Ford Fiesta Active – a joy to drive

Little “red cap” (as it was called at home) I took the test without any big expectations and emotions. I’m a bit of a conservative person and a bit skeptical of the concept of plasting everything and raising the chassis by 1cm anyway. This trend, of making crossovers out of everything the assembly line has to offer, is incomprehensible to me but – if people want it and buy it – why not. I was also a bit worried about the connection with the three cylinder liter engine. But there my fears and prejudices end…

The new Fiesta Active is designed for those who like compact hatchbacks because of their size and ease of parking. However, it is significantly more expensive than the standard model. For the higher price, you get a rugged good-looking car with a raised suspension that is designed to treat its owner to increased ground clearance on light off-road terrain or more confidence when parking on kerbs in crowded cities. A bit of a bummer is the solution of the front lights only as classic halogen daytime running lights using a regular bulb. Also, the rear trunk lid is plastered with a rough black sticker, which I don’t give a long life to.

Unlike the standard version, the Fiesta Active comes with just five doors to make life easier. The interior isn’t as spacious as, say, the Polo, nor as bold and stylish as in the C3 but the materials used and the quality of workmanship are on a par with rivals from German concerns.

The Fiesta Active is equipped with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is easy to use, intuitive and – most importantly – as fast as your average tablet or smartphone. Individual items and settings are easy to “triaf” and you get mirroring for Apple and Android phones to top it all off. This works a treat and I had nothing to fault the whole infotainment system in all my time using it. Ford SYNC 3 can read messages in English and you can also control it with voice commands.

Between the alarms is a large black-and-white display with extensive settings for displaying fuel consumption, range, tire pressure, temperature, etc. All the controls for both the on-board computer and cruise control are on the steering wheel, and it’s very easy to learn how to operate after a brief introduction. The whole dashboard backlighting is in a beautiful turquoise blue, which looks very stylish at night when combined with white.

The front seats are quite comfortable but don’t hold up very well in corners. They are more for the smaller figures and our fairer halves, as the base height is quite high and you can’t go any lower with the adjustment.

There’s plenty of storage in the center tunnel, two + one cup holders, and a USB port in the rear cup holder for charging rear or front passengers’ phones. Other inputs are in the front and you’ll also find a 12V socket with increased power. The dashboard upholstery is standard in this class. However, the squeak of the door handles when pressed by hand or pulled together is a little startling.

Also standard is an adjustable lumbar support for the driver’s seat &#8211 something that is not standard in this class, even at extra cost, and for which your lower back will thank you on longer journeys.

In the front you’ll feel airy and there’s a lot of sensory space, but space in the rear is a little cramped. Ground clearance is decent but there’s not as much room in the back to carry three passengers side by side. Two children without but also in car seats will have no problem here, though.

Luggage space is decent for the class, holding 311L and up to 1093L with the split rear seats folded down. The loading lip is a little higher thanks to the raised chassis but in return the boot repays you with well-shaped openings and side pockets for small items, or a belt clamping system for first aid kits and must-haves.

Ford’s three-litre EcoBoost three-cylinder delivers 92kW (125bhp) at 6000rpm and 170Nm from just 1400rpm. The diamond-type surface on the piston rings reduces friction and the turbocharger, direct injection and variable valve timing increase efficiency. The result is remarkable performance from this economical little petrol engine. It feels like you’re on a go-kart track the whole time – always ready to deliver a pull in any gear. Such a responsive and well-sounding three-cylinder engine is hard to find in the competition, and it’s guaranteed to entertain you more with every mile. It’s not for nothing that it’s been Engine of the Year for x consecutive years. Consumption during the nearly 800km driven was 6.3L/100km, which is a very good figure considering the power and the brisk driving. I am sure it will surely repay the quiet souls with a consumption of 5L/100km as claimed by the manufacturer.

The chassis is typically Ford – stiff, tracks beautifully and you don’t hear bumps when oversteering or going over transverse bumps. It’s like it’s tuned precisely for our rutted roads, and the 17-inch wheels with 205/45 tyres don’t make it a problem either. The 6-speed manual transmission has short throws, and not once do you miss a gear even in more nimble driving. For the first time, you can tailor your driving experience with the Fiesta to suit the conditions with a choice of available driving modes. Whether you prefer performance, power or economy with a choice of Normal, Eco and Slippery (Wet) driving modes. In Eco mode, the control unit firmly suppresses any hint of sporty driving and even with a good stab of the accelerator, the car picks up only very casually. You won’t notice much difference between Normal and Slippery modes. The start-stop system works a treat, the engine kicks in virtually straight away and you won’t feel like you’re braking for junctions and traffic jams.

Despite its higher price, the Ford Fiesta Active is worth considering, and if you like it with a healthy dose of interesting SUV styling – you needn’t hesitate… in red, it’s almost “to eat.”

 

SpecificationsFord Fiesta Active 1.0 EcoBoost 125K
Engine Type:Carbureted
Valves:3/12
Capacity (cc):998
Maximum power (kW(h)/rpm)92 (125) / 6000
Highest torque. torque (Nm / rpm):170 / 1400
Transmission:6-speed manual
Acceleration 0 – 100 km/h (s):9.9
Combined – WLTP (l/100 km):5.5-6.1