The 2 Series Active Tourer succeeds where its key rival falters. Our top five pitches it against the volume-brand people-movers whose various standards it must exceed.

But the truth is that only the B-Class really offers the combination of desirability and practicality that the Active Tourer seeks to emulate – and on performance, refinement, economy and balanced ride comfort and handling dynamism, the BMW beats the Mercedes resoundingly.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Editor-at-large
Powertrain and cabin ambience beat the SV, but it's not as roomy or expertly tuned

Munich’s new MPV has been executed very thoroughly. It has an excellent powertrain, a cabin of distinguishing versatility, quality and richness and a commendable driving experience, and with the addition of the seven-seater Gran Tourer as well only further strengthens its position.

The handling isn’t quite good enough to trump everything else in the class. The C-Max and Golf SV are both better drives in their own way. The SV also offers a superior blend of comfort, quality and cabin space, making it our class champ.

But for BMW's first effort at front drive, comfortably beating the B-Class must be the kind of qualified success for which BMW would happily settle.

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