Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2
  • Two petrols and two diesels available
  • A choice of gearboxes for all of them
  • Performance is adequate on all

It’s fairly easy to make sense of the Focus Active’s engine line-up, with two petrols and two diesels available, with similar power outputs for each. Plus, there’s a choice of manual or automatic transmissions for each of them as well.

Focus Active EcoBoost petrols

There’s a choice of two EcoBoost petrols in the Active – a 1.0-litre and a 1.5-litre. The 1.0 unit is a three-cylinder setup, producing 125hp and 170Nm of torque. It’s an engine we like in the smaller Fiesta, and is a good fit in the Focus as long as you’re not regularly carrying large loads. It takes 10.3 seconds to get from 0-62mph in the manual, while the automatic takes 11.3 seconds.

Providing extra power and torque is the 1.5-litre, with 150hp and 240Nm. There’s a sprightlier 0-62mph time of 9.1 seconds and 9.7 seconds for manual and auto respectively, and requires a lot less effort in getting up to speed. The good news is the manual is so sweet and slick to use that it’s a pleasure rather than a pain. The engine's power delivery is so smooth and responsive that it can be mistaken for a much larger unit, so you'll get more opportunity to change gear than you might expect when faced with a longer incline.

EcoBlue diesels

Kicking off the diesel range is a 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel with 120hp, making it the least powerful of the lot, but it offers a healthy 300Nm of torque making it ideal for longer journeys on the motorway. It’s the slowest in terms of 0-62mph with times of 10.8 seconds and 10.7 seconds for the manual and auto, but it’s quicker than the petrols to respond in-gear thanks to that torque.

Offering a combination of good economy and performance is the most expensive 2.0-litre EcoBlue, offering up 150hp and 370Nm of torque. The 0-62mph sprint is taken care of in 9.1 seconds (manual) or 9.3 seconds (automatic), putting in a par with the 1.5 EcoBoost petrol.

How does it handle?

  • Still drives like any other Focus
  • Sharp and responsive steering
  • But composed and comfy ride

In gaining a slight rise in ride height and some fatter tyres, the Focus Active hasn’t become a wallowy SUV when it comes to handling. In fact, it’s one of the best-handling Focuses thanks to its more compliant ride.

That means it retains the sharp feel of the regular hatchback, thanks to its direct steering and taut, agile nature, but it has less of a crashy ride on some versions which means it handles rougher surfaces even better. It makes driving on twistier country roads much more pleasant and enjoyable, and less like you’re fighting with the car at times.

Granted, there’s a little more body roll than the regular car, but it’s still favourable over most other hatchbacks on sale, let alone taller SUVs and crossovers.