us functionality plusses like the 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats that slide and recline; as well as fold almost fully flat to expand the space to 58.7 cubic-ft. 

All of the additional space wasn’t really a necessity, but it is much appreciated, making the X1 one of the roomiest in its class; now just about the perfect size for families either starting out or nearing the empty nester phase. 

Still, the X1 retains that intimate feel that we love in a BMW, being surrounded by a luxury-clad, competently sporty vehicle. And not only are all materials inside improved, but everything seems more upscale in operation. 

Well, everything except the front seats, that is. They are small, narrow, and uncomfortable almost to the point of being a deal breaker. And you definitely want to think twice about seats this light in color if kids are in your foreseeable future.

The X1 is initially available only in a single xDrive28i model. So despite a front-drive type chassis, it comes standard with all-wheel drive. As does an 8-speed automatic transmission and 18-inch wheels. Plenty of add-ons like head-up display and advanced safety features are available. 

Though I6 power is offered no more; only a 2.0-liter turbo I4. Still, 228–horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque easily puts it among class best. 

We tried to make it sweat, but it responded by continuously delivering smooth and buzz-free trips to 60 in 6.3-seconds. It’s quite torquey off the line, with some front wheel spin before the rears kick in to compensate. 

Gear changes were quick and firm, accompanied by a nice exhaust rasp throughout the 14.8-second ¼-mile run, which we completed at 94 miles-per-hour.  

Even with the shift to a front-drive chassis, handling remains very rear-drive BMW-like. That’s not a big surprise, since this platform already deals out plenty of fun in the MINI Cooper. And, with all-wheel drive standard, it’s almost a guarantee that most buyers will not be able to tell the switch in chassis design.

Though we certainly could sense some additional understeer; body roll was kept well in check. 

111–foot average stops from 60 is certainly not bad either, but braking performance was not quite up to the par we had in mind. Stops were inconsistent and the pedal felt soft with a fair amount of travel. 

The X1 does appear more SUVish than before, and much better looking overall. But like most of the European crossover entries in this segment, still a little too “wagony” for our tastes. 

Most every dimension has increased, except for length; minus-1 overall, while the wheelbase shrinks by 3½-inches to 105.1. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 22-City, 32-Highway, and 26-Combined. Our average was just 24.8 miles-per-gallon of Premium. Still, that makes for a better than average Energy Impact Score of 12.7-barrels of annual oil use with 5.7-tons of CO2 emissions. 

X1 base pricing is a reasonable $35,795; but you can easily tack on another 10-grand in optional packages. 

Oddly enough, going against just about everything BMW stands for, has made the 2016 BMW X1 one of our favorite BMWs; especially if you look at is as a sporty 5-door, not as an entry-level crossover.

It may not be the most capable or comfortable mini-ute on the market, but as you can expect, it’s one of the most fun. BMW has addressed anything we didn’t like before, as well as taken almost everything that we did like about the previous gen X1 and made it better. And most importantly, given us more of it.


  • Engine: 2.0 liter Turbo I4
  • Horsepower: 228
  • Torque: 258 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 6.3 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 14.8 seconds @ 94 mph
  • EPA: 22 mpg city/ 32 mpg highway
  • Energy Impact: 12.7 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 5.7 tons/yr
  • Transmission: 8 spd automatic
2023 GMC Canyon 1

2023 GMC Canyon

Canyon Goes Bigger

Episode 4303
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Most people know the GMC Canyon as the Chevrolet Colorado’s professional grade cousin. And while that sounds like just marketing speak, with an all-new design of GM’s midsize truck platform comes more genuine brand separation. So, let’s see what the third-gen GMC Canyon delivers in real time!

Small trucks are once again a big deal, and part of the reason is that they are no longer small. There’s not much about this 2023 GMC Canyon that resembles the ¼-ton Sonomas, S-10s, Rangers, and Datsun trucks that were wildly popular in the 1980s.

Of course, then, people were willing to sacrifice certain “big-truck” things for an easier to use and more economical pickup experience. Well, we don’t seem to be big on compromise for much of anything these days, and the current midsize crop of trucks deliver more than ever. So fittingly, the 2023 Canyon will be available as a Crew Cab only with a 5-foot bed. No more extended cab or long bed options. Wheelbase is about 3-inches longer than before, with the front wheels pushed more towards the front. It definitely looks tougher, and they’ve even eliminated the much-hated front air dam that protruded well below the front bumper.

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The Canyon also comes exclusively with the high-output version of GM’s 2.7-liter turbocharged I-4, with a stout 310-horsepower and 430 lb-ft. of torque. At times it feels even more powerful than those numbers would indicate, with its diesel-like torque delivery enabling a best-in-class max tow rating of 7,700-lbs. No choice of transmission either, strictly 8-speed automatic, but you can still decide whether you want rear or 4-wheel-drive.

At minimum, ground clearance is 9.6-inches, which is more than an inch taller than last year, and almost 2-inches over Chevy’s base Colorado. And since it’s all about the off-road packages these days, our AT4 tester comes with 4-wheel drive, off-road suspension, locking rear diff, 2-speed transfer case, hill descent control, and 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires.

And that’s just where things get started, as at the top of the heap, there’s a new AT4X with 10.7-inches of ground clearance, enhanced front and rear e-locking differentials, 33-inch mud terrain tires, Multimatic dampers, and an additional Baja Drive Mode. We’ll have more on the AT4X real soon.

But for all Canyons, including this AT4, GMC went tech-heavy, as all get 11-inch infotainment screens and a fully digital driver display in either 8 or 11-inches. Plus, an available head up display comes with most trims, and there are even optional underbody cameras.

Unique AT4 features include a Jet Black and Timber interior motif with stitched logos on the leather front seats. Those seats are definitely comfortable, and it feels maybe a tad roomier than before, but still well shy of the sprawling space in a full-size truck. It’s even more noticeable in the rear, though there are more practical storage options back here.

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The AT4 gets a sliding rear window, along with a tailgate storage system to complement the integrated ruler, and bed side-mounted 120-volt power outlet. The Canyon already delivered one of the best rides in the midsize class, and the taller suspension seems to only improve on that; it’s not quite crossover plush, but certainly great for a body on frame truck.

Though the higher ground clearance and off-road emphasis kept it from being a track star. Indeed, healthy amounts of understeer and body roll greeted us in our handling course. It was a little hesitant off the line in speed runs, but once rolling, power poured on steadily. 0-60 in only 7.5-seconds, and through the ¼-mile in 15.6-seconds at 91 miles-per-hour.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the AT4 are 17-City, 21-Highway, and 19-Combined; we averaged an acceptable 18.2 miles-per-gallon of Regular. Pricing starts with a 2-wheel-drive Elevation at $38,395. That puts it at midlevel Chevrolet Colorado, with is consistent with the mission of the new Canyon. All other trims come with 4-wheel drive, this AT4 starting at $45,395, and the AT4X now eclipsing Denali as the highest offering at $56,995.

So, as small trucks have grown, so has the price of entry. But if that doesn’t scare you off, there is no denying the 2023 GMC Canyon is yes bigger, but also bolder and badder than before. Does that necessarily make it better? We say positively yes!


  • Engine: 2.7L Turbo-4
  • Horsepower: 310
  • 0-60 mph: 7.5 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 121 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 18.2 mpg (Regular)
  • Transmission: 8-speed auto
  • Torque: 430 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 91 mph
  • EPA: 17 City / 21 Highway / 19 Combined