The start point for the best source of fleet information
This sporty crossover is expected to be a popular choice, but is it a case of style over substance?
Ford is certainly pulling no punches with the SUV market in the UK. Virtually a quarter of all of the brand's new cars leaving showrooms last year were SUVs and Ford estimates that that figure will rise to more than a third by 2020.
To fill the seemingly non-existent gap between the standard Fiesta and the Ecosport baby crossover, we now have this new Fiesta Active. This is just the beginning of Ford's new Active family which will be joined by the Ka+ Active this summer and a new Focus Active at the end of 2018.
Ford is under no illusions about the possibilities of this version of the Fiesta either. With the sporty-looking ST Line and the new full-blooded ST hot hatch, the 120,000-odd annual sales of the Fiesta are fracturing more as the 'blue oval' brand seeks to take advantage of the increasing crossover demand. This Active is expected to account for a not-insubstantial 15% of all Fiesta sales.
According to Ford, one of the biggest reasons that buyers opt for a crossover is the higher driving position, something that this Active seeks to exploit. With its raised ride-height and taller tyres, the Active driver will sit around 20mm taller than they would in the standard Fiesta - although it costs up to an exrea £1,200 for the privilege.
Under the Active's bonnet there is, in theory, a choice between four 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engines in 85, 100, 125 and 140hp forms, as well as two 1.5-litre turbo-diesels. The reality, though, is that the two mid-range petrols, which have 114g/km emissions and a 23% BIK rating, will be the biggest sellers.
These and the 140hp Active tested here with 119g/km (and 24% BIK) just sneak into the top of their respective BIK bandings. Just 5% of Actives leaving showrooms are likely to be powered by a diesel engine.
With a 0-62mph time of 9.4 seconds and a 124mph top speed, this 140hp engine isn't available in the standard Fiesta, and it proves to be quite a treat. With the suspension and power steering tuned for rougher roads, the ride quality is excellent and it's certainly a very comfortable drive. Better yet, combined with the standard Fiesta's pliable and driver-focused handling, there's a lot here to like.
Ford claims that it has given the Active 'rough road capability' with its selectable driving modes of 'normal', 'eco' and 'slippery'. However, with no specific all-season tyres available - and without the tricks of Peugeot-Citroen's Grip Control system - you have to question the Active's actual talents in difficult conditions.
Even Ford's engineers admit the system is more for use on the move rather than pulling away on slippery surfaces. Business drivers needing even a small addition of off-road ability might like to look elsewhere.
Inside, the Active remains much the same as the standard Fiesta. Aside from that slightly higher seating position in terms of your view out, there's little change. We'd like to see some better quality materials lower down - particularly with the likes of the glove box lid - but the infotainment system works well and is relatively intuitive to use.
Ultimately, there's two ways of looking at the Fiesta Active. On the one hand, it's a cynical marketing ploy to take advantage of the crossover sales boom for little more than a new look, thanks to some body cladding and a slightly higher ride height.
But while it's true there's little of real substance beneath the Active's surface to back up those looks, if the demand is there - and the expected figure of just under one in every six Fiesta sales, is no small change after all - then why shouldn't Ford give it a try? Either way, like it or not, with Ka+ and Focus versions on the way, it looks like the Active badge is in Ford showrooms to stay.
Ford Fiesta Active B&O Play 1.0-litre 140hp
On sale Summer
Residual value 34.5%
Service, maintenance and repair £1,895
Cost per mile £47.3
Fuel consumption 58.8mpg
CO2 (BIK band) 110g/km (21%)
BIK 20/40% a month £69/ £139
Boot space311/1,093 litres
Engine size/power 998cc/140hp
Excellent ride, fun to drive, fills step to Ecosport.