What's the used BMW 2 Series estate like?
In some ways, it’s quite annoying, not least because there are so many different body styles of BMW 2 Series that you have to keep tagging on the Active Tourer part every time you discuss it, and that becomes rather a mouthful. Other than that, it’s a very well thought out five-seat MPV that should ease the burden of transporting a family and their luggage.
The Active Tourer also marked a break from tradition for BMW in that it was one of the firm's first front-wheel-drive cars rather than the company’s more usual bread and butter of rear-wheel drive. This has two benefits, the first being that the vehicle doesn’t need a large central transmission tunnel, which would impact rear leg room. It also means that the model can be built on the same platform as the Mini, which is known for providing fun handling.
If you are regularly carrying lots of stuff over lots of miles, though, you’ll want to look at the diesels. The entry-level 216d is pretty sluggish, but the 220d is nippy by MPV standards – it’s almost as quick as the 220i petrol – and strong from low revs. But the best value diesel is the one in the middle, the 218d.
Buyers who'll do mainly short journeys will probably be interested in the 225xe plug-in hybrid option. It has the same three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine as the 218i, but adds a small battery pack and rear-mounted electric motor. It’s the quickest engine in the line-up, and is said to be able to travel up to 33 miles on pure electric power alone (the figure will be more like 25 miles in real-world driving conditions).
The 2 Series Active Tourer’s ride is a little unsettled at low speeds and over rough surfaces, but it’s a lot better on fast country roads and motorways, and deals with large imperfections such as speed bumps very well.
For a tall MPV, the 2 Series Active Tourer changes direction nimbly. Its steering – which has three weight options as standard – inspires plenty of confidence while also being light enough for easy use in tight parking spots.
There’s a bit of lean when you corner quickly but it's not bad by the standard of the class, and the body is kept in check over undulations or awkward cambers.
The 2.0 diesel engines in the 218d and 220d may not be quite as hushed as their equivalent in the VW Touran but it’s not bad at all. The 218i’s petrol engine has a characterful burble to it, although it’s quite hushed when you’re not accelerating.
The 225xe proves even more impressive because of its silent electric-only running. Even when the engine kicks in, it does so smoothly. The standard six-speed auto isn’t quite as impressive as the eight-speed unit in the non-hybrids, but it is still smooth.