Ford’s Fiesta Active: a tiny SUV that’s not really an SUV

It can’t take you off road, but it is comfortable and capable, wih some premium features

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Banking on the success of its Fiesta, Ford has introduced a new model to its portfolio. It’s calling the Fiesta Active a crossover, but it’s more of a stepping stone between the Fiesta and Ford’s existing EcoSport crossover.

To differentiate it from the regular Fiesta the Active has matt-black cladding and a ride that is 18mm higher than on the regular model, with a 10mm wider track and higher-profile tyres on 17in alloy wheels. The black roof works with the Lux Yellow body of our test car.

If you don’t want a small SUV or crossover, the Active will tackle potholes and car parks more proficiently than a regular car but without the roll of an SUV. I say car parks because you shouldn’t be fooled into thinking this is an off-road vehicle. There’s no four-wheel-drive option. Instead you have drive modes – Normal, Eco and Slippery – that alter the car’s stability programme to allow more slip on gravel tracks and loose surfaces. The front shock absorbers have a new hydraulic rebound stopper to smooth out bumps, along with unique knuckle geometry for the suspension. The ride is a bit softer than on the regular Fiesta, yet the car still steers accurately and has a competent chassis beneath it. You can enjoy the twisty hill climbs above Nice, along our test route.

Our test car benefited from the 140hp variant of the 1.0l EcoBoost three-cylinder petrol engine, which helped on the steep gradients above the city. Irish motorists will be offered only a 100hp model, across two grades, Active and Active 2, when the first cars arrive in June, priced from €21,900 and €23,200, respectively.

The equipment highlights on the Active grade include 17in alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, silver roof rails and rear LED lights. The Active 2 adds some extra exterior styling elements, along with a B&O Play premium audio system, 8in touch screen, cruise control, auto high beam, driver alert and traffic-sign recognition, rain-sensing wipers and auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

The interior is comfortable and functional. Ford’s design team has, thankfully, halved the number of buttons and switches compared with the regular Fiesta, to give a clean look to what was a somewhat cluttered set-up. If you’re in the front you’re treated to sports seats with offer lumbar support for the driver and four-way adjustment for driver and passenger. A leather steering wheel and gear knob, along with satin aluminium detailing, complete the classy appearance of the interior.

A host of additional safety systems are available, including precollision assist with pedestrian detection, traffic-sign recognition, auto high beam, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot information system and lane-keeping aid. The Active also has a five-star Euro Ncap safety rating.

Ford’s SUV sales were up 24 per cent in 2017, the EcoSport, Kuga and Edge accounting for almost one in five of the new cars it sold in Europe. The Fiesta Active is the first of a few new midway-to-crossover models that Ford is introducing. Customers will soon be able to buy a Focus Active and Ka Active, too.

The Active is more attractive than a Fiesta, with easier access, premium specification and a more comfortable ride. We look forward to testing the 100hp variant of the 1.0l EcoBoost petrol engine when the car arrives in Ireland next month.

Ford Fiesta Active: the lowdown

Engine 1l petrol
Power 100hp
Torque 170Nm
0-100km/h 11.0sec
Top speed 181km/h
Consumption (combined) 5.0l/100km
Carbon-dioxide emissions 114g/km
Motor tax €200
Price From €21,900

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