BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Review logo

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Review

Car image
Car image
Car image
Car image
Car image
Car image
Car image
Car image
Car image
Car image
Car image

1/10

Car image

2/10

Car image

3/10

Car image

4/10

Car image

5/10

Car image

6/10

Car image

7/10

Car image

8/10

Car image

9/10

Car image

10/10

1 / 10

heycar review

      Launch year
      2014
      Body type
      MPV
      Fuel type
      Diesel, Petrol, PHEV
David Ross

Written by

David Ross

00/10
heycar rating
“Great MPV with BMW shine”

Best bits

  • Good to drive for an MPV
  • Comes with electric opening boot and navigation as standard
  • PHEV model has 30-mile electric range

Not so great

  • Ride can be unsettled at lower speeds
  • Thick front pillars can create a blindspot
  • Diesels are a touch noisy

Read by

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Exterior Front

Overall verdict

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Interior

On the inside

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Driving Back

Driving

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Gear Stick

How much does it cost to run

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Exterior

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"The 2 Series Active Tourer was BMW’s first people carrier. For a brand associated with driving pleasure and performance, building a family-friendly small MPV didn’t seem a natural progression. But by using the know-how gained through MINI, it managed to develop one of the best handling and highest quality MPVs around."

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Exterior Front

Yet this BMW isn’t just a one trick pony. It’s also spacious enough for families, practical with a big boot and comfortable too. A pretty attractive package then. Apart from the looks that is.


So yes, while it might not be the best looking design (few MPVs are) the 2 Series Active Tourer is arguably a better all rounder than the Volkswagen Golf SV and Mercedes B-Class, its main rivals. 


The quality really shines through. This isn’t a ‘cheap’ version of a BMW and even if you start rooting around the cabin, you won’t find any hard plastics or evidence of cost cutting. It has the same high quality you’d get in a BMW at twice the price.


You get a surprising amount of equipment as standard too. All models come with dual zone climate control, DAB, navigation and even an electric tailgate. It means that you won’t find any bog standard models and even the cheapest examples on the used market will have pretty much everything you need. 


There’s a good range of both petrol and diesels but the 218i is our choice. It’s actually a 1.5-litre petrol engine but fitted with a turbo and as a result it has real character. It gives eager performance and allied with the BMW’s well weighted steering, makes the 2 Series Active Tourer genuinely enjoyable to drive. Not a statement that can be said about many MPVs. 


In fact much of the time, driving the 2 Series Active Tourer feels no different to driving a small hatchback. It’s easy to park helped by the light steering at low speeds and the fact front and rear parking sensors are standard fit. Yet it still feels stable on the motorway.


If you’re after a diesel there’s the usual BMW suspects but the 218d is your best bet for a blend of performance and economy. It’s also one of the most popular models, so there are plenty of used examples to choose from. 


BMW has a PHEV version in the form of the 225xe. This actually uses the same small petrol as the 218i but adds an electric motor which gives the 2 Series Active Tourer a range of 30 miles on EV power alone. If you can charge your car at home and only do short journeys it means you’ll rarely have to dip into the fuel tank. 


If you need more space and seven seats, BMW does a bigger version - the 2 Series Gran Tourer. But for many we think the 2 Series Active Tourer will offer more than enough space. If you want a high quality and fun to drive family MPV, this is the one to go for.

Is the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer right for you?

If you want an upmarket but compact MPV with a quality finish and that is also good to drive, the 2 Series Active Tourer should be on your list. It’s arguably the best handling MPV this size and drives more like a hatchback - it’s this that sets it apart from the competition.


The tall profile and low floor mean good space inside so that those over six-feet tall will have no problems getting comfortable. Even if they’re wearing a silly trilby hat. It’s as happy pottering around town (and easy to park) as it is on the motorway where even the smaller-engine models have enough power. 


If you want something practical that’s not huge in size, and boasts a premium feel inside, the 2 Series Active Tourer will tick a lot of your boxes. It’s ideal for families with young children or retired couples who want something with a bit of practicality that’s also safe for the grandchildren. If you need seven seats, look at the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer.

What's the best BMW 2 series Active Tourer model to choose?

We think the 218i is the best all rounder in the 2 Series Active Tourer range. It may only be a 1.5-litre petrol but it’s a great little engine that’s enjoyable to use, it's ideal for around town and not out of its depth on the motorway. Just be aware that it’s not the most economical engine in the range, especially with the automatic gearbox.


The Sport trim will get you most things you need so it’s not really worth paying significantly more for an M Sport or Luxury unless they’re particularly well specified with options. 


If you do lots of short journeys and have somewhere to charge it, the plug-in hybrid 225xe will cover around 30 miles on a single charge so it could mean rarely using any fuel. But if it’s long distance economy you want, go for the 216d. Again, look for a Sport trim.


What other cars are similar to the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer?

With MPVs becoming less popular, instead replaced by the ubiquitous SUV, there aren’t that many direct competitors to the 2 Series Active Tourer - the main premium brand rival is the Mercedes-Benz B-Class while there’s also the Volkswagen Golf SV (the artist formerly known as the Golf Plus).


If it’s the space of an MPV you require, the Ford C-MAX and Toyota Verso are usefully practical but can’t match the quality of the BMW. Cast the net wider and there are plenty of SUVs that you could consider as alternatives, from BMW’s own X1 to the Audi Q2 or even a Jaguar E-Pace, although the taller shape of the 2 Series Active Tourer means it has more space inside.


Learn more

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Interior

On the inside

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Driving Back

Driving

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Gear Stick

How much does it cost to run

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Exterior

Prices, versions and specification