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The secret diary of a motoring journalist aged 39¾'ish


9th September 2019

Got a lifestyle? Need a lifestyle? Me? Nah, I’ve got enough on my hands as it is, but a Ford Focus Estate is a handy weapon to have. This week, it’s the turn of just such a car, though this is the lifestyle-y Active model that Ford hopes you and I will think of as an SUV-cum-crossover. Seems like a big ask in my book, but the basics of the Focus wagon are sound, so let’s see what the week brings.
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Looks-wise, the Focus Active Estate just about cuts the country mustard and fits in around my neck of the woods. There are plenty of Volvo XCs and Skoda Scouts hereabouts, so the Active’s beefed-up plastic arches and raised ride height give it the requisite attitude for taking the kids to summer camp in the mornings. Finished in silver, this particular car has a pleasingly unfussy appearance compared to some other pseudo-SUVs.
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The extra 30mm of ride height that comes with the Focus Active over its standard siblings is not going to see you heading for uncharted territory. What it does offer, though, is a cushier ride than many other Focus of this latest generation that I’ve driven. This is the supple bump-soothing comfort that I associate with the Focus allied to keen handling and crisp steering response. For this alone, the Active is the best current Focus I’ve driven.
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Regardless of which Ford I’ve tried, the Ecoboost petrol engines all seem to deliver a very similar overall fuel consumption figure on the dash display. In this 1.5-litre petrol-powered Focus Active with 150PS, this is 38.8mpg, which is a couple of mpg behind the claimed best. I suppose that ain’t bad given this car has an eight-speed automatic gearbox fitted, but I had hoped it would break into the 40s for economy.
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Whatever you think of the Active as a trim and specification, there’s no doubting the Focus Estate’s ability as a load lugger. The Ford has a more squared-off rear end than the styling might suggest so it can offer plenty of space for bigger items. My mountain bike slipped in without any bother and, by dropping the rear seats, I didn’t need to remove either wheel for it to be swallowed whole by the Focus.
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It was my wife who pointed out the unique seat trim that’s fitted to the Active. I’d just been plonking myself into the car and enjoying the ride comfort and handling. Now that I notice the seat fabric and design, I rather like it and it adds a touch of standalone style to the Active. More importantly, the seats are very supportive and perfect for long days at the wheel, which is what today has brought.
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My kids love a panoramic sunroof and got very excited this morning when they headed towards the Focus Active. Unfortunately for them, the roof is only painted black to give the car some SUV-alike style. Still, it does look quite spiffy and furthers the Focus Active’s case for being my favourite in the entire range. With a list price of £25,695, this car won’t break the bank to lease and gets you a very sound Focus, though maybe not a lifestyle.
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