Sales of SUVs are booming, replacing the long running Aussie favorite – the small hatch. But now Ford has come up with a way to appeal to both buyers. Here’s everything you need to know about the Ford Focus Active.
The Focus Active’s sticker price of $ 29,990 will translate to about $ 34,000 on the road, placing it midfield among the faux-SUVs. The test example’s options blew the price out to about $ 40K in your driveway, including $ 2000 sunroof, $ 1800 design pack with privacy glass, adaptive LED headlamps and 18-inch wheels and $ 650 for metallic paint, plus a driver assist kit. Standard gear runs to an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen with smartphone mirroring, satnav and digital radio, wireless phone charging and dual-zone aircon. The Focus comes with a five-year warranty and capped price services are $ 299 for the first four at 12 month / 15,000km intervals, climbing to $ 345 for the fifth visit.
ANCAP rated the Focus range as a high-performing five-star car when it was crash-tested in August. About the only real criticism directed at the hatch was for the autonomous emergency braking’s detection of cyclists, with the report noting the AEB’s “marginal performance” in cyclist test scenarios. The absence of emergency lane-keep assist was also highlighted, given the standard lane-keep assist was rated as good. I’d spend a further $ 1250 on the driver assist pack adding adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert with active braking.
The Focus Active’s 30mm higher ride over its stablemates makes access marginally easier. Once behind the wheel, you’re confronted by generally bland interior plastics and not hugely supportive seats front or back. It is, however, easy to find a comfortable driving position and the view out of the cabin isn’t too restricted. The absence of air vents and USB ports in the rear doesn’t do the Focus any favors: it won’t be a fun drive if the kids are getting hot and sweaty and can’t recharge their devices.
Longer suspension travel and a touch more weight courtesy of the extra exterior plastic panels don’t make the Active any less active than lower-riding versions. It is still more than willing to dart through a set of bends, largely due to the multi-link rear suspension it shares with the ST-Line (the rest of the range makes do with a torsion beam). Acceleration comes from a willing three-cylinder turbo engine that pumps out enough power and torque to keep up with the pack, if not being overtly pacy. The eight-speed auto does well once on the move but can roll backwards when switching into reverse on an inclined driveway. In general, though, the Focus more than holds its own as a decent daily driver, though it will use more fuel than the claimed 6.4L / 100km.
Ignore the pretentious plastic panels and the Active is the most practical Focus in the range. It drives well, has room and the servicing costs are competitive.
VW Golf Alltrack, $ 35,750 plus on-roads
The cabin feels more premium and the VW comes with on-demand all-wheel drive but it misses out on safety tech standard on the Ford.
Subaru XV Premium, $ 33,420 plus on-roads
The XV doesn’t go as hard and the boot isn’t as practical but all-wheel drive and 220mm ride height give it an edge as an SUV capable of hitting more than a sandy track.
Ford Focus Active vitals
Price: $ 29,990 plus on-roads
Warranty / servicing: 7 years / unlimited km, $ 1541 for 5 years / 75,000km
Safety: 5 stars, 6 airbags, AEB, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition
Engine: 1.5-liter 3-cyl turbo, 134kW / 240Nm
Thirst: 6.4L / 100km