Ford Fiesta Active cars get raised suspension over the standard Fiesta that makes them more comfortable around town. Unfortunately, it does slightly blunt the Fiesta’s handling
You can get the Fiesta Active with four petrol engines and two diesels, but the stand-out performer is the 1.0-litre turbocharged EcoBoost petrol. Avoid the fairly weedy 85hp model on entry-level Active 1 cars and go for a 100hp or 125hp version instead. The former accelerates from 0-62mph in a modest 11.2 seconds, and return a claimed 56.5mpg – although you’ll see a figure closer to 45mpg in normal driving conditions. Go for a perkier 125hp version, and the Fiesta Active covers the same sprint in 10.4 seconds yet returns identical claimed fuel economy.
There’s also a more expensive 140hp variant that feels a little more at home on motorways, but it’s a bit thirstier and not much faster than the 125hp version. It’s only available in high-spec Active B&O Play and Active X models.
Don’t be fooled by the Active’s chunky black bodykit – it’s no hardcore off-roader
Then there’s a pair of diesels that you might want to consider if you do lots of very long motorway journeys, although they aren’t quite as responsive as the petrols and cost more to buy. Ford claims both versions will return close to 80mpg, but with a careful right foot you can expect to see a figure in the high sixties.
All Fiesta Active models come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard that’s light and precise to use. You can get an automatic gearbox instead, but only on 100hp petrol models. This isn’t as responsive as the auto you get in the Polo, and seems to suck some of the fun driving out of the Fiesta. Still, it will help give your left leg a rest in heavy traffic.
To help the Ford Fiesta Active live up to its rugged off-road looks, you get selectable driving modes to help it better deal with slippery road surfaces. Sure, it won’t turn this front-wheel-drive hatchback into a true 4×4, but it should make tackling a wet, leafy driveway a bit easier.
The Fiesta Active’s just as easy to drive as the standard Fiesta around town. You won’t have any trouble spotting traffic approaching at junctions and its small size and light steering make it a doddle to nip through gaps in traffic. It’s easy to park, too – especially if you go for a top-spec Active X car with parking sensors and a reversing camera.
All Active models come with suspension that’s raised 18mm over the standard Fiesta’s, which helps give you a slightly better view out. They also come with some special hydraulic suspension components that soften the blow of sudden jolts better than just conventional springs.
It doesn’t feel quite as nimble as the standard Fiesta and can’t match ST-Line models for sheer grin-inducing handling on a twisty country lane, but it’ll soak up a level crossings without breaking a sweat and feels just as comfortable on poorly maintained roads as the Citroen C3.
This also means it’s pretty comfortable on motorways, too – although you’ll hear quite a bit of wind and tyre noise at 70mph. You get cruise control on B&O Play and X models to give your right leg a rest on long drives, but not in entry-level Active 1 versions.
Other features missing from entry-level cars include traffic sign recognition, but regardless of which Active version you pick, you don’t get automatic emergency braking to help prevent low-speed collisions as standard. It’s only available as part of an optional Driver Assistance pack – a £200 extra on B&O Play and X models, and a whopping £800 option on Active 1 cars.
Despite this the Fiesta – on which the Active is based – scored an impressive five-star safety rating in the tough 2017 Euro NCAP safety tests.