Ford Fiesta Active Review
The Ford Fiesta Active is a small and very talented mini-SUV that is a good alternative to the hatchback
Strengths & weaknesses
- Good to drive
- Well equipped
- Good choice of engines
- Not as good value as the hatchback
- Cheapest petrol engine is slow
- Not as spacious as it looks
The Ford Fiesta Active brings a touch of adventure to the Fiesta range with its raised ride height and rufty tufty image. It’s a compact SUV or crossover in the sense that it’s a little higher off the ground than a regular Fiesta, is a bit wider, and is styled to look tough and chunky. In short, it’s just the job for the driver with an active lifestyle, or at least for someone who dreams of one.
There are many rivals like it including the popular Renault Captur, Honda HR-V, Nissan Juke, Mazda CX-3, Peugeot 2008 and Seat Arona. Despite being late to the party, the Fiesta Active is more significant than all of them because it’s based on the UK’s best-selling car, the Fiesta hatchback.
This relationship will be reassuring to anyone undecided about buying it since it enjoys most of the hatchback’s class-leading qualities.
These include fun handling (the steering is direct and well-weighted so you can sense where the wheels are pointing) and much better body composure than any rivals. This is partly a result of the car’s wider track (the distance between the left and right wheels) and the Fiesta’s already excellent body control. In fact, it copes with bumps slightly better than the regular Fiesta, although a VW Polo still feels smoother and more polished.
The more powerful of the two diesel engines suits the Active very well. However, the 1.0T EcoBoost 125 petrol is perfectly good, too, especially if your mileage doesn't justify the diesel’s extra cost.
Most people seeking a slightly-elevated driving position will find the Active’s driving position spot on. It may look big from the outside but five adults will still find the Active’s interior a bit of a squeeze. Again, a VW Polo has slightly more rear legroom and a larger boot.
A neat, logically laid-out dashboard is another feature the Active inherits from the regular Fiesta.
The active is priced competitively against that model, too, with, for example, an Active 1 1.0T EcoBoost 100 costing £18,345, or about the same price as a Fiesta five-door with the same engine in slightly better equipped Titanium trim.
It’s a tough call but if you fancy something a bit different to a run-of-the-mill hatchback, the Fiesta Active is well worth a close look.
|Warranty||3 years/60,000 miles|
|Boot size||292 litres/ 1093 litres|
|Tax||£145 - £205 in the first year, £140 thereafter|
Best Ford Fiesta Active for...
Best for Economy – Ford Fiesta Active 1 1.5 TDCI 85
An official economy figure of 70.6mpg makes this version of the Active first choice for drivers with an eye on the fuel gauge. Being Active 1 trim helps to keep costs down, too.
Best for Families – Ford Fiesta Active X 1.0T Ecoboost 125
All Fiesta Actives have five doors, giving them a head start in the family car stakes. Our chosen version adds a good blend of price, power and economy, while top-spec X trim brings useful features including a rear view camera and parking sensors, a sat nav and climate control. An opening panoramic sunroof is a £600 extra.
Best for Performance – Ford Fiesta Active 1.0T EcoBoost 140
Although 0.2 seconds quicker from 0-62mph than the 1.5 TDCI 120 diesel, this most powerful petrol engine is really fun to hussle along. It’s free-revving, punchy (thanks to the turbocharger) and emits a nice rasp from the engine. The only cautionary note is that economy can nosedive during spirited driving.
One to Avoid – Ford Fiesta Active 1 1.0T EcoBoost 85
The lowest trim and the least powerful engine are never a satisfying long-term combination. The low price might have its appeal but you’ll regret it as the weeks roll by. Far better to dig a little deeper and go for the 100 or 125 engines.
2017 All-new Fiesta launched
2018 New Fiesta Active goes on sale in three trim levels and powered by choice of diesel and petrol engines. Later the same year, the model’s revised WLTP fuel figures are published.
Understanding Ford Fiesta Active names
This signifies the car’s equipment level, with X being the highest specification. The two below it are mid-price B&O and entry-level 1.
Engine 1.0T EcoBoost 125PS start-stop
The first number is the size of the engine in litres while the letters following indicate whether it is petrol or diesel. In our example, you can tell it’s the petrol because it’s called T EcoBoost, Ford’s name for its range of small, turbocharged petrol engines. If it were a diesel it would say TDCI. The final number is the power of the engine equivalent to horsepower. Start-stop is a fuel-saving system for automatically switching off and restarting the engine when you’re paused at, say, traffic lights. All the engines have it.
The standard gearbox is a six-speed manual but you can have a six-speed automatic on the 1.0 EcoBoost 100PS.
Ford Fiesta Active Engines
Petrol: 1.0T EcoBoost 85PS, 100PS, 125PS & 140PS
Diesel: 1.5 TDCi 85PS & 120PS
There may only be two engines, a 1.0-litre petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel, but they are available in a total of six power outputs.
The more economical diesel engines are more expensive than their petrol equivalents. For example, the Fiesta Active 1 1.5 TDCI 85 diesel costs £1,300 more than the 1.0 T EcoBoost 85 petrol version. Their performance is broadly the same but you could buy a lot of petrol with the saving or better still, buy one of the more powerful EcoBoost engines such as the 100PS which is still £1,000 cheaper.
The 1.5 TDCI diesel engine is excellent as it’s smooth, powerful and economical. Again, though, your annual mileage must be considered. If you do regularly cover a lot of motorway miles it’s worthwhile going for the more powerful 120hp diesel.
Of all the engines the 1.0T EcoBoost 125 is the most rounded – refined, usefully powerful, reasonably economical and not too expensive.
The 1.0T EcoBoost 85PS and 1.0T EcoBoost 100PS are both fine if all you do is town driving, but it can feel a bit low on power at motorway speeds.
If performance is your priority the most powerful 1.0T EcoBoost 140 is the engine to buy. A 0-62mph time of 9.0 seconds is more than respectable for a car of this type, and it’s still £1,000 cheaper than the equivalent diesel.
Ford Fiesta Active Trims
Active 1, Active B&O, Active X
Ford has kept things simple with the Fiesta Active range. There are only three trim levels and they’re quite distinctive.
As the Active is more expensive than the regular Fiesta to begin with, the Active’s base trim, called Active 1, is close to but not quite at Titanium level on the hatchback.
So while it has 17in alloy wheels, a rugged body styling kit, silver roof rails, drive modes, privacy glass and powered rear windows, it goes without the hatchback’s useful 8.0-inch touchscreen and cruise control.
Active B&O, the middle trim, does get that larger screen and an uprated audio system, cruise control and yellow detailing in the interior.
Top-spec Active X is akin to Titanium X on the hatchback with part-leather trim and a range of driver assistance systems.
Ford Fiesta Active Reliability and warranty
The Fiesta Active is too new to have amassed any ownership data, but the normal Fiesta has had a chequered past with battery drain problems and even legal actions concerning its Powershift automatic transmission.
Some EcoBoost engines failed at relatively low mileages, too, although they were a small fraction of the total produced.
The Fiesta Active is covered by a industry-standard three-year warranty which should reassure buyers on a three-year finance deal.
Used Ford Fiesta Active
The demand for compact SUVs like the Fiesta Active shows no sign of slowing down so it’s a fair to assume used Fiestas will retain at least as much of their value as their hatchback equivalents.
New car discounts are respectable, which should help contain early years depreciation.
The Ford Fiesta is the UK’s most popular car – it looks good, drives well and makes a great used buy
The Ford Fiesta ST may offer the most driving fun you can have on a small budget
Great value - new and used - good to drive and well-equipped: the latest Ford Fiesta is a fantastic all-round supermini