Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2
  • Dashboard lifted straight from regular Focus
  • No big issues with quality, but it’s a bit dull
  • Media system works well; all easy to use

Inside the Focus Active, you’ll find a logically laid-out dashboard that’s very easy to operate, which counts for a lot. The controls are clearly labelled and it’s all very user-friendly. It’s also well-built for the most part, but it’s also a little uninspiring.

That said, despite not feeling especially tech-heavy, there’s a refreshing simplicity and familiarity to the Focus’s interior. The dials are clear, the menus easy to navigate and, despite there being a lot of them, the steering wheel controls are also logical.

The problem is it just doesn’t feel especially interesting inside – especially when you consider higher-spec versions of the Kia XCeed introduce larger, crisper screens both for the infotainment and for the instruments, where the Ford can feel a little more basic.

We just wish there was a bit more colour and a bit more personality inside to make it stand out a little more from regular Focus models. Slightly different fabrics on the seats doesn’t really feel like enough.

In terms of quality, everything feels like it’s well-made, but there’s a lot of black and grey plastics and things like the doors – as well as plastics lower down the cabin – fall short of the solidity you’ll find in a VW Golf or Kia Ceed.

Ford’s Sync3 media system is easy to use – if looking a little dated – and it sits high on the dash within easy reach of the driver. What’s also pleasing is that there are still physical heating controls so you don’t have to go via the touchscreen like you do on cars like the Peugeot 308.

The Vignale models add a touch more luxury thanks to lots of leather and a head-up display, but that also involves paying a chunk of extra cash.

Is it comfortable?

  • Tweaked suspension over regular Focus
  • Impresses in terms of comfort and control
  • Seats have plenty of adjustment as well

Thanks to fatter tyres and a tweaked suspension setup, the Focus Active is a more comfortable version of the regular car – at least compared with ST-Line models with larger wheels and sportier suspension. It uses the more sophisticated setup from the more powerful Focus models, so it manages to strike a nice balance between being comfortable and composed while remaining surprisingly engaging to drive.

2019 Ford Focus Active side profile

It still has a tendency to fidget over rougher surfaces – a trait also found in the regular Focus – but it’s not as noticeable in the Active. Aiding comfort are the seats – they’re pleasantly comfortable and supportive, but could do with having a slightly longer base to support your legs more on longer journeys. The good news is the Focus’s heating system gets going very quickly, warming the car up very rapidly on cold mornings, while the heated seats are some of the hottest we’ve tested, and get up to temperature very quickly, which we think really helps in the comfort stakes.

Refinement is pretty good, keeping things quiet on the move. The petrols need working a little harder than the torquey diesels, but they rarely become too vocal. In fact, it’s the 1.5 EcoBlue diesel that’s the noisiest, but only when getting up to speed.

There’s a bit of wind noise around the windscreen at motorway speeds but road noise is also mostly well suppressed too.

The only slight disappointment is from the 1.0-litre 155hp EcoBoost engine, sending quite a few vibrations into the cabin, especially when it was cold.