Life with a Ford Focus Active 1.0 EcoBoost

In Car Reviews, Ford, Hybrid by Matthew Macconnell

The stars were clearly aligned when the Ford Focus Active was dropped off

Car Reviewed: Ford Focus Active 1.0-Litre EcoBoost

I had a hectic week ahead. Being a motoring journalist can be excellent. One week, I could be driving a range-topping hybrid that gets over 100mpg, while the next could present a gas-guzzling 12mpg brute pickup truck that makes lovely loud exhaust noises; financial suicide if you’re travelling to anywhere but the local shops.

The Active is aesthetically, well, odd. It’s classed as a crossover; it sits slightly higher than a standard Focus and is covered in tough-looking black plastic. That aside, it makes for a strong argument in the hybrid field and has a focus, pun intended, on keeping money in your wallet while providing decent performance.

Let’s start with the chassis — it’s a peach. I was quite confused about the Active when ironing out some of the lovely B-roads near my house and I clearly remember thinking: “What are you?!”. It feels incredibly balanced and it injects you with further confidence after each corner. Telling your mates down at the pub that your 1.0-litre Focus Active is a hoot to drive will likely make you a standing joke, but that’s because they haven’t driven one, and unless it’s an ST or RS, they’ll probably not be interested.

Sure, supermarket orange juice cartons have larger displacements, but that doesn’t mean the 1.0-litre isn’t enough. The 152bhp and 190Nm that the turbocharged unit develops is plenty for this platform and it never felt underpowered; the power delivery almost reminded me of the ‘warm hatchback’ days, back when the Citroen C2 VTS was still a thing.

My car had the six-speed manual, but it appears Ford now only offers the 152bhp car with a seven-speed automatic — the six-speed is now only available with the 125bhp engine. Performance aside, most people may be influenced by the mild hybrid gubbins.

I was invited by Kia to attend the launch of its new electric EV9 flagship in Inverness — a 297-mile round trip consisting mainly of motorway driving. 

The rain was hammering down when I left my home in Clackmannanshire and continued to do so until I reached just south of Inverness. It snowed upon approach and then there was an incredibly dense wall of fog which caused utter chaos. Traffic was at a standstill; accident announcements were abundant over the radio and Inverness-bound flights were being rerouted to Aberdeen. To make things worse, it was getting dark and the Focus’ automatic lights don’t work in such fog. This resulted in a car flashing its lights at me because my headlights hadn’t come on.

The heated seats in the Active were a godsend, as the temperature had dipped below zero. Arriving at my Inverness hotel, I felt lucky. I had made it through the extreme murk, and I didn’t become another radio statistic. The readout showed 51.3mpg.

Luckily, the weather cleared for my drive home. After the journey, I felt pretty attached to the Active. The seats were comfortable, the boot was large enough for my chunky camera bag and overnight clothing, it was economical, the touchscreen was snappy, it was quick enough, it had a wireless phone charger, it had keyless entry and cruise control, and finally, it did everything that a car should do without overcomplicating matters.

£29,320 may sound like a lot, but technically, you get heaps for a relatively reasonable price. If an off-road-inspired Focus isn’t for you, there are plenty of other options such as the cheaper Titanium or sporty ST-Line. 

Car reviewed: Ford Focus Active

on the road price as tested £29,320

  • 0-62mph 9.7secs
  • Top speed 131mph
  • Engine 1.0-litre 3-cylinder EcoBoost Mhev
  • Fuel Economy WLTP Combined 54.3mpg
  • Max Power 152bhp
  • Torque 190Nm
  • Dimensions MM 4397 L/1979 W/1483 H
  • CO2 emissions 118g/km WLTP combined
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Bootspace 341 / 1320 1itres (seats folded)

Matthew MacConnell


A motoring journalist from Central Scotland with a Diploma in Freelance and Feature Writing from the London School of Journalism, contributing to various online and print automotive publications. Matthew covers features, news and car reviews and enjoys the fast-paced environment of the motoring world with a strong coffee in hand. From a Honda Jazz to a Lamborghini Reventón there’s nothing off limits.

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