The new Active, as its name suggests, adds a more adventurous look and driving feel to the Ford Focus range. It is an SUV-inspired, higher-riding five-door hatchback, rather than a serious off-roading SUV.
Based on the latest-generation, German-manufactured Focus hatchback, which was introduced late last year, the Active uses Ford’s all-new C2 global platform. It is still front-wheel drive only, but for the Active, the suspension has been raised to provide 34 millimetres’ extra ground clearance and Ford employs a more sophisticated independent multi-link rear suspension setup.
In addition to the three selectable drive modes – Normal, Eco and Sport – in the standard Focus, the Active gets two extra modes – Slippery and Trail. Using the electronics to further regulate the throttle response and traction control, ‘Slippery’ is designed to increase confidence on ice and snow, while ‘Trail’ helps maintain momentum on soft surfaces such as a sandy beach or powdery dirt road.
Active has also been dressed up for the role, with front and rear skid plates, distinctive wheel arches and unique bumpers emphasising the SUV image. The interior’s distinguishing features include seat trim embroidery, blue stitching on the seats, steering wheel, dashboard and doors, as well as unique Active scuff plates.
Then of course there are the practical aspects that drivers love about SUVs – the increased ride height makes access easier and gives a more commanding view of the road ahead. In the Active, these aspects are a step up from a conventional small hatch but not as noticeable as in many of the purpose-built SUV wagons.
Priced at $29,990 plus on-road costs, the Active sits in the middle of Ford Australia’s five-variant Focus line-up. Active’s equipment level is similar to the ST-Line hatch with a comprehensive suite of ‘Driver Assist Technology’ and safety features. Wireless phone charging complements Ford’s easy-to-use Sync 3 communication and entertainment system. The $1250 optional Driver Assistance Pack, with more worthwhile safety features, is also worth considering.