Saturday, September 27, 2014

VW Golf Sportsvan vs. BMW 2-Series Active Tourer

2014 Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan

The brand new Golf Sportsvan maybe more of a replacement to the old Golf Plus MPV but for the newest version of the MPV version of the new Golf, it's not what you called a proper people mover for bigger families because the Sportsvan is a 5-seater just like the old Golf Plus but unlike the Golf Plus, the new Sportsvan is 134mm longer than the old one. It's also 83mm longer than the normal Golf hatchback but 224mm shorter than the Golf Variant.

2014 Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan interior
Of course with all that added dimensions than the Golf Plus, you might think that the brand new Sportsvan has more room for the family but it can be a yes or no. Although the Sportsvan doesn't have more space than the Golf Variant, the rear seats can slide forwards and backwards and can be folded so you can have 1520 litres of boot space, just enough to fit just two macho-sized balikbayan boxes for keeps but it can be quite as bothersome as littering those undelivered ones in your grandma's house.

2014 Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan

Because it utilizes on the flexible VW MQB platform just like on the regular Golf and most current and future VW Group models, the new Sportsvan is slightly lighter than the old Golf Plus but it is punishingly heavier than the Golf Variant estate, which is kinda of an annoyance but as an MPV with a plan, the Sportsvan is not bad considering the use of multi-link rear suspensions and its wonky electric power steering. Although uncomfortable to drive on the twists or at the spiraling roads like the ones that lead to to the rooftop of some parking lot from the airport, the Sportsvan's mobility and stability is beyond average. Not quite good but not quite bad either so it's more of an okay for the European families.

As for engine choices, the Sportsvan can be offered with two 1.2L TSi petrols, two 1.4 TSi petrols, a 1.6L TDi, and a 2.0L TDi diesel engines. Depending on the engine choices, it can be mated with either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed DSG which shifts faster than the manual.

So, what about pricing? The Sportsvan starts at 19,625 Euros, about 200 Euros more than the Golf Variant but for an MPV of that magnitude, it can be a smart buy.

2014 Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan

The Golf Sportsvan may not be a proper alternative than the Golf Variant estate but in the world of MPVs, this German baby MPV tries to fare out from the rest with its legendary VW quality but how German is this when it matches up with its new challenger, only a bit more posh?

2015 BMW 2-Series Active Tourer

This is BMW's first ever, and by no means a plot twist, front-wheel drive vehicle and their first ever baby MPV in the lineup. It's called the 2-Series Active Tourer.

For most BMW fans like us, a true BMW has to be RWD no matter which shape or form will be. Be it a hatchback, sedan, or an SUV, it doesn't matter because being RWD is what BMW's all about. For this new one here, this is a plot twist that we don't like. 

We hate plot twists because while we all want our TV shows to move smoothly as planned, the producers often want to add plot twists to keep the story longer and longer until the edge of the universe. Yes, BMW has a naming structure to have even numbers for two-doors, convertibles, and Gran Coupes while odd numbers for four-doors, estates, and Gran Turismos. When BMW decided to call this the 2-Series Active Tourer, this situation is as confused as what Toyota did when they've used the Mark X name for their front-wheel drive MPV called the Mark X Zio.

2015 BMW 2-Series Active Tourer
Mind you, this isn't like the Mark X Zio because the 2AT is much more good to drive but for a BMW, this is not a good sight. Even though BMW says that they've added some multi-link rear suspension, that's not gotta work, although the 2AT did used the same UKL1 platform as the new Mini.

The new Mini? Isn't the one I called it "Wumbo" because of the added size? Well, while this is just a Wumbo underneath, the 2AT is just nothing personal. Although it doesn't feel like a proper BMW, it still fare well when it comes to its stability. Because this is a front-wheel drive, it feels very much as civilized as a well-behaved student and while most rear-wheel drive BMWs are somewhat afraid to the elements Mother Nature throws at them, be it snow or rain, the 2AT is not quite bad at all.

If you opted for the xDrive model, the 2AT is well prepared for the wet or snowy roads ahead at all cost, although the weight penalty can slightly suffer its mobility but never mind.

2015 BMW 2-Series Active Tourer interior

On the inside, it's much more different than the typical BMW interiors that most models have but only just. Just like the VW Sportsvan, the rear seats can slide forward or backward and it's foldable for added space and it even comes with the hidden underfloor bin where you can store more stuff as much as your want especially discreetly ones that you don't want to expose it to your families.

On the driver's side, it's not so bad, especially the dashboard itself. It's high-tech as it pleases you when you want to use the radio, music player, sat-nav, or whatever it has in its disposal. I can toy around with this as much as I want until someone wants me to get out.

2015 BMW 2-Series Active Tourer

At launch, the 2AT is offered with a turbocharged 1.5L petrol engine for the 218i, 2.0L turbo petrol engine for the 225i, and the 2.0L diesel engine for the 218d. It's a good thing they're all turbocharged just like what most BMWs do now and forever...minus the forever part. On the top range 225i model with xDrive, this engine develops 231PS of power, 350Nm of torque, 0-100kph in 6.8 seconds, and top speed of 235kph. If you're fuel-conscious, the 218d's your best bet because while this have more torque than the petrol equivalent, combined fuel economy is around 24.4km/L. Good stuff though, and depending on the model, it can be mated with either a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed auto gearbox, although this gearbox has one more than the VW Sportsvan's DSG except it's a little less complicated.

To you, Bimmer fanatics, don't think the nightmare ends here because in the near future, BMW will expand their FWD lineup ranging from a new compact crossover, the next X1, the next 1-Series, and a possible FWD convertible that's going to be as tad dull as the Renault Megane CC. The 2AT is the start of BMW's diminishment as "freude am fahren" but because most models, regardless of powertrain, will always have turbos in their lineup, looks like it's not going anywhere, although there is potential fear that BMW maybe making naturally aspirated engines but hey, aren't BMW put an end into natural aspiration engines? Oh yeah... They really want to make an all-turbo lineup but with some added consequence like those fake engine sounds from the M3, M4, M5, and M6. Did you get me?

Should you buy it? Sadly, nope for this kind because the starting price for the 2AT is 27,200 Euros, meaning that not only it's expensive than the 1-Series hatchback, it's much more expensive than the VW Sportsvan or even the Mercedes-Benz B-Class. Ouch...

To sum up these two, the VW Sportsvan is the better bet because not only it's cheaper to own than the 2AT, it's also sportier to drive, has the most wheelbase, the tallest, the widest, and much roomier. The BMW 2AT may not be a good family MPV for a start because of its pricing and it's going to be hatred by most BMW enthusiasts because of its FWD powertrain but its turbocharged engines surely add some life to it, has some luxury car comforts, and you can do better if you try.

But we don't really want to drive in these two because, let's be honest, we want to stay single because we all have the freedom to do whatever we want because if we got married and had kids, this is what we'll end up with. Bummer...

Photo: Volkswagen Group, BMW AG

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