Cooley On Cars
2016 BMW X1: A high achiever in a crowded class (CNET On Cars, Episode 88)The BMW X1 does a lot well but makes you pay through the seat of your pants. Who makes the fewest lemons? And Cooley runs down the hottest electric cars out of the gate in 2016.
[MUSIC] BMW's baby crossover, best of the bunch? Who makes the most reliable cars? And the type five electrics out of the gate in 2016. It's time to check the tech. We see cars differently. Nice. We love ' on the road and under the hood, but also check the techs and And are known for telling it like it is. Ugly is included at no extra cost. The good. The bad. The bottom line. This is c/net ONCARS. Welcome to c/net ONCARS, the show all about high tech cars and modern driving. I'm Brian Cooley. Well, if you're like everybody else and their sister, right now. You're looking for a compact Crossover. Am I right? And if you're looking for a really nice one, you could be looking And a BMW X1, on paper, this newly revised version of the X1 looks like it might be the one to beat. But does it live as well as it reads? We got the 16 X1 xDrive28i in to check the tech. [MUSIC] It's BMW's smallest sports activity vehicle. Don't call it an SUV, they don't like that. Now, spotting one of these second generation X1s is like falling off a log. I mean, the proportions have been substantially re-done. First of all, the whole vehicle is an inch shorter, it's almost two inches taller. And the distance between the wheels, the wheel base, is over three and a half inches Shorter. This is all dramatic stuff to the eye. And one thing you'll also notice is a very short front overhang. That's the amount of body that exists ahead of the front tires. [MUSIC] Now inside the X1 they don't cheat on the cabin build quality and finish. It's really nice in here. And they've done some nice sculpting. The way this pod comes forward and the way it's angled toward the driver and beveled this way. Outstanding ergo to get to every control in this vehicle. Now, this little postage stamp is because we don't have the tech package. That's way the screen is so small. Get the tech package and that balloons out to about eight inches. Right now it's kind of in the 50th percentile of automotive nav screens in terms of size and nice wide ratio. Amazingly, because that tech package is missing, this button also does nothing. The voice button; no voice command. Luckily, depending on your view on automotive safety, you can still use the iDrive controller to tap out addresses while you're driving. That tech package would add to that A handwriting pad on top of the knob and hood head up display as well. Auto industry frenemies Apple Car Play and Android Auto not available presently in the X1 and I doubt there'll be retro fit if you buy a 16. Your shifter is very conventional and notice its a mechanical linkage shifter. No none even knows that anymore and no paddles. Unless you get a forthcoming M sport package and yet, in spite of giving you a smaller screen and no voice command, a power real tailgate is standard. Weird priorities here. I'd also recommend you option up the Harman Kardon audio and that nice big panoramic roof. Those are always even better when they're in a smallish car. Adding to that nice feeling of airy visibility, you've got an inch a half higher seating position in the front row, two and a half inches higher in the back row. It's almost like stadium seating. And an inch and a half more leg room, minimum, in the second row, as well. [MUSIC] This one's gotta go back, they put the engine in wrong. That's right, they do that now. This is a transverse mounted engine in a BMW. It sits this way, they basically don't do that until now. And In some markets this can actually be had as a front wheel drive vehicle. Now there's a whole batch of heresy in here. Now in the US we only get these as all wheel drive and this side saddle engine is only one possible unit. A 2.0L Turbo charged I4. Twin power means a single turbo with Two scroll profiles in it, not two turbos, not for a [INAUDIBLE] Overall output is 228 horsepower. The torque is, of course, what really gives a boost here, 258 pound feet of torque. That's a good number and a good ratio as well. [MUSIC] Turning that engine sideways is a big part of how they created all of the extra seating room we just talked about. But dont sneer, at least not until you hear this platform is shared with some Minis, and even then you are being catty. Okay, about 3700 pounds of X1 gets up to 60 in around 6.3 seconds, good performance. 22/32 are your EPA mileage polls, 26 average. One choice on the gearbox, by the way. It's an eight speed automatic. The powertrain is 80/20. 80 percent of the time it's got the right power, when I want it. 20 percent of the time, it's just in the wrong gear, in the wrong turbo phase. Or it's just not awake, that's partly due to turbo spooliness. Partly due to the fact that when you have a little engine on steroids, they tend to get those weird slingy modes. Sport mode is blessedly simple and non-configurable. Eco-pro mode features a coasting function, that disconnects the drive train when you list off throttle between 30 and 100 miles an hour. And that reduces driveline drag, to save a little fuel. But my biggest gripe happens to be the ride. The handling is quite good in this This vehicle, but you pay too much for it in the every day ride. I don't feel every divot in the road, I feel every pebble in the asphalt. It is just a pain in the ****. Now yes, the other side of that firm suspension is really tossable handling, but you are not taking your X1 to the track. Listen to me, you're not doing that. You're going back and forth to work and to Target. And it doesn't help that just about every surface you contact is really hard and rigid. The seats feel like they're honed out of mahogany, the steering wheel like it's a. Chunk of metal. But on those occasional roads where you can open things up and let her rip, it's a great handling small crossover. Okay, pricing in X1 is actually fairly simple because we only have one model in the US. This guy, which is the two litre turbo all wheel drive. Base is a little under $36,000 delivered. Then there are an annoying three tiers of check boxes you've gotta hit to get all the driver assists that we like. That's messy and they don't feel like a great value. For crying out loud, don't forget the tech option at $2,550 that brings you HUD, a bigger navigation screen, voice command, and a whole bunch of things you absolutely need. Good values are the panoramic roof and Harm on Car in Audio those are priced really well. All in once we've made this guy CNET STYLE, we're sitting somewhere north of $43,000. They got a lot of great choices to cross ship in this category like Mercedes GLA, Lexus NS, Range Rover Evoque, Audi Q3 but when you drive this one bring a seat cushion. [MUSIC] Find our full take on the '16 BMW X1. In fact, we've got a twofer, my take, and Antoine Goodwin's over at theroadshow.com. We come back I've got a ton of your emails coming up. Sit tight as CNet on cars continues. