BMW 225xe hybrid review

One of very few hybrid MPVs available, the BMW 225xe is well worth a look for economy-minded family buyers

BMW 225xe
£36,475 - £38,225
Plug-in hybrid


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


  • No seven-seat version
  • Vague steering feel
  • Can get expensive
Car type Electric range Fuel economy CO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid  31-32 miles 156.9-166.2mpg  39-41g/km 

The BMW 225xe Active Tourer hybrid was the first plug-in hybrid MPV to be launched on the market. Even today, it has no real direct competitors. The Toyota Prius+ is a seven-seater, but is a hybrid rather than a plug-in. The 225xe doesn’t look that different to other models in the 2 Series Active Tourer range – just the badges and a charging flap on the front wing set it apart.

It's very nearly the same inside, too; BMW has retained most of the versatility and capacity of the diesel and petrol-engined 2 Series Active Tourer by placing the car's battery pack under the back seats. Occupants in the rear sit a little higher as a consequence, but there’s still lots of room inside, along with a 400-litre luggage area.

The big differences between the 225xe and 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 increases the battery size from 7.7 to 10kWh, for an electric-only range of up to 31 miles.

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

Combined fuel economy of up to 166.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 39-41g/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 if you do mostly short trips and charge the batter regularly. That said, if you’re a company-car user, you’ll appreciate the car's low Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) liability, no matter how you drive it.

And whatever sort of user you are, you’ll enjoy driving this BMW 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 225xe fully charged. You can easily charge it overnight and come back to it the next morning fully topped up 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, Apple CarPlay and DAB radio. Beyond that are the Luxury, SE 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.