The plug in hybrid version of the BMW 225xe Active Tourer is a people carrier. Not everyone who wants to move over to electric driving will want an MPV as their choice of car but if they do, the 2 series Active Tourer would make a good choice. The Active Tourer BMW has produced is fast, handles reasonably well and offers strong fuel economy even when you are not in electric mode, certainly compared to other models that are sold as MPVs. The electric motor is good enough for most journeys. However, there is no seven seat version, a big setback for larger families which want to get around town on electric power without producing CO2 emissions. As many car reviews of the BMW 2 series Active Tourer have pointed out, the 225XE was one of the first people carriers that came onto the market that could drive on electric power alone. That might not make it practical as a company car in many motorists' eyes but the BMW 225xe Active Tourer is really aimed at the family market. As such, this review of the BMW 225xe will focus on it as an MPV primarily and as a company vehicle second.
Range, Charging, & Emissions
To begin with, BMW's claim of a 34 mile pure electric range should be understood in the context of favourable test conditions. In the real world, you can expect 25 miles of electric driving without using the petrol engine. In certain road conditions and when carrying lots of passengers, this would drop to as little as 20 miles even when the car is fully charged. That is still enough for most family journeys in the MPV, however. The plug in hybrid versions of the BMW 2 series Active Tourer comes with a 7.6 kWh battery. That is enough for most short trips but the 225xe also uses its battery to help the petrol engine run more efficiently, thereby lowering CO2 emissions whether you are on petrol or electric power. As such, the number of miles on electric power you can drive isn't really the point of the BMW 225xe Active Tourer. The MPV is more about providing owners with a practical car that combines its electric motor with a petrol engine for better fuel economy and greener day-to-day driving. A battery charge would take four hours from a three pin plug socket at the office. If you install a 7kW outlet at home, then the time taken to recharge the battery pack would be halved. Unlike some other so-called hybrid family cars, this makes owning one extremely practical. Even better, BMW has recently announced a new version of the car that will feature a larger, 10 kWh battery that will be available in the near future.
With a fuel economy rate that can be as high as 188 miles per gallon, BMW's 225XE MPV is likely to appeal to people who want low running costs from their car. What's more, the BMW 2 series Active Tourer also only produce around 36 grams of CO2 per kilometre even when the car is under petrol power, so that's a good thing to know. What's less appealing is that in the Active Tourer BMW has made a car that's not cheap to insure. It could be as low as group 11 in some cases. However, the plug in hybrid version of the BMW 225xe is more expensive to insure and will sit in group 22 or 23. That is higher than a Toyota Prius hybrid, for comparison. The servicing intervals recommended by BMW relates to the condition of the car but most new owners will opt for the car's i Service Inclusive package which is only £300 and covers owners for 36,000 miles or three years. The warranty BMW offers is for three full years, too, and this is not limited by mileage. The BMW 225xe Active Tourer costs £145 per year to tax so long as you keep the list price down. Any cars over £40,000 in value will cost more to keep fully taxed and on the road. Finally, since the battery isn't very big with the 225xe, you'll probably not spend much more than a pound to fully charge it up from home, depending on your utility supplier.
Although the engine, battery and electric motor of the BMW 225xe Active Tourer might be the same as you'd find in a BMW i8 sports car, the power performance is very different when you compare the two. The MPV will give you 221 bhp while the sports car offers 357 bhp. However, the people carrier is faster than you might expect. It takes 6.7 seconds to achieve 0-62mph under all wheel drive. Unlike most BMW models, this is not a true rear wheel drive car. To compare that to a similar model, the Toyota Prius gets from 0-62mph in 10.6 seconds. The 225xe model has a top speed of 126 mph. For comparison's sake, that is faster than a Prius or Mitsubishi Outlander hybrid. Many people will immediately notice the ride feels a little firm and that the front wheel drive system from the electric mode means that the steering wheel always feels a little more unresponsive than it should. This is something not all reviews point out. You can drive the car in zero emissions mode by turning off the petrol engine entirely which means only the front wheels will power the car. However, most owners will opt for the intelligent driving modes that optimise the power offered by each motor for maximum efficiency. This way, it really doesn't matter whether you are driving in heavy traffic in a city centre or are eating up the miles on the motorway - the car will always perform for the greatest economy possible in those road conditions.
The exterior appearance of each of the three trim levels available with the BMW 225xe Active Tourer is much the same. You don't get any greater speed with these different model variants, either. You will get LEX headlights and an auto boot tailgate with the Sport edition. The Sport models come in white or black only unless you are willing to fork out an extra £595 for a metallic finish. 17 inch alloy wheels are on offer with the Sport. You'll also get high-gloss roof rails for the entry-level price of the Sport trim. On the outside, there isn't a great deal to distinguish the Luxury Comfort model. These cars have adaptive LED headlights and v-spoke alloy wheels. Alternatively, opt for the M Sport Ultimate. It has 18 inch wheels but the only colour you can have it in is white unless you want a metallic paint model which will cost extra.
Most of the differences with the trim levels relate to the interior of the 225xe. For example, the top end version comes with a technology plus pack and a Harmon Kardon sound system. Vernasca leather upholstery features in the mid-range version which gives the seats a more luxurious feel. With the Active Tourer BMW has made a car with 400 litres of boot space, more than enough for most families to pack for a week away. The rear seats fold down independently, too, so there is room to pack longer items when needed but still fit in passengers on the rear seats. With every seat collapsed, the available boot space goes up to a whopping 1,350 litres. Not that many hybrid cars can offer this number of litres of room in the boot, although the Mitsubishi Outlander does have more storage space in the rear. From a driver's perspective, in the Active Tourer BMW have not provided as much as they could have done with the dashboard. It isn't that old but already feels a little dated. The information you need is all there - you can easily see how much electric range is left, for example. However, the interior doesn't have anything distinctive to offer compared to other 2 series cars. The only clue you are in a hybrid is an extra button to change driving modes. The infotainment system is menu driven and easy to operate. Once you know which menu you want to access, it takes moments to get there so your eyes remain on the road. Even with the entry-level Sport trim, you get dual climate control and a DAB radio. Overall, the interior is fine but no reviews find it to be outstanding in any way.
The plug-in hybrid version of the BMW 225xe hasn't been independently assessed for safety by Euro NCAP. As such, its test back in 2014 is still the standard this car is judged by. Back then, the model tested was rated with five stars out of five. The vehicle scored best for occupant safety, both adults and children. Among the safety features are side and chest airbags in both the front and rear. You get an Isofix child seat point in the rear, too. Drivers will also benefit from an auto emergency braking system plus an alertness monitoring system that tells you when it is a good time to take a break from driving.
For a car that provides such good fuel efficiency, the savings you can expect to make of the lifetime of the BMW 225xe don't fully outweigh its initial purchase price. The all wheel drive car will set you back £30,860 on the road for the basic model. If you opt for the Luxury Comfort trim, then expect to pay £35,845. The top of the range trim is £39,030 so it is easy to push this over the £40,000 threshold which will impact on the road tax you will have to pay. Finally, it is worth mentioning that the benefit in kind company car tax rate for 2022-23 is set at 15 per cent for the BMW 2 series Active Tourer.