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO] Welcome back to CNET on cars. I'm Brian Cooley it's coming to you from our home with the Mount Tam motor club just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Favorite part of the show taking your emails that are Always an interesting grab bag of questions and viewpoints. Let's get started. This one comes in from, let's see, Dallas, Texas. Matt Z writes in and says, can you speak to the product development process at various car companies as it relates to making their vehicles reliable. He says he's always amazed that companies like VW, Benz and BMW, despite huge resources at their disposal, Seem to make, what he says, are increasingly unreliable models, year after year. He continues, as someone who would love to trade in his always-reliable Japanese vehicle for something with that wanted German feel, he just thinks it's a frustrating trade off that he shouldn't have to make at this point in automotive history. Reliability in cars is not simple, partly because you've gotta look at the idea. of make, model, model year and generation. You can't just look at a brand new car and say Audi make certain kind of cars or Honda makes reliable cars. it varies down to a much more fine level. The days, like back in the old Ford Rouge Plant or Ford had their own barges of sand and liquid rubber and iron ore coming in one end And cars made of glass, rubber, and steel coming off the other, those are long gone. Carmakers are not vertical. They bring in lots of assemblies from other companies. In fact, they don't even build their own cars our of assemblies. For many years, for example, I think about a decade, the Boxters and Caymens were made by a company in Finland called Valmet. Porsche didn't even make most of them, and the reputation for quality on those was really good. Plus, who makes the parts of those cars? Whoever assembles them. Big parts, like transmissions, engine components, entire interiors, are not made by car makers. They're bought in from suppliers who work off their design. So that effects the reliability And again, that is hard to know, as a consumer, where the sourcing is coming from. The last thing I will tell you about is this idea of ratings. Now Consumer Reports and JD Power are the best known for reliability and/or dependability, the two terms they use respectively. A consumer report, to my eyes, seems to focus more on drop dead stuff. Real hard-core reliability that's gonna give you a car that isn't functioning right or literally doesn't start. JD Power will tell you right off the bat their ratings have been heavily swayed lately by consumers giving them a lot of feedback about technology in the car that works, technically speaking. But isn't designed well and it's hard to operate. Consumer Reports puts Audi at the top, then Subaru, Lexus, Porsche, BMW. JD Power starts with Buick, then Lexus, Porsche, Acura, Audi. So those are two different takes on reliability. Look they have a lot of core in common, so you gotta bare that in mind as you reed the ratings of different orgs that follow this. Good luck and know this There are a whole lot less lemons on the market now than there were a couple decades ago. Okay, our next email comes in from long-time viewer, Ryan P, who says his 18 inch summer tires just arrived. He ordered them from the Tire Rack. Continental DWS 06 235/40 18. Sound like some nice tires. He says, why is it I always seem to get a set With all these funky colored lines on them. Would you be annoyed? Okay the colored lines made me nervous until I opened the photo that you attached with your Email. Those colored lines. Those aren't a big deal fortunately because what you got there our basically some thin stripes that are going down the thread and those are basically manufacturing marks. There kind of hard to decode. Some people think that they can tell what they mean. I have no idea. It's basically a part of how they match the treads and the casings at the tire factory as I understand it, and the markings vary by factory, so those are kinda really obtuse. I wouldn't worry too much about them, do a little driving Those will be gone. What I was concerned about, is that you might add some of those awful tires that were around, what, about a decade ago, that had actual colored tread blocks right down the middle. BF Goodrich made some of these. I remember them, they were strictly for looks, and it wasn't a good look. If you really want to get bizarre, Cumo made some tires that through off different colors of smoke when you did burnout You could choose red or blue or yellow, I think. All of these goofy ideas are blessedly off the market now. Okay, this email comes in from David Kaye who's got a follow up on an email we did an episode or two ago. Where I was saying, look you can skip POI and database updates for your in-car app and just use your phone instead but he makes some interesting point. He says, first of all while the car company may offer a navigation software update once or twice a year, nobody is saying you have to buy them, and that there may not be any significant changes from one update to the next. Good point. The second point, he says, is that at least with Google maps and navigation on your phone of course, you are dependent on having a data connection A 3G or 4G preferably, for it to work really well. And there are still large parts of the country that are sitting on 2G if anything. Well taken points