New Ford Fiesta Active 1.0 petrol review

The jacked-up Ford Fiesta Active promises all the ability of the standard supermini in an SUV body, but is it worth the extra cash?

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

There’s no doubt supermini-sized faux-SUVs can be good cars – and the Ford Fiesta Active panders to that niche nicely. But for potential buyers not completely lusting over those rugged looks, there’s no avoiding that similarly specced and equally talented Fiestas are available elsewhere in the range for less.

The Ford Fiesta is Britain’s best selling car for good reason. It’s a supermini of many talents, ticking boxes for affordability, running costs, practicality and driving fun. The latest Fiesta ST promises to sail right to the front of the hot hatch pack too.

It’s no surprise to see that Ford thinks it can expand the Fiesta’s appeal even further, then – hence the addition of the new Fiesta Active. This SUV-inspired supermini says a lot about where the new car market has been moving over the last few years, and it could well be a package holding mainstream appeal. Especially compared to older curios like the Volkswagen Polo Dune and Citroen C3 X-TR. 

New Ford Fiesta ST review

Ford certainly thinks so. The firm predicts up to 15 per cent of Fiestas leaving UK showrooms could be jacked up Active models. It’s not just a single variant either, as three separate sub-trim levels are available – plus a healthy spread of powertrain choices. 

Visually, the rough-and-ready makeover comprises new bumpers, sills and wheel arches shod with black protective cladding, standard roof rails, a fresh grille and a unique set of 17-inch alloy wheels. 

The basic Active – priced from £17,995 – is spun off neatly from the mid-range Fiesta Zetec, meaning a 6.5-inch SYNC3 display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard. 

Our range topping version, which is badged Active X in the UK, gets the full eight-inch screen with sat-nav and a reversing camera. It’s a slick set-up to use and a massive improvement on older Ford infotainment units, though nothing particularly outstanding for the class. A partial leather interior with heated seats is also included, as is a 4.2-inch TFT display in the instrument cluster. By and large, it’s the same level of equipment found on the Fiesta Titanium. 

Mechanically, the Fiesta Active rides 18mm taller than standard cars, while the suspension has been altered with bespoke settings for the springs and shock absorbers. Three selectable drive modes are included too, with a new ‘Slippery’ setting automatically adjusting the traction control and steering on wet surfaces. 

Ford wants the Active to retain the fun to drive character of the base car – and we’re pleased to report that the firm has largely succeeded. The slightly more supple suspension setup means that the Active feels marginally more prone to body roll, but it’s still a taut drive. 

The raised ride height is offset by a 10mm wider track, intended to give the car a more imposing stance. But it also has the knock-on effect of retaining the Fiesta’s solid cornering stability. The ride feels composed at low speeds, too, but it’s still not quite enough to see the Fiesta challenge the VW Polo for outright comfort on the road.

Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost turbo petrol is still a solid all-rounder, with peppy performance linked to impressive refinement. The 138bhp version – previously only available on ST-Line and Vignale cars – joins the Active’s roster. But there’s no avoiding the fact the 99bhp or 123bhp versions will likely suffice for most Active buyers.

It should be noted that regardless of engine, the Active’s tweaks result in a minor dip in fuel economy compared to the lower, standard versions of the car.

Have you considered?

Ford Fiesta review
Ford Fiesta facelift - front cornering
Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta review

The Fiesta is good fun and remains a solid buy, despite increasingly strong competition
20 Jun 2022
Cupra Leon 245 VZ1 review
Cupra Leon 245 VZ1
Cupra Leon

Cupra Leon 245 VZ1 review

Few Cupra Leon buyers opt for this entry-level version of the car. Is it a hidden gem, or the derivative to avoid? 
1 Jun 2022
New Peugeot 308 Hybrid 180 2022 review
Peugeot 308 Hybrid - front
Peugeot 308

New Peugeot 308 Hybrid 180 2022 review

Is the more modest 178bhp Peugeot 308 PHEV the pick of the new hatchback's range? We find out...
26 May 2022

Most Popular

New Range Rover Sport ride review
New Range Rover Sport - front tracking
Road tests

New Range Rover Sport ride review

We get taken for a blast around Goodwood motor circuit in the new Range Rover Sport
27 Jun 2022
New electric MG Cyberster roadster to take brand back to its roots
MG roadster exclusive image - front
News

New electric MG Cyberster roadster to take brand back to its roots

The all-electric two-seat MG sports car is poised to follow the likes of the MG TF and MGB, and our exclusive images preview how it could look
23 Jun 2022
Volkswagen Taigo vs Toyota C-HR: 2022 twin test review
Volkswagen Taigo vs Toyota C-HR - header
Car group tests

Volkswagen Taigo vs Toyota C-HR: 2022 twin test review

Small coupé-SUVs go head to head, as the new Volkswagen Taigo takes on the Toyota C-HR
25 Jun 2022