Ford Fiesta Active Review 2024

Ford Fiesta Active At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The SUV-style Fiesta Active offers everything that’s good about a regular Ford Fiesta with more rugged styling and a more comfortable ride.

+Just as good to drive as a regular Fiesta, but with a smoother ride. Space inside for four adults. Generous standard equipment. Impressive engines.

-Small boot. Looks pricey on paper. Production will end in June 2023.

New prices start from £22,280
Insurance Groups are between 8–17
On average it achieves 78% of the official MPG figure

The Ford Fiesta Active splits the difference between a conventional supermini hatchback