David. Let's dig into this a little bit. The most important one is I want everyone to know you do not have to get the updates to your factory navigation in your car. It's not gonna break. It's not gonna stop working, it may be missing a few new or renamed roads. I mean, how many of those do you have in your area? Most areas, not a lot. And as we were talking about, you wanna have the latest POIs, restaurants and gas stations. I think cars are crappy at that anyway, so your phone still has a role there. Now yeah, when you're in the boonies All bets are off. That's why I continue to use backups for that. Google Maps has recently really beefed up wha they call offline mode. If you know you're gonna be travelling in a certain area, you can tell it to download a large chunk of map For that region. So even if you lose your connection, you don't lose your navigation on your phone. A lot of folks don't know that feature. Another thing to think about if you want really broad offline coverage is to get your phone equipped also with an offline navigation app. I use one called CoPilot. There's a whole bunch of them out there. These are especially good for overseas and don't want to use a lot of expensive travel-based data. But you still want to have navigation. They're not as rich and obviously they're not cloud connected like Google but they're pretty good when you need them. And the other point I'll make about this is that car navigation does have one big advantage over phone based, and that is even if it's out of sight of GPS let alone data It still works pretty well. Because the car has so many accelerometers, compasses and things that know where it's moving, how fast, and for what length. It can stay up on it's map, really well. Okay, finally a correction about an email that I did last time. That I want to make clear about the Honda Ionic range of hybrid, plug in and battery electric cars. I said the battery electric doesn't arrive until the fall of 2017. It actually arrives much sooner. That car is gonna be here mid to late 2016. It's the plug-in, that arrives later in 2017. In a moment, we'll learn about electric cars, by seeing who is selling the most. When CNET on cars returns. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO] [MUSIC] Welcome back to CNET on Cars, I'm Brian Cooley. Well it's time now for a top five that I think is particularly topical. Because you recall the massive, pre order interest recently in the Tesla Model 3. But that's not coming to market anytime soon. So instead lets see what is tearing up the EV sales charts that you can actually buy right now. With our top 5 list of the best selling EV, Q1 of 2016. This Q1 number is our first Temperature on the EV market for the year. This data comes from the excellent running sales tallies maintained by insieevs.com. We start off number five with of all things a BMW. In fact, BMW's only pure electric car. And that is The diminutive i3. Sales are a disaster, to put it politely. They sold more of these in December of 15 than all of Q1 2016. Part of the problem is the range is, shall we say, disappointing. Well under 100 miles. And the car doesn't look anything like what you think a BMW should look like. That turns off some people. Now we could get a shot in the arm for the i3 soon, as a 2017 model is expected with better range, that'll help, some. Number four is the Fiat 400e, the e stands for electric boy that's gonna sting, BMW's getting out sold by a Fiat. Now, what we've got going on here is a car being selling at about half the monthly rate, early 2016 that it did last year, not a good directional sign. Of course when you take a car that's a tough sell to begin with and then make an EV out of it to really get out in the weeds, that's not exactly a formula for a model that's gonna catch on fire.. Our number 3 car is the only newcomer To this list. So we have no comparison data with Q1 of 2015 because it's the only all new Falcon wing Tesla Model X. Now it's been selling at a torrid pace as you can imagine but a lot of that can be assumed to be pent up demand. So you wanna have a great feel for it's real So your run rate just yet. I'm also gonna be intrigued at the end of 2016 to see what the numbers tell us about how much if any it cannibalized x sales. Our number two car is of course familiar to these kinds of lists and that is of course the Nissan Leaf, a car that's kind of a standard bearer for the affordable electric. However, sales trends are well off early 2016 against last year. Part of what's happening here is the Leaf doesn't look real sexy compared to a Model 3. If you can wait that long then the price isn't that much different. Secondly, Nissan's apparently having a hard time keeping up with demand for their most recent Leaf that has a bigger battery with longer reign. Age. That's throttling some of the appetite out there as well. Before I take you to number one let's talk about a car that maybe something like that later in the year. And that is the highly anticipated Chevy Bolt. This is the most eagerly awaited EV of 2016, no two ways about it. 200 miles of range about 30 grand, pretty good looks. Great practicality. They say they can make up to 50,000 of these. Now that would be a major player, if it turns out that they can get that kind of demand, meet that kind of production ramp, and keep the keys from falling out. The number one car on our list, I sound like a broken record on this one, I guess, is of course the Tesla Model S. Notice the unusual direction of its sales trend arrow and the very robust numbers overall. The Model S is a key car that just because it's doing well, but it sets the table for Model X, and it set the table for the massive interest in the coming Model 3. The downside of all that is Tesla just lost its ability to ease into becoming a major car maker. They now have to find a way to do that overnight. This guy is the reason why. [MUSIC] Hey, everyone. Thanks for being here this time around. Hope you enjoyed this episode. So much of this comes from your ideas, so keep them coming. Oncars@cnet.com, find us on Twitter and Facebook as well to know what we're working on next. And to get the latest episodes, just head to cnetoncars.com. I'll see you next time we check the deck [MUSIC] [SOUND] [BLANK_AUDIO]