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4.2 out of 5 4.2
Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2

Rugged-looking version of Ford’s popular family hatch

Ford Focus Active Hatchback (18 on) - rated 4.2 out of 5
Enlarge 20 photos

At a glance

New price £22,765 - £30,245
Lease from new From £243 per month
Used price £14,180 - £23,975
Used monthly cost £354 - £598
Fuel Economy 37.7 - 62.8 mpg
Road tax cost £145
Insurance group 12 - 18 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Looks suitably SUV-ish
  • Spacious and practical interior
  • Good choice of engines
  • Drives just like a Focus

CONS

  • The SUV styling is mostly just for show
  • Standard kit list missing key items
  • Some hard interior plastics

Ford Focus Active Hatchback rivals

Written by Tom Goodlad on

What do you do when you manufacture one of the most popular cars on sale that isn’t a fashionable SUV? Well, on top of making SUVs in their own right, you can at least make your popular hatchback look a bit like an SUV.

Enter the Ford Focus Active, a mildly jacked-up version of Ford’s bestselling Focus hatchback that follows in the footsteps of the smaller Ford Ka+ Active and Fiesta Active. In essence, it’s Ford’s take on Skoda’s Scout models and VW’s Alltrack cars.

Available in Active, Active X or luxurious Active X Vignale trims, this version of the Focus largely relies on cosmetic changes to differentiate it from regular Focus models. On the outside, you get plenty of black plastic cladding around the bottom of the car and around the wheelarches, with some chunkier tyres and different alloy wheel designs, silver scuff plates front and rear and a set of roof rails.

It also sits ever so slightly higher than a regular Focus, although it’s very hard to tell. The ride height is 30mm higher at the front and 34mm higher at the rear, while the springs and dampers are unique to this version over the regular car, with a focus on comfort and balance over the sportier feel of the others.

What’s the Focus Active’s interior like?

2019 Ford Focus Active interior and dashboard

Much like the regular Focus. The dashboard is exactly the same with just one small piece of grey trim differing over the regular car. That means it’s all very easy to use and feels solid for the most part, but it’s all a bit monochromatic, with some harder plastics and cheaper-feeling materials found in places too.

The Active does come with different seats featuring a tougher-feeling fabric though, to suit its more rugged image. They’re very comfortable and supportive, like most Ford seats.

Mechanically, the only difference is when you flick through the drive modes. Two off-road-esque modes have been added, called Slippery and Trail, alongside the usual options that adjust the ESC and traction control settings, as well as the sensitivity of the throttle pedal - depending on the terrain you’re on. This is in place of an actual four-wheel drive system.

Does it drive like an SUV?

2019 Ford Focus Active driving rear

Unsurprisingly, the Focus Active drives just like a regular Focus. In fact, it drives better than many Focus models thanks to the revised suspension setup that allows for greater comfort. It retains the sharp, responsive driving characteristics that we love about regular Focus models, meaning it’s actually one of the better-resolved models in the line-up, where some ST-Line models can feel a little too harsh over bumps in the road.

The furthest you’re likely to go off the beaten track in a Focus Active is a gravel track – and while the suspension has been raised, you sit barely any higher than a regular hatchback, on tyres that are only a little chunkier than those on a Focus Titanium, despite the Trail aspirations of the extra drive modes.

Most of the time will be spent on the road then, and it’s quiet and refined with a choice of excellent engines, from 1.0-litre and 1.5-litre EcoBoost engines to 1.5- and 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesels.

Plenty of kit available, but on higher-spec models

2019 Ford Focus Active alloy wheel design

Three levels are available – Active, Active X and Active X Vignale. The base Active uses the regular Focus Zetec as a base, adding alternative wheel design, body cladding and skid plates, roof rails and black painted roof and mirror caps to the exterior. Inside there’s sat-nav included in the Sync3 media system and keyless start.

You’ll need the Active X for a more comprehensive kit list including panoramic roof, parking sensors, part-leather upholstery, electric driver’s seat, climate control and heated seats. This model also includes automatic lights and wipers. This is the model we’d aim for in terms of equipment, as the regular car can feel a little sparse.

The Vignale model adds a full leather interior, LED lights, an upgraded sound system and head-up display to solidify its place at the top of the range. While it’s luxurious, it doesn’t come cheap.

This line-up is mimicked in the Focus Active Estate, but it has few direct rivals that are jacked-up hatchbacks like the ageing Volvo V40 Cross Country. The Kia XCeed is similar in size and shape, while cars designed to be crossovers or SUVs like the Volkswagen T-Roc and Nissan Qashqai also compete.

Read on for the full Ford Focus Active review.

Ford Focus Active Hatchback rivals

Other Ford Focus models: