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We review the Ford Fiesta Active SUV 2018

We review the Ford Fiesta Active SUV 2018

7th September 2018

The Car.co.uk verdict:

4.1 out of 5

The new Ford Active SUV isn’t really an SUV at all – it’s actually Fiesta that’s dressed up like one. Don’t let that put you off though, while this new Fiesta Active doesn’t have authentic SUV features; it’s got bags of style and the ride comfort you’d expect from bigger and more costly cars.

You’ll struggle to find a supermini that’s as good as the new Fiesta – so if you’re looking for a small car that’s got good fun crossover looks, a solid range of great engines, and suspension that’ll soak up some lumps and bumps, this little Ford Fiesta SUV might be perfect for you.

Pros

  • Forgiving ride that’ll keep you comfy as it absorbs everyday bumps and potholes
  • A lovely looking Ford supermini with quirky SUV styling
  • A range of excellent engines and plenty of useful onboard equipment

Cons

  • SUV style that doesn’t deliver any real SUV benefits
  • A ride quality that isn’t quite as good as a standard Fiesta
  • A much bigger price ticket for what’s essentially a beefed-up Fiesta

Looks

4.5 out of 5

Looks

A good-looking new Fiesta with a rugged twist

The Ford Fiesta Active crossover is a great looking little car – it’s got all the appeal of the new Fiesta design with some nods toward bulkier and rugged SUV style.

The current Fiesta shape is a real hit with car buyers – sporty enough to warrant a second look but still the most practical small car on UK roads. It’s no surprise that Ford has given their best-selling car a robust redesign and introduced it as a new model. Sturdy black plastic bumper extensions and arches along with useful looking roof rails set the Fiesta Active crossover apart from the crowd.

It’s taller, chunkier, and looks like it would be happy bouncing along gravel tracks and mountain roads. While this isn’t a true SUV; it definitely looks the part. The thing is, SUV style isn’t necessarily about hitting hard terrain and loading a car up to the roof with suitcases; the vast majority of UK SUVs will never be used in this way – so sometimes, looks are all you need.

Practicality

4 out of 5

Practicality

All the usual Fiesta practicality perks – with a bit of extra protection

It would be easy to continue down the route of comparing the new Ford Fiesta Active to true SUVs – but that’s not fair. This is a rugged supermini – and in supermini terms, it’s a practical little car.

The new Fiesta base that the Active is built on offers 16mm more legroom than its predecessor, making it one of the most spacious rear-seats in its class – and while that 16mm might not sound like much, it really does make a difference when you’ve got adults in the back.

Boot space is more than reasonable too – there are 292litres under the parcel shelf and an overall 1,093litres that’ll eat up plenty of luggage, bags, and boxes if you need to use the Active as a workhorse. This is a surprisingly usable space for a supermini too – owing to the wide-mouthed tailgate that opens as much of the space up as possible.

If you want to continue your new Active-inspired rugged attitude into wider life, there’s are standard roof bars on every model that’ll allow you to add bike carriers, roof boxes, kayak racks and much more – making this stocky little Fiesta quite versatile should it ever take you on holiday or into the wilderness. If the wilderness is a bit of a stretch – then you’ve got some good-looking rugged arch and body kit additions that’ll deflect a shopping trolley much more effectively than most cars.

Engine and Power

4 out of 5

Engine and Power

Some excellent mid-range engine options with power and growl

The Ford Fiesta Active SUV engine range has something for everyone; there’s a 3-cylinder, 1.0-litre EcoBoost turbocharged petrol unit, and a 1.5-litre diesel option. The petrol engine can be selected in 84, 99, 123, and 138bhp variations – whereas the diesel is offered with either 84 or 118bhp.

Frankly, the baseline 84bhp options feel like they leave a little to be desired in the 2018 Ford Fiesta Active. Both petrol and diesel options take a sluggish 12.7 seconds to drag the Active up to 62mph; making joining a motorway or dual carriageway a combination of frustration and mild fear. Both engine types benefit tremendously from that step up to either 99 or 118bhp however, making the Active that little bit snappier when you need the power.

While both the 123 and 138bhp petrol engines give the Active a nice growl, the 99bhp version is just as much fun – and has you switching up through the beautifully smooth 6-speed gearbox at a fair rate of knots. It’s also worth noting that it’s only this 99bhp variant that can be paired to Ford’s 6-speed auto gearbox.

