If it feels as if our 2014 BMW X1 is a favorite Four Seasons vehicle for staff trips, you can thank Mother Nature. Winter’s reluctance to relinquish control over the Midwest has meant the X1’s blend of passenger and cargo space plus all-wheel drive has led it into conventional daily duty, not all-season adventure.

Weeks after the BMW X1 was caught in a wintry traffic jam en route to Chicago, associate Web editor Jake Holmes found himself stuck in a similar snafu on his way to – you guessed it – Chicago. Holmes reports:

“My drive out to Chicago took far longer than normal, as I battled white-out conditions and slushy, slippery roads. The X1 had no problem in terms of grip -- except for getting understandably squirrelly when I tried to accelerate on a snow-covered on-ramp -- but it did make me nervous on a few occasions. When water had accumulated and formed ice under bridges or overpasses -- visible as short, reflective pools -- the BMW X1 would juke left or right even if I coasted over those patches with the steering wheel straight. It was never enough to unsettle the car, and I think any vehicle might have had that problem on the ice patches, but it did remind me to keep my speeds sensible even when the roads were clear.

“The ride is quite good overall and the X1's cabin is very quiet at speed. It did eat through two bottles of windshield washer fluid, but that's due to the miserable weather, not the car itself. One real complaint is that I struggled to stay comfortable in the driver's seat. I always find I need to sit reasonably high to see out of the car well, but that means the steering wheel obscures the very tops of the instruments. Moreover, my lower back never feels very well supported, so every hour or so I found myself wriggling in the seat and adjusting the power seat controls to get comfortable.”

Shortly after Holmes returned from the windy city, his fellow associate Web editor Joey Capparella used the 2014 BMW X1 to ferry friends to Lansing for a concert. He reports:

“The more time I spend with the X1, the more I like it. It’s sporty to drive, exudes quality, has a useable amount of space, and is even reasonably efficient. In my mind, this is exactly what a BMW crossover should be. My group of friends did not buy the whole “crossover” moniker, and immediately called the X1 a hatchback. They’re right, especially if you look at interior volume and exterior proportions. It’s low to the ground and fairly sleek, especially compared to crossovers like the new Audi Q3, which rides awkwardly high in an attempt to emulate an SUV.”

It should be no surprise to us that the 2014 BMW X1 gets used like a hatchback car, since it is a car in the kind of utility it offers – comfortable driving, adequate cargo capacity, and no necessarily extraordinary all-weather capability. For all the way in which passenger packages are creased and folded into different shapes these days, the kind of daily performance that drivers seek remains remarkably the same no matter what the shape looks like.

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