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TheStreet Open House

Fresh, Second-generation Buick Enclave For 2013

By ANN M. JOB

Finally, American car shoppers can get a small crossover sport utility vehicle from BMW that has a starting retail price of less than $32,000.

In fact, the new-for-2013 BMW X1 five door has the lowest starting retail price of any BMW car or SUV â¿¿ $31,695. The well-proportioned X1 looks pricier on the outside than it is and has great cargo- and people-hauling functionality.

The X1 even comes standard with two fuel-saving mechanisms. An automatic stop/start system turns off the engine when the vehicle is stopped at stoplights, while the other system called Eco Pro is driver activated and optimizes engine operation and transmission gearing, among other things, for maximum fuel economy.

The federal government mileage ratings for the base X1 with turbocharged, four-cylinder engine are 22 miles per gallon in city driving and 33 mpg on the highway. These ratings are on par with those for Honda's popular CR-V SUV that has a 185-horsepower, naturally aspirated four cylinder under the hood.

BMW has been selling the X1 in Europe since 2009. Demand has been so strong that the U.S. market was left out until this model year, when BMW added production capacity.

Now, the X1 with 240-horsepower, turbocharged four cylinder, eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive for the United States is priced $400 less than the manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, of a 2013 BMW 128i Coupe here, which was the previous lowest-priced BMW. The X1 also is lower priced than the starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $39,745 for BMW's next-largest SUV, the X3.

The 2013 X3 uses the same 240-horsepower, turbo four cylinder that's in the X1.

No manual transmission is offered in the X1. But four-wheel drive is available, and the lowest starting retail price for a 2013 X1 with four-wheel drive is $33,395. A second engine â¿¿ a 300-horsepower, turbocharged six cylinder â¿¿ comes at a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $39,495.

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