• 2021 BMW

2021 BMW X1: Finding the sweet spot between utility and luxury

After nine years with a Ford Escape, PR professional was ready for an upgrade

Avatar By: Vawn Himmelsbach July 27, 2021

As the owner of Get Ink PR & Communications — a public relations consultancy specializing in hospitality, tourism and consumer lifestyle products — Melanie Greco usually uses her car to meet with clients and attend meetings. But currently, driving is “mostly for the purposes of chauffeuring my 13-year-old son to his various activities,” she said. Greco needed to replace her previous vehicle after racking up 215,000 kilometres and decided to go with the one she’d always wanted: a BMW. More specifically, a 2021 BMW X3 xDrive30i in dark graphite with contrasting silver trim that she got from BMW Durham in Ajax. She tells us what she loves most about her vehicle.

“Previously, I had a 2013 Ford Escape SEL model. I had it for almost nine years. I loved my Ford Escape, but I purchased it more for utility than anything else. My son was only four when I bought it, and at the time I was looking for something that was safe, reliable and big enough to hold all of the gear that comes with having a young child,” said Greco.

“We live in Ajax, but my mom lives about an hour west, in Carlisle, and we racked up over 215,000 kilometres travelling back and forth over the years to see her. While the Ford was a great car, it was starting to show its age and needed some major repairs, like new air conditioning, which is non-negotiable during our humid Ontario summers. The Escape served its purpose, but it was time to buy a new vehicle.

“I’ve always looked at car purchases from a very practical standpoint. What do I need to get me from point A to point B? I think this is especially true when you have a young child and you’re constantly finding toys, food and other interesting things wedged between and under the seats. But now I don’t have to worry about those little surprises — well, not as much anyway — and I could buy myself a car that I truly enjoyed driving. I knew I wanted another SUV, so the X3 was an easy choice.

2021 BMW

Melanie Greco poses with He BMW for the feature “Why I love my Vehicle” in The Wheels Section for the Toronto Star- photographed July 16, 2021: Photos George Pimentel

“I think as women and mothers we sometimes need to justify big purchases to ourselves. I’ve wanted a BMW since I was 16, but I just finally got around to buying one. My husband is always telling me that I work hard and deserve to treat myself … so I did.

“There’s a ton of cargo space in the trunk and I love that I can fit all three sets of golf clubs at once — which is a bonus when you’re married to a golf professional.

2021 BMW

Melanie Greco poses with He BMW for the feature “Why I love my Vehicle” in The Wheels Section for the Toronto Star- photographed July 16, 2021: Photos George Pimentel

“My recommendation to anyone buying a new vehicle is to buy the car that you want and get the features that are important to you, even if they seem silly at the time. The cost difference for features that you want are fairly insignificant in the grand scheme of things, and a car is a big investment — so be happy with your choice and don’t regret your decision.

A CLOSER LOOK: 2021 BMW X3 xDrive30i

Safety first

The X3’s Driving Assistant Professional system enhances overall safety with blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and forward collision warning. “BMW is known for its safety features, and you really understand why once you drive one. I always feel completely at ease when I’m behind the wheel,” said Greco. “I have had to drive it during some major downpours, and it handled the road really well. The rain-sensing wipers is a great feature and prevent you from having to adjust the speed of the wipers constantly during a storm.”

Smooth driving

The vehicle’s TwinPower Turbo engine offers a punchy response, even at low revs, and the xDrive all-wheel-drive system distributes power to the front and rear wheels for added traction. Sport steering makes driving more dynamic. “The X3 hugs the road and drives smoother than any vehicle I’ve driven. You can accelerate quickly, and it doesn’t have the requisite little jump those smaller engines have,” said Greco. “It’s a dangerous feature for someone with a bit of a lead foot like me.”

Unique features

The 2021 model comes with more standard features than previous generations, including a navigation system, power liftgate and SensaTech synthetic leather upholstery. As Greco puts it: “There is nothing ‘basic’ about this vehicle.” But for her, the panoramic sun/moon roof was a must-have option. The interior is also roomy for a smaller SUV (and offers more room than the X1 and X2 models). “While headspace and legroom are never an issue for someone as vertically challenged as I am,” she said, “it has ample space for my husband and growing teen.”


BODY STYLE: Luxury compact sport utility vehicle


ENGINE: 248-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine

FUEL ECONOMY (CITY/HIGHWAY): 10.2/8.2 litres per 100 km

CARGO VOLUME: 1775 cubic litres with rear seats folded

PRICE: Starts at $55,245

WEBSITE: bmw.ca

This article was edited for space and clarity. Want to be featured in Why I Love My Vehicle? email us at wheels@thestar.ca.