Ford Focus Active Review
The Ford Focus Active is a jacked-up version of the standard Focus. It’s just as economical and a bit more comfortable to drive but it costs more and feels no different inside
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
- Fun to drive
- Economical engines
What's not so good
- More expensive than a Focus
- … yet looks identical inside
- Infotainment system feels a bit dated
Ford Focus Active: what would you like to read next?
The Ford Focus Active is based on the practical, fun-to-drive Focus hatchback, but adds a few black plastic bumper trims and some raised suspension to turn it into a pseudo-SUV that’s still affordable to buy and good fun to drive.
If you like the way the standard Ford Focus looks but wish it had more in the way of chunky details, you’ll love the Ford Focus Active. From the front, you’ll notice a thick black plastic trim running below the grille like a well-trimmed beard. There’s also a selection of silver contrasting trims which are supposed to look like the metal skid-plates you’ll see on rough-and-ready off-roaders.
From the side, the Ford Focus Active’s signature details are more subtle. It comes with some more black plastic beneath the doors and it’s a smidge taller than the standard Focus thanks to some bigger tyres, raised suspension and a set of standard roof rails.
If you’re hoping for a few more SUV-inspired details inside, you might be a bit disappointed – the Ford Focus Active’s cabin looks pretty much identical to the standard Focus in Zetec trim. That’s to say you get a few shiny plastic trims, a fair few soft-touch materials and a set of clear, intuitive knobs and dials beneath a touchscreen infotainment system.
This display is pretty easy to use and looks nicer than the Vauxhall Astra’s screen, but it isn’t quite as flashy as the more modern systems you’ll find in an VW Golf and the space-age Mercedes A-Class.
The Ford Focus Active doesn’t just look like the standard car inside, it feels just as roomy, too. You’ll have plenty of space to stretch out in the front and there’s room left over in the back for a couple of six-foot-tall passengers to get comfy – even if you like to recline your driver’s seat like a sun lounger.
The Ford Focus Active is a Focus that’s been made to look more like an SUV. It also comes as a more practical estate
Thankfully, all of the Ford Focus Active’s five seats are more comfortable than your average deckchair – even the central rear seat comes with a good amount of padding so you can carry three adults in the back at once. There’s plenty of space in the Ford Focus Active’s boot for luggage, too – although it’s not particularly easy to load thanks to a pretty sizeable load lip.
If lugging heavy loads sounds like something you’ll do regularly, you’ll want to consider one of the Ford Focus Active’s 120hp and 150hp diesel engines. These are also your best bet if you do plenty of long journeys. If pottering around town is more your thing, one of the two petrol units will be more suitable.
On the subject of driving in town, you’ll find the Ford Focus Active irons out bumps better than the standard Focus. This is thanks to its taller tyres and clever suspension which reduces the horrid jarring thud you’ll feel if you fail to spot a pothole until too late.
The flip-side of this is that the Active doesn’t feel quite as nimble as the likes of the sportier ST-Line Focus, but it’s still more fun to drive on a twisty country road than the Kia Ceed and VW Golf.
Pay extra for the Driver Assistance Pack and the Ford Focus Active matches the Golf for clever safety tech, too. This optional extra lets the Focus accelerate, brake and even steer for you on motorways – sadly, it’s only available on cars with an automatic gearbox.
If you don’t mind paying a little extra for a few options then, the Ford Focus Active makes a very capable family hatchback that’s fun to drive, economical and more comfortable than most alternatives.