BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (2014 – 2021) Review

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (2014 – 2021) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
BMW’s family-focused MPV offers five-seat accommodation alongside a generous boot, and is cost-effective to own and run.

+Good to drive. Well-finished cabin. Electric tailgate and one-touch folding seats as standard. Efficient engines.

-Some rivals offer better practicality and more space. Only five seats in this model.

Insurance Groups are between 12–24
On average it achieves 68% of the official MPG figure

The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is, in many ways, the least BMW-like car in the firm’s recent history. Far from the driver-focused saloons, coupes and SUVs that are its usual fare, this is a front-drive MPV squarely aimed at family buyers. That’s no bad thing as the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is pleasingly practical, while also being much better to drive than most rivals. And as our BMW 2 Series Active Tourer review will explain, efficient engines keep running costs reasonable, but some competitors are more versatile. 

The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is another niche-filling model from the German manufacturer. Larger than a BMW 1 Series but not quite an estate car, the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is BMW’s rival for the Mercedes B-Class and also the Volkswagen Golf SV. It marked some firsts for the brand when launched in 2014, with three-cylinder engines and front-wheel drive.

It still feels every bit a BMW though. It’s impressively built, comfortable and good to drive. The interior is smartly designed and uses top-quality materials. There are some sumptuous upholstery choices on offer, including cream leather, plus various designs for dashboard inlays, with wood or metal finishes depending on the trim level.

There’s a lot of technology too, including a large infotainment screen with navigation linked to BMW’s intuitive iDrive system. There’s room for five in the cabin, plus there is a large boot with an electronically operated tailgate as standard. Space might not be as generous as a Mercedes B-Class, but it’s still ample for most families.

The chassis and certain engines in the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer are shared with the MINI range of the same period, which is no bad thing. The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer successfully blends ride comfort with a good level of grip through corners. There is very little in the way of body roll and the controls are perfectly weighted, making driving easy yet enjoyable.

There’s a broad range of engines on offer using typical BMW naming, which has little to do with the engine capacity and more to do with its ‘rank’ in a hierarchy. Entry-level petrol and diesel engines are 1.5-litre three cylinder units shared with the MINI and they are fine for most – but motorway or rural drivers will benefit from the extra power and torque offered by the more powerful 218d diesel or 220i petrol.

As an alternative to a Volkswagen Golf SV or Mercedes B-Class, or more mainstream offerings such as the Citroen C4 Picasso or once big-selling Ford C-MAX, the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer holds a lot of appeal. A premium badge coupled to plenty of space and good drive makes it a prime choice among MPVs.

Ask Honest John

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer - cam belt or chain?

"Does the engine in the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 1.5D auto (66 plate) have a cam belt or is it chain driven? If it is cam belt, what mileage/age is it recommended to change it at?"
This engine uses a timing chain that is designed to last the life of the car. However, the key to keeping the chain healthy is an oil and filter change every 12 months or 12,000 miles (whichever comes first).
Answered by Dan Powell

I need a ULEZ-compliant family car. Could you make some suggestions?

"I live just outside London and my car is about to be rendered useless by the ULEZ. I have a Ford S-MAX (diesel 2.0-litre) and although I'm used to the space, I don’t really need a 7-seater. I'm totally lost by the amount of choice out there! I have 3 teenage children (4 of us altogether) and we tend to do one really long summer trip abroad in the car. I love the power of the S-MAX and the boot space but otherwise, I have no idea what kind of car I need. My budget is about £12k-13k. Please help!"
We'd recommend a BMW 2 Series Active Tourer or Volkswagen Touran. They're very versatile five-seat people carriers available with punchy ULEZ-compliant engines. If you'd prefer more space, take a look at the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer.
Answered by Andrew Brady

I'm at a loss when it comes to options and trims. Any advice?

"We are both in our 70s and live in Somerset where these are very narrow lanes etc. We go to Cardiff frequently so motorway driving and a bit of city. We have had a Volkswagen Passat Estate, which was very comfortable and reliable with heated seats and the like. We're looking for a used car fairly that's not as long as the Passat Estate but has good boot space. We'd prefer a hatchback with parking assist and infotainment systems. It must be safe, comfortable and quiet with reasonable running costs. Up to around £20k. We've looked at the Volkswagen Golf but the boot is too small. The Golf estate is better but not exciting. BMW Series 2 Active Tourer seems possible but I’m at sea with all the options, trims etc. Any advice greatly welcomed!"
A BMW 2 Series Active Tourer sounds like an ideal choice. All models come with rear parking sensors and a very good 6.5-inch infotainment system. Look out for Technology Pack 1 if you'd prefer a reversing camera, and Technology Pack 2 for the bigger 8.8-inch navigation system. Heated seats are an optional extra, too, available as part of the Comfort Pack. You might wish to avoid the top-spec M Sport model as this comes with larger 18-inch alloy wheels and sports suspension which means it's a bit firmer and less comfortable than other trim levels. As an alternative, have you considered a Mercedes-Benz B-Class? The latest model will be in budget and it's a very comfortable rival to the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, with a superb cabin and plenty of space.
Answered by Andrew Brady

Can you suggest a compact, reliable, petrol MPV for a small family?

"I've been a Honda Jazz obsessive for the past 10 years, but now equipped with two little people, a dog and far too much stuff to lug between stays with the in-laws, I'm craving that little bit more space without losing all that I love the Jazz for. I have dreams of the Honda HR-V or CR-V one day, but sadly cannot currently justify the extra size and cost. So I'm left looking for a reliable and economic compact/mid-size MPV. I have up to £12,000 to spend on a used car, with the criteria - automatic, petrol, as much boot as I can get, a relatively high driving position with easy access, reliable and economic when it comes to tax/servicing. Thank you! "
We'd recommend a BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. The 1.5-litre petrol engine used in the 218i provides low running costs and punchy performance. Also consider a Volkswagen Golf SV or Touran – the latter's a particularly practical choice, although you might struggle to find a petrol model. Alternatively, a Vauxhall Zafira Tourer could be a good choice. It's quite a big car but offers loads of space for the money and won't cost a fortune to run.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (2014 – 2021) cost?