Is the hatchback about to make a resurgence from the massacre it received from the proliferation of CrosSuv’s here?
If so, it will come about because of cars like the new Ford Focus Active. It’s the rugged version of the Focus and may well be a halfway stopgap for buyers before going full on CrosSuv. It has a bit of precedence with a link to the 4WD versions of the likes of the Volvo V70 (XC70) and Audi A6 (Allroad).
These are the go anywhere versions of their prized road cars. In this case it is not an estate but the normal road car. Still. it does follow these trailblazers by having distinctive styling that, whilst subtle, still manages to look quite different. The active version has a unique front upper grille and front and rear bumper, black cladding around the wheel arches and front and rear skid plates.
Inside there are five driving modes Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Trail foretelling the locations the buyer might visit but in all probability won’t. But they may use some of the modes especially the slippery mode after the recent deluges we have got during this very wet November.
Those Active features seem to come at the expense of things like auto dimming mirror, auto dipping lights and folding wing mirrors which are things that are nearly a must-have nowadays. Otherwise it is the same as a normal Focus with possibly the best 5-spoke, two-tone painted aluminium alloys in the Focus range.
The delightful Focus drive I’m happy to report remains and the higher ride height hasn’t affected this at all. Power came in the form of a 1.5 TDCi 120PS diesel engine that is both sprightly and punchy. Sport mode was my default choice when a twisty road presented itself. The driving position and placing of the controls you engage with when you take your hands off the wheel are just right. And so is the method of control with a good selection of knobs for the right function. Space and comfort levels don’t suffer with an Active badge and won’t disappoint.
The Active is probably the better choice for CrosSuv wannabes with superior handling and costing less. In an age where it absolutely must be the right car to fit in with a current image the buyer will be tempted elsewhere but for the driver who appreciates driving dynamics with a smattering of CrosSuv looks it’s the canny purchase.
Under the Hood
Model Tested : Ford Focus Active
Engine: Diesel, 1,499cc, 120PS, 300Nm
0-100km/hr : 10.0s
Top Speed: 196km/hr
Combined Fuel Consumption : 4.5l/100kms
Model Tested : €28,053
Prices from €27,353