While the range of engines stops a good way short of winning the Ford Fiesta Active SUV any land speed records, there are plenty of options – whether you’re looking for a slow and steady school or work run – or something that’ll propel you a little more confidently on longer journeys.

Reliability

4 out of 5

Reliability

An all-new Fiesta variant that’s based on a solid Ford reliability

The Ford Fiesta Active crossover is a little too new to offer any solid reliability feedback from owners – as is the overhauled new Fiesta it’s based on, but it’s fair to assume Ford hasn’t gone too far off the tracks with build quality or attention for detail, so older Fiesta data is worth a look.

Electrical problems are usually top of the grumbles list for Fiesta owners, unsurprising really; considering the amount of tech that’s onboard a reasonably low-cost car. Aside from electrics, some owners point to bodywork issues – but this is something you’d hope the Active’s sturdy new body kit helps to remedy.

As a whole, Fords tend to rate reasonably well in the reliability stakes, usually beating Skoda, Vauxhall, Seat and VW – an impressive feat considering the sheer number of Fords that can be seen on UK roads. All indications suggest the Active’s reliability will be as rugged and robust as it’s tough little frame would suggest.

Onboard equipment

4.5 out of 5

Onboard equipment

An impressive specification list that will leave you wanting very little

You’ll need to make sure you’re sitting comfortably before you embark on exploring the vast Ford Fiesta Active SUV accessories list. The good news is, a huge amount of it comes as standard.

Right out of the factory, every Active is equipped with rather handsome 17-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels – with the increasingly popular diamond-cut finish that can be found on the top-end Audis and BMWs. Onboard you’ve got an 8-inch touchscreen SYNC 3 communication and entertainment system – a great platform which works with both Apple’s CarPlay and AndroidAuto phone connections – or directly with voice commands. A central 1-litre capacity media ‘bin’ lets you stow all manner of digital devices safely too.

In the passenger cabin, there’s air-con, a rear seatbelt minder, rear central headrest, electric windows, and rear privacy glass. For drivers, there’s height and lumbar adjustment from their seat, a tyre-pressure monitor, Ford’s ever-useful QuickClear front heated screen, lane-keeping technology, pedestrian detection and auto-parking assist.

The next step up the trim range takes you into the ‘B&O Play’ level, named after Bang and Olufsen – the high-end audio company that provides the Active with 360-degree sound and 10 high-fidelity speakers. This trim level also sees a smart looking black roof and matching mirrors added to the Active, as well as; cruise control, auto-wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, driver armrest and illuminated cup holders, and a 4.2in TFT instrument cluster.

Your next step takes you to the current pinnacle of the range; the Active X – where your already tech-laden B&O Play spec is topped up with part leather, keyless entry and start, climate control, sat-nav, and a rearview camera. You’ve got to hand it to Ford; there’s a lot packed into these tough-looking little Fiestas.

Interior

4 out of 5

Interior

The most practical and intuitive Fiesta front seat layout we’ve ever seen

The Fiesta Active SUV interior might lack some of the class you find in VW supermini cabins – but it’s a nice looking and well put together interior that’s more than a little reminiscent of the standard Fiesta interior.

At B&O Play level, the seat fabric and dash are adorned with understated yellow highlights, which add a touch of flair, and set the car apart a little – as do the redesigned slim-backed seats that feature throughout the Fiesta range. Slim-back doesn’t equal uncomfortable though, these are some of the most comfortable Fiesta seats Ford has produced in quite some time – and it’s comfort that’s bolstered by the beautifully cushioned ride quality too.

In terms of layout, the Fiesta Active feels a little more driver-centric than previous Fiesta models; everything in intuitively placed – and the 6.5-inch SYNC 3 display feels prominent but not obtrusive. Sitting inside the Fiesta, with its chunky steering wheel and snug sporty seats, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re in car that boasts a much bigger engine and a feistier 0-62mph time.

The drive

4 out of 5

The drive

An impressive drive that defies the Active’s taller stance

So, we know all about all about how this new 2019 Fiesta Active is essentially a Fiesta with some SUV styling touches – but what makes the car distinct from its standard counterpart?

Well; there’s the increased ride height, the tweaked suspension set up, the all-new intelligent traction control setting, the broader track width, and the overall ride quality. So don’t be fooled into thinking the Ford Fiesta Active SUV styling is purely an exercise in aesthetics by the development team – there’s plenty more going on that just rugged good looks.

Hitching the Active’s body up by 18mm is noticeable when the car is alongside a standard Fiesta – it’s a taller car, helped along by the extra height the roof bars create. It’s the kind of measurement that’s going to be noticeable on the road too – but rather impressively, it doesn’t generate the kind of body roll and loose cornering you might expect from a small but tall supermini. The typical Fiesta handling isn’t quite there – but it’s not far away; the extra track width definitely helps to give the car are more ‘planted’ feel than you’d expect when you look at the car – and the result is a Fiesta that still feels good whipping through tight around-town corners.

The most significant difference in the drive relates to sheer comfort through – if your local roads involve a liberal sprinkling of pot-holes – then the Active is going to offer some welcome relief. The tweaked Ford suspension happily soaks up holes, gravel tracks, and uneven surfaces – where the standard Fiesta might feel a bit like you’re bouncing off them. There’s also a new ‘slippy’ drive mode that tailors the drive to conditions the present less traction – a welcome addition on icy or snowy days.

Make no mistake, the Active is not intended for real off-road use – but if you’d like a good-looking, robust little car that’s comfortable to drive, this mini-crossover is an excellent upgrade from the regular Fiesta.

Cost

3.5 out of 5

Cost

Pricier and prettier than the equivalent standard Fiesta

The Ford Fiesta Active SUV 2018 price presents an interesting question for potential buyers; do you love the way it looks enough to pay more than a standard Fiesta?

Ford seems to think that the answer is going to be a resounding ‘yes!’ – as they’ve publicly stated that they expect the Active to represent around 15% of all Fiesta sales in the UK. They’re almost certainly right too – chunky plastic bump panels and a higher stance are bringing Range Rover style appeal to the masses – but it’s a style that does come at a cost.

The Active starts at £17,795 – with the B&O Play spec coming in at £19,195. If you like your Active packed even more tightly with tech and a little leather, then you’ll need to pay £20,295+ for the Active X. Compared with the standard Fiesta, that’s around £2,000 on top of list prices for the style and perks of an Active.

Although you’ll pay more up front, Actives and Fiestas cost an equal amount to run – since they’re sitting on essentially the same floor pan, engines and running gear. You can expect between 70.6 and 64.2mpg from the diesel engines – and around 55mpg for the petrol engines – and even if these figures are a little optimistic, the new Ford Fiesta Active SUV running costs are likely to be some of the lowest in the class.

Safety

4.5 out of 5

Safety

A tough looking little crossover SUV that doesn’t cut any safety corners

The new Fiesta Active SUV safety specs definitely don’t disappoint – the car has that all important 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating that was also awarded to the 2017- Fiesta – with an 87% adult protection rating – and a strong 84% child protection figure.

The usual complement of airbags is onboard, with driver and passenger covered from all angles – and back seat passengers protected by the side-impact curtain protection.

It’s not just a robust build quality that keeps you safe though. The B&O Play spec Active comes equipped with traffic sign recognition, fatigue detection and lane-keeping tech – and if you’re happy to part with an additional £200, the Driver Assistance pack offers auto-emergency braking at speeds of up to 50mph – a very small price to pay for added peace of mind.

Why buy

4 out of 5

Why buy

A brilliant little crossover that’s going to have a vast appeal

The coming few years could be tough for Ford; every incarnation of the VW Polo, Seat Ibiza, and Peugeot 208 gets stronger and stronger, and while the Fiesta maintains its hold as the most popular car in the UK, it’s a marketplace that’s becoming increasingly challenging. It seems the Ford Fiesta Active SUV is the answer to this looming problem – this car extends the Fiesta’s appeal even more broadly, capturing that audience whose heads are increasingly turned by upright and tough-looking crossovers and SUVs.

Of course, Ford already produces a small SUV – the EcoSport, but it’s not a car whose name rolls off the tongue like the Fiesta. As a nation we love the Fiesta, we like the way it drives, we love the style, we’re happy with the familiar performance and reliability – so for many people, the Active is a very natural next step if SUV style is on the wish lists.

So, people are going to be naturally drawn to this car – and when they are, they’re going to find handling that’s almost as good as their favourite supermini; and ride comfort that surpasses it, all wrapped up in a very visually appealing package. There’s also a massive range of equipment that’s already onboard – and plenty more if you’re willing to go for a slightly costlier spec level.

If you’re looking for a Fiesta with excellent handling and exceptional value – stick to the standard car, however, if you’re looking for something with more flair, style and comfort; this chunky little crossover is likely to tick every box for you.

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