First Drive

First Drive: Ford Fiesta Active

The story:
The Fiesta Active capitalises on two things. Firstly the all-round excellence of the regular Fiesta hatchback in five-door form and the demand for more SUV-like cars by adding in a raised ride height, more rugged looks and more grip from a clever traction control system.
Category:Small SUV
Key rival:Citroen C3 Aircross
Ford Fiesta Active 1.0 EcoBoost 140hp B&O Play
On sale:Now

With the world going SUV crazy, Ford hasn’t hesitated to launch a rugged version of the UK’s best-selling car, the Fiesta. Going under the name Fiesta Active, the B-segment crossover either gives buyers one more reason to stick with Ford or one more reason to move to Ford – depending on your standpoint.

The Fiesta Active is basically a regular Fiesta with the ride height raised by 18mm. The supermini then gains a no-nonsense unpainted plastic body kit, a black sticker behind the rear numberplate to make it look the part, and finally a clever traction control system that means it has a degree of off-road ability even though it’s still front-wheel drive like the rest of the Fiesta range.2018 Ford Fiesta Active - Image 13Rather than being an off-roader, Ford likes to call the Fiesta Active more of a rough-roader. The additional height not only gives better ground clearance, but a better view of any road ahead.

These additional features add around £1100 to the price of the equivalent regular Fiesta. Fuel consumption and CO2 also suffer ever so slightly, and you can expect the Active version to be at least one or two BIK tax bands higher than a regular Fiesta.

However, as compensation, Ford expects the Active to have a stronger residual value than the regular car.

The engine line-up for the Active is taken directly from the Fiesta which means a choice of either a 1.0-litre petrol engine in 85hp, 100hp, 125hp or 140hp forms, or a 1.5-litre diesel with either 85hp or 120hp.  The 100hp and 125hp petrols are expected to take the majority of sales.

While the diesel is the best for both CO2 at 103g/km and fuel consumption at 70.6mpg, this engine is only expected to account for 5-10% of Active sales., given the current climate. The Fiesta Active is available in three trims: 1, B&O Play, and topping out at X.

With the small SUV sector getting ever more crowded (and you could argue that Ford’s own Ecosport is a rival) Ford is playing to its strengths with the Fiesta Active in that it’s one of the most fun cars to drive in the segment. Until now, rivals have majored on practicality and looks, but none has been that entertaining.2018 Ford Fiesta Active - Image 5Despite the additional ride height, the Fiesta Active manages to deliver not just a good level of comfort on uneven surfaces, but also a driving experience that’s very similar to that in a regular Fiesta – just with slightly more travel and bounce to the suspension. However, it retains all the confidence the regular Fiesta delivers to the driver when roads become tight and twisty. It even comes with sports seats.

This sportiness, without any sacrifice in comfort, coupled to a high-riding five-door hatchback body makes for a seriously appealing product and one that deserves a place on the company car list.


tristan young

The verdict

The existence of the Ecosport would have you question the Fiesta Active, but drive the pumped-up Fiesta and a very appealing mini-SUV package is revealed.