New Ford Focus ACTIVE Hatchback – A Dynamic Crossover. 

The new Ford Focus (Irish Small / Compact Car of the Year 2019) has undergone an ‘Active’ makeover in a similar fashion to that of its KA+ and Fiesta siblings. Available in hatchback and estate bodystyles, the new ‘Active’ model takes the standard Zetec trim level and gives it a rugged, off-road look. Key to this transformation is the addition of stylish protective black cladding lining the wheelarches and side sills, tough-looking front and rear bumpers, roof rails, and a raised ride height courtesy of revised suspension and larger tyres. The new suspension set-up increases the car’s ride height by 30mm at the front, and 34mm at the rear. Interior ‘Active’ upgrades consist of the addition of some bespoke trim elements.

Engine & Transmission Options;

Engine options in the new Ford Focus ‘Active’ consist of a 1.0-litre EcoBoost 125PS (3-cylinder petrol), or a 1.5-litre TD EcoBlue 120PS (4-cylinder turbo-diesel), while both engines are available with a choice of six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmissions. Every Focus ‘Active’ is front-wheel-drive, but a selectable drive mode system can tailor the traction control for slippery, soft and soggy terrain (Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Trail).

Test Car;

My test car was a Focus ‘Active’ Hatchback 1.5-litre TD 120PS EcoBlue 6-speed manual and was finished in ever popular Frozen White paintwork, with contrasting black plastic cladding for a tough, off-roader look. The wonderful 1.5-litre Turbo-Diesel EcoBlue engine produces 118bhp (120PS), which enables the car to sprint from 0-100km/h in 10.6-seconds. Capable of a top speed of 195km/h, and fuel consumption as low as 4.7l/100km on a combined driving cycle, the Focus ‘Active’ Hatchback 1.5-litre TD EcoBlue costs just €180 for an annual road tax disc. Standard ‘Active’ specification is impressive, with key features such as 17” ‘Active’ alloy wheels, ‘Active’ bodykit with unique front grille, ‘Active’ front and rear skid plates, ‘Active’ badge on front fender, twin polished tailpipes, LED daytime running lights with cornering function, auto lights & wipers, black roof-rails, cruise control with Lane Keeping Aid, Quickclear™ heated windscreen, Pre-Collision Assist (including vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists), Post Impact Braking, electronic parking brake, keyless start, unique ‘Active’ interior trim, 8” SYNC touchscreen with Android Auto™ & Apple CarPlay™, selectable drive modes, manual air-conditioning, and a front central armrest, along with many more comfort, convenience, and safety features.

Excellent Driving Dynamics;

On the road, I found the 1.5-litre turbo-diesel engine to be well suited to the relaxed nature of the Focus ‘Active’ Hatchback, with the modern 4-cylinder unit proving itself to be refined – not only at a cruise – but also through the gears during hard acceleration. The car drives with the same excellent driving dynamics as the regular Focus, with the car’s highly-acclaimed chassis taking centre stage. The car’s steering is direct, and well-weighted, while providing terrific feedback to the driver at all times, making the Focus ‘Active’ Hatchback a genuinely fun car to drive. My test car’s standard six-speed manual gearbox was a pleasure to use, with effortless gear-changes taking place with poise and precision. Thankfully, raising the ride height of the Focus Active hasn’t unduly affected the way it rides or handles – which is particularly good news, as in this department it’s a class leader.

Commendable Build Quality;

Build quality throughout the car’s cabin is commendable, while supportive seats ensure that occupants arrive at their destination in comfort. Interior space is identical to that of the regular Focus Hatchback, while its 375-litres of useable boot space can be extended to 1,354-litres with the rear seats folded flat. A low load lip ensures that bulky, or heavy items, can be loaded easily, and will prove beneficial for people who want to load mountain bikes, or whatever lifestyle items that need to be transported.

Pricing & Warranty;

Along with its rugged looks and surprisingly good driving experience, value is an area where the Ford Focus ‘Active’ really stands out. Fitted with the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine (in 5-door hatchback guise) it starts from just €24,809 (ex-works), undercutting many crossover rivals in the process. The ‘Active’ Estate costs an additional €1,070, with the 1.5-litre EcoBlue engine commanding a €2,200 premium over the EcoBoost unit. As with all Ford passenger cars, the Focus ‘Active’ comes with a comprehensive 7-year/100,00km warranty for the ultimate in peace-of-mind motoring.

Visit www.ford.ie for further information.