THERE are many things you need to take with a pinch of salt when it comes to cars.
Fuel economy figures and charging times for starters, but there’s another I hadn’t properly realised until I’d had kids.
That’s ‘MPV’, which officially stands for ‘multi-purpose vehicle’, but to anybody buying a car means being good at moving people.
What’s frustrating is while the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is good at moving people, it’s not really much better at it than a good family hatch.
A proper ‘MPV’ should be seating seven adults in comfort in my book. That’s final.
And although there was a seven-seat Gran Tourer of the previous model, not enough people bought it so it’s been given the chop.
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The Active Tourer could just about seat my family of five, but my four-year-old had to sit on her child seat in the front while my wife was crammed between the other two in the back. Not ideal.
Clearly, if you have two kids it’s brilliant; there’s loads of head and leg room and a decent boot. But again, so are most large family hatchbacks.
Other than the MPV bit, the Active Tourer is far better than it needs to be.
It looks much better than before, its cabin is luxurious and extremely well made and it has one of the best infotainment systems you can buy.
You can have a petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid Active Tourer – our car was the two-wheel drive 218hp petrol with a standard automatic gearbox.
It might be a small three-cylinder, but it feels genuinely hot hatch quick and in M Sport trim corners far more keenly than a family car needs to.
The trade-off is it feels firm over bumps in the road, even with M Sport trims standard adaptive suspension switch to Comfort mode.
Our motor’s optional 19-inch alloys were also to blame, and didn’t help with road roar on rough road surfaces on the motorway either.
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Altogether the 2 Series Active Tourer is a great family-of-four car, with all the best bits of BMW inside.
I’d avoid the too-fast 223i model and the too-firm M Sport trim and big alloys, but keep it close to its £31,000 starting price it makes a lot of sense.
Just don’t call it an MPV.