Isaac Bober’s Ford Focus Active Review 2019 with Price, Specs, Performance, Ride and Handling, Interior, Ownership, Verdict and Score.
In a nutshell: Higher riding Focus Active adds some variety to the Focus range.
2019 Ford Focus Active Specifications
Price $29,990+ORCs Warranty 5 years, unlimited km Service Intervals 12 months, 15,000km Safety 5 star ANCAP rating Engine 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol Power 134kW at 6000rpm Torque 240Nm at 1600rpm Transmission 8-speed auto Drive Front-wheel drive Dimensions 4378mm (L), 1825mm (W), 1454mm (H), 2700mm (WB) Ground Clearance 163mm claimed Kerb Weight 1321kg Towing 1200kg Towball Download 120kg Boot Space 443L Spare Space saver Fuel Tank 52L Thirst 6.4L/100km
SUVs are all the rage at the moment and the much-praised Focus range now has a compact SUV to take on the likes of the Mazda CX-3, Peugeot 2008, Subaru XV and so on. While it misses out on all-wheel drive, the Focus Active has the looks that will appeal to urban adventurers.
What’s the price and what do you get?
The Focus Active slots into the range between the entry-level Trend and ST-Line and lists at $29,990+ORCs. It rides around 30mm higher than the Focus Trend, get unique front and rear bumpers, 17-inch alloys and black flares for that rough-road look. The features align with the ST-Line and include, autonomous emergency braking (AEB), dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, wireless phone charging, digital radio tuning, rear parking sensors and camera. There’s also an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with native satellite-navigation as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
What’s the interior like?
Some have been critical of the Focus’s interior but I’m a fan. It’s practical and functional and there’s enough soft-touch materials and contrasting trim to push it towards the top of the class. That said, the interior mimics that of the Trend with some added creature comforts. The dashboard is dominated by the 8.0-inch infotainment screen which is easy to reach and control from the driver’s seat. But, because it runs Ford’s SYNC3 you can control the whole thing quite easily with just your voice. There’s decent storage stashed around the cabin, certainly more than you’ll find in many of this car’s competitors.
What are the front seats like?
The Active’s front and rear seats are trimmed in their own unique material which is both soft yet feels like it’ll be hard wearing. There’s good adjustment on the front seats and the steering wheel offers good adjustment too meaning it’s easy to get comfortable behind the steering wheel. Vision right around the vehicle is good.
What are the back seats like?
Even for adults the back seats are comfortable with enough headroom that a six-footer won’t feel closed in. There’s good legroom too and the rear doors open nice and wide, making it easy to get in and out of the back. And the higher ride height makes getting into the front or the back easy indeed as you don’t drop down into the Active or need to pull yourself up and out of it. You simply swing into the thing. There are ISOFIX mounts on the two outboard seats and storage bins in the doors but no rear air vents or charging points in the back.
What about the boot?
The boot is a good size and the tailgate is easy to open and close with one hand. There’s 443 litres of storage in the boot with the seats in place making it one of the biggest boots in the segment. A space saver spare sits underneath the boot floor.
What’s the performance like?
Under the bonnet is a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine making 134kW at 6000rpm and 240Nm of torque from 1600rpm. This is mated to an eight-speed automatic with fuel use a claimed combined 6.4L/100km. In our week of testing we managed to use a little more than that at 6.5L/100km.
The numbers might not look huge for the Focus Active but in the real-world the thing feels energetic and enthusiastic. Even with four on-board and luggage too, the Focus Active flattens hills and is overtakes easily on the highway. The transmission does a perfect job of getting the most out of the engine and is impossible to catch in the wrong gear. More than that, on the highway at a steady throttle the engine can deactivate one cylinder and run on two to save fuel; you’ll never notice it cut in or out.
The only criticism you could level at the Focus Active is that the engine is a little noisier than you might expect. Don’t misread me, the cabin is hushed and there’s little road noise but when pushed the engine become roarty; it isn’t quite as hushed as it is in other Focus models.
What’s it like on the road?
Sitting a little taller than the regular Focus, and on taller tyres too, the Active’s suspension has been re-tuned for a softer ride. That means a little more bodyroll than the regular Focus which is possibly the best riding and handling vehicle in its class. Don’t think then that the Active is roly-poly because it isn’t, far from it, in fact, with well controlled movements and the ability to smother bumps that would upset other small hatchbacks.
But the Active is a little different to the Trend and others in that it uses a multi-link rear end while the others only get a torsion beam rear. And while you’d have to back-to-back the two variants to pick the key differences, it’s clear from just a quick drive around the block that the Active is a tidy and fun handling vehicle whether you’re tootling around town or on a twisting road.
Don’t think the Focus Active is intended to be bashed down your nearest trail because it isn’t. It’s front-wheel drive only but thanks to some clever traction aids it can handle lumpy dirt without too much drama. Think of it as a competitor, in this case, to the likes of Puegeot’s 2008 which is front-wheel drive too, rather than the all-wheel drive Subaru XV.
What about ownership?
Warranty is five years and unlimited kilometres. There’s also capped price servicing, but it only covers the first four years or 60,000km. Those first four services cost $299 each. Services are 12 months or 15,000km.
What about safety features?
The Focus Active has a five-star ANCAP rating and gets autonomous emergency braking although it’s only a low-speed system (operational via a camera below 80km/h). There’s also lane keep assist and blind-spot monitoring as well as reversing camera with dynamic guidelines. You can extend the range of the AEB by opting for the cost-optional Driver Assistance Pack which we’d recommend, this bundles radar cruise control, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert with auto braking in reverse. The addition of the radar gives the AEB enhanced functionality, which allows it to operate at freeway speeds and above.