BMW 225xe hybrid review

One of very few hybrid MPVs you can buy right now, the BMW 225xe is well worth a look for economy-minded family buyers

£35,300 - £37,550
Plug-in hybrid

Pros

  • Four-wheel-drive capability
  • 25-mile electric range
  • Luxurious interior

Cons

  • No seven-seat version
  • Vague steering feel
  • Can get expensive

The BMW 225xe Active Tourer hybrid was the first plug-in hybrid MPV to go on sale. And even now, it has very few direct – or indirect – rivals. The Toyota Prius+ is a seven-seat MPV, but is a hybrid rather than a plug-in. The 225xe doesn’t look that different to the other models in the range – only the badges and a charging flap on the front wing give it away.

It’s all-but-identical inside, too, and BMW has also managed to retain most of the space and practicality of the petrol and diesel 2 Series Active Tourer by positioning the battery pack under the rear seats. The rear passengers sit a little higher as a result, but there’s still plenty of room inside, along with a 400-litre boot.

The big differences between the 225xe and the other Active Tourers are under the metal, where you’ll find a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, an electric motor and a battery pack. An update on the way for the 2020 model year upgrades the battery from 7.7 to 10kWh, for an electric-only range of up to 31 miles.

In this model, the powertrain is a detuned version of that used in the i8 supercar, producing a combined total of 221bhp. But it’s still enough to get the 225xe from 0-62mph in a decidedly sporty 6.7 seconds, with a top speed of 126mph. However, it’s the other vital statistics that are likely to appeal to buyers.

Combined fuel economy of up to 101mpg and CO2 emissions of 42-44g/km make this one of the cheapest people carriers to run – although, as with any plug-in hybrid, you’ll only get close to that economy on a regular diet of short trips and regular charging. That said, if you’re a company-car user, you’ll appreciate the low Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) liability, no matter how you drive it.

And whatever sort of user you are, you’ll enjoy driving it around town. There, it’s really relaxing, as the electric motor delivers almost silent, zero-emissions driving. The light steering is a big help, too, although the downside is that it feels rather vague on more challenging roads.

And with just four hours needed for a full charge from a standard domestic socket, it’s not hard to keep the car fully charged. You can easily charge it overnight and come back to it the next morning fully charged and ready for the next commute.

What’s also clear is that the 225xe, like all 2 Series Active Tourers, is a safe car. The five-star Euro NCAP score for crash safety should provide plenty of reassurance for customers. However, the results of the AutoExpress Driver Power owner satisfaction survey were a little more worrying, as the 2 Series was rated below average and BMW finished well down the table of manufacturers.

Where the 2 Series is rather more impressive is the sheer amount of choice in the Active Tourer line-up. BMW couldn’t be more different from the makers who sell their hybrids as one-off models in their ranges.

With the 225xe, there are plenty of trim levels to choose from, and even the cheapest Sport has 17-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control and DAB radio. Beyond that are the Luxury and M Sport models, each with an appropriate selection of extra kit.

It’s yet another reason to consider this model if you’re thinking of an alternative-fuel car. Overall, its combination of decent space, good quality and sharp handling with an electric range of 25 miles and good fuel economy thereafter, makes this hybrid MPV a compelling proposition.

For a more detailed look at the BMW 225xe, read on for the rest of our in-depth review.