Crossovers are the bright new thing as we approach 2020. Every car maker is aware of the niche market space sitting below their SUVs and above their conventional hatchbacks. More importantly the potential to target buyers looking for something a little different and often much cheaper than an SUV is huge. Every manufacturer is already doing or set to do a version. Ford has a new Active range and we’ve been testing the Fiesta and Focus models wearing the new Active badge.
The charm of a crossover is the lower purchase and running costs compared to a larger SUV. They also offer greater efficiency and economy thanks to being, well, less-SUV-like.
So what makes an Active any more appealing over a regular Fiesta or Focus five-door? Faux off road styling is the main element that will appeal to many. SUV-like cladding and roof rails hint of adventure but Active models will more than likely find excitement mounting the kerb to collect on the school run. Rough road suspension is fitted to Active models but I recommend buyers should think twice before challenging a Land Rover Defender to a cross country race.
The Fiesta as a car is already an urban runabout hero so Fiesta Active is merely a nod to the great outdoors. A Fiesta Active seems a little silly but yet is strangely appealing. The car has no mountain climbing ability over a regular hatch but its plastic clad wheel arches and more distinctive on-street looks will find it a following. the fiesta is fun to drive and easy to nip about in… as always!
The Focus Active sits higher off the road than the standard Focus but in styling terms I’d find it hard to look beyond the slightly lowered sporty ST Line. The Active’s higher driving position and road presence position it well on the tarmac. The Active has a more imposing look and feel next to a stock Focus and this will help its appeal.The driving position is that bit more commanding and when combined with the diesel engine option of our test car it becomes a particularly interesting commuter. Yes the chunky body add-ons are just that, but the Focus Active is less in your face than a comparable SUV derivative.
The Focus Active comes in two body styles with our favourite being the station wagon estate over the hatchback. In this form the chunkiness and proportions look right. Dare I say the Active estate delivers a touch of All-Road / Cross Country premium brand ‘vibes’. Petrol or diesel power is available with both models.
Fiesta Active – the low down
Our five door Fiesta Active 2 test car is powered by a 1 litre 100hp three cylinder EcoBoost petrol engine. It has a six speed manual gearbox. Emissions fall within Band B (128-135g/km CO2). Standard kit is good with 17 inch 5-Spoke alloys, black contrast painted roof, mirror caps and roof rails, a seriously good B&O Play 10-speaker audio system with 360 sound system, an 8” centre touchscreen, cruise control, auto high beam headlights, driver alert & traffic sign recognition. Also fitted as standard: rain sensing wipers & auto-dimming rear view mirror, centre armrest and illuminated cupholders, sport cloth seats with unique luxe yellow trim as part of the yellow colour interior theme.
Cost options on our test car include frozen white paint €200 and rear parking sensors – also €200 – all in our car cost €21,134.
The standard entry grade Fiesta Zetec costs from €15,961 with Titanium Base (€17,462) and ST Line (€18,465) costing a little more each time. Next up is the Fiesta Active from €19,712 with the more luxurious Vignale at €23,064) and brilliant performance Fiesta the ST-3 costing a cool but also great value for money €28,001.
Focus Active – the low down
Power comes from a 1.5 TDCi Diesel engine with 120hp. A six speed manual gearbox delivers power to the front wheels. CO2 emissions are low at just 93g/km.
Alloys are standard with 17 inch 5-spoke two tone painted rims.
Focus Active gets a unique front upper grille and front and rear bumper. Black cladding around the wheel arches to give the off road look wheel front and rear skid plates hint at the great outdoors. Active LED front fog lights with cornering lights feature and black roof rails help the rugged look. The Focus Active gets 30mm additional ground clearance over the standard Focus. There is a good six-speaker sound system with Sync3 voice control and an 8 inch touchscreen. Sports style front seats with unique Active trim are standard plus unlike the Fiesta there are five driving modes to choose from: Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Trail.
Cost options on our test car include front and rear parking sensors at €400 and solid frozen white paint at €300. Our test car including options weighed in at €27,713.
The standard entry grade Focus Zetec costs from €22,805 with the ST Line next from €23,817 and the Titanium grade starts from Titanium €24,80. Next up is the Focus Active from €24,809 with the more luxurious Vignale at €28,815 and performance Focus ST-3 costing from €43,253.