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BMW 218d Active Tourer 2015 review: road test

EXPERT RATING
7
Joshua Dowling road tests and reviews the BMW 218d ACtive Tourer with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

The 2 Series carrier comes close to being the complete mini people-mover package.

Having for years mocked front-wheel-drive cars, BMW has finally embraced the idea — in the form of a family wagon.

The car world has been eager to judge whether BMW's first attempt at the mainstream can bring some pizzazz to an otherwise mundane segment of the market.

Design

Box-shaped hatchbacks are all the rage in Europe: they fit in the same parking space as a VW Golf but have the roominess of a mini people-mover.

BMW has combined form with function

At first it's unusual to see the recognisable BMW "kidney" grille on such a conveyance but it grows on you with time.

The interior design is noteworthy. BMW has combined form with function; the door pockets are huge and there is good oddment storage in the centre console and glovebox. The materials feel as if they belong in a premium BMW, unlike some models.

The seating and steering positions are superb, with ample adjustment to find the ideal posture. BMW makes some of the best driver's seats in the world and it's a treat to get a pew this good in this class of car. It makes long journeys a breeze, thanks to the extra under-thigh support and snug seat backs.

Vision all around is good due to the large window area. Parking is a cinch, too, aided by front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera as standard.

Automatic parking is standard but, as with most similar systems, it takes more time to program it than to park the car yourself. The broad turning circle of 11.3 metres is not brilliant by class standards.

On the road

The BMW family bus steers beautifully, with even weighting as you turn the wheel and a precision normally found in sports cars. The grip from the tyres is above average and inspires confidence whether negotiating a roundabout or a sweeping country road.

However the front end thumps so loudly on big bumps it sounds as if it's about to drop out of the vehicle.

We suspect that this is one of the downsides of the run-flat tyres, which have stiffer than normal sidewall rubber. We tested the 218d, powered by a 2.0-litre turbo diesel matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

BMW just needs to make it drive like a BMW

It had much more power than we were expecting, while being able to slip through eight gears also gives it a headstart. For an oiler, it's a relatively quiet and smooth operator.

Turbo petrol options are a three-cylinder 1.5-litre and four-cylinder 2.0-litre.

Verdict

The 2 Series Active Tourer is so close to being the complete package and yet so far. BMW just needs to make it drive like a BMW. Is it $20,000 better than a Kia Rondo 7? I don't think so.

What it's got

Ample room for a five-seat family wagon. Large door pockets and glovebox for extra storage. A rear-view camera. Leather seats. Run-flat tyres.

What it hasn't

Seven seats (that model is due later this year). It doesn't drive with the same finesse as other BMWs — or other front-wheel-drive cars such as the Volkswagen Golf — quite possibly because of the firm runflat tyres.

Ownership

Three-year unlimited kilometre warranty. BMW doesn't have capped price servicing but a dealer quoted us $600 every 15,000km (which can occur between 12 and 18 months, depending on use) and $600 for a brake fluid change every two years (wow, that must be some special brake fluid). Based on average use, it will cost about $2400 over three years. This is well above normal.

Pick of the range 

We like the 218d but I'd also take the turbocharged three-cylinder petrol variant for a drive before I signed on the dotted line.

Pricing guides

$32,990
Based on 89 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$18,999
Highest Price
$51,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
M235i 3.0L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $38,700 – 49,500 2015 BMW 2 Series 2015 M235i Pricing and Specs
220i Luxury Line 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $26,900 – 35,640 2015 BMW 2 Series 2015 220i Luxury Line Pricing and Specs
220i M-Sport 2.0L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $27,000 – 35,750 2015 BMW 2 Series 2015 220i M-Sport Pricing and Specs
228i Sport Line 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $30,100 – 39,380 2015 BMW 2 Series 2015 228i Sport Line Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
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