Auto Test: Ford Focus Active, Multipurpose

The Ford Focus, Active version, took on a crossover look ...

To expand its Ford Focus range, Ford is launching an Active version with crossover air and specific driving modes to tackle tricky terrain. From € 25,400.

To stick to the fashion and desire of customers, Ford has just “crossoverise” the Focus … In other words, the brand has just given him a small air fighter that is the success of SUV . The sedan wears a rustic outfit with, for starters, a top height of 3 cm so as to approach more serenely dirt roads.

The Focus Active is particularly noticeable by the appearance of black wheel arches and roof bars, specific grilles and, as for the sporty ST Line version, it has a dual exhaust outlet.

In the cockpit, nothing new. Technically, it receives custom suspension wishbones, appropriate adjustment of the springs, shock absorbers and electric steering. In addition to the Focus’s three driving modes (normal, economical or sporty), the Active features two specific modes, “Slippery Terrain” for low-traction surfaces, acting on a more progressive acceleration pedal, the Traction control adjustment and ESC, and “Trail-Track” for deformed surfaces, ABS increasing wheel slip and ESC becoming less restrictive.

he Ford Focus Active offers five different driving modes ...
he Ford Focus Active offers five different driving modes … (© Philippe Lacroix)

Petrol and diesel from 120 to 150 hp

Under the hood of the Focus, there is a plethora of petrol and diesel engines ranging from 85 hp to 180 hp. For its new Active version, Ford has focused its choice on intermediate powers, which is perfectly wise given the philosophy of the car.

Thus, it keeps in essence the 3 cylinders 1 liter of 125 hp and the 1.5 liter of 150 hp, while in Diesel it receives the 4 cylinders 1.5 liter of 120 hp and 2 liters of 150 hp. They all have Stop & Start technology and are served by a 6-speed manual or automatic 8-speed torque converter for an additional € 1,700. Gasoline benefits from cylinder deactivation technology when full engine power is not required. Finally, Ford announces a semi-hybrid engine for 2020.

Comfortable on dry and slippery

The technical changes of the Active version in no way affect the excellent handling of the Focus. When leaving asphalt for dirt roads, the Focus Active demonstrates its specific qualities when the appropriate traction mode is in operation. Of course, there is no question of crossing but the rolling on the soft surfaces is greatly facilitated. It is certain that on the snow, the advantage must be undeniable.

The choice of automatic transmission is also an important asset for driving comfort even if its responsiveness is not that of a double clutch gearbox. But its 8 reports are pretty well storied and curiously programmed to never exceed 6,000 rpm while the red zone of the tachometer is at 6,500 rpm! It is possible to resume orders with pallets. Note that the center console is then released from the shifter since the passage forward or back is achieved very easily by a wheel on the center console which also hosts the rocker electric parking brake.

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