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Actively adding new dimension to the Ford Fiesta range

Ford Fiesta Active gets a rugged crossover restyle and raised ride height but is virtually identical to the standard supermini. Picture: Ford

Ford Fiesta Active gets a rugged crossover restyle and raised ride height but is virtually identical to the standard supermini. Picture: Ford

Ford

Ford has added a slightly rugged crossover variant to the Fiesta range. Tom Wiltshire takes the new Fiesta Active for a spin.

Raised suspension creates more body lean but there's still a natural balance to the Fiestas handling . Picture: FordRaised suspension creates more body lean but there's still a natural balance to the Fiestas handling . Picture: Ford

The Fiesta Active, Ford’s new supermini-sized crossover, is virtually identical to the standard car. Given that the current Fiesta is one of the best superminis on sale, is that a bad thing?

Active, only offered with five doors, is really more of a trim level but distinguishable with black plastic cladding and slightly raised ride height, giving it a more rugged look, slightly greater resistance to car park dings and more suspension travel.

Inside, you’ll find Active-specific upholstery and lots of equipment – Active sits high up in the Fiesta’s trim levels and, as a result, costs a fair amount for such a small car.

Roof bars add both utility and a rugged air, while the optional LED headlights look very slick.

The fascia is the same but Ford Fiesta Active gets special seat fabric. Picture: FordThe fascia is the same but Ford Fiesta Active gets special seat fabric. Picture: Ford

Under the bonnet

There are 100 and 120PS versions of the 1.5-litre turbo diesel and 100, 125 and 140PS variants of the perky, refined 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbo petrol EcoBoost.

Conspiring to spoil the plot however was the six-speed automatic gearbox mated to the test car’s 100PS EcoBoost engine. This engine isn’t a top performer at the best of times but the combination with the old-fashioned torque converter gearbox was sluggish, jerky and inefficient and, even cruising, we couldn’t crack 40mpg. We’d opt for the slick six-speed manual.

Standard roof bars and black plastic cladding add to the rugged crossover look. Picture: FordStandard roof bars and black plastic cladding add to the rugged crossover look. Picture: Ford

How it drives

The raised suspension contributes to body lean but also adds a cushioned ride, making the Active brilliant at absorbing ruts and potholes. Good visibility, plus dent-resistant plastic cladding, mean this is an ideal city car.

Despite the body lean, there’s a natural balance to the Fiesta’s handling with bags of grip, quick steering and an easy, nicely-weighted action to all the controls.

What’s it like inside?

All Fiesta interior fixings are present and correct, including the large, high-mounted central touchscreen infotainment system. Everything’s placed where you’d like to find it and is easy to use, while Active trim gains unique seat upholstery, carbon detailing across the dash and lots of kit.

There’s not an awful lot of room in here compared to a ‘proper’ crossover such as the Kia Stonic, and a six-foot adult will struggle to sit behind a similarly-sized driver. Build quality is good, though, and materials feel suitably plush.

Equipment

Active models are well equipped as standard with air conditioning, roof rails, remote locking, electric mirrors and infotainment display. Active B+O Play gains a premium audio system and top-spec Active X climate control, cruise control, heated seats, part-leather trim and sat-nav.

Final say

The Fiesta Active remains close to the standard Fiesta formula but is different enough to stand alone, and the comfortable ride and crossover style could seal the deal for many buyers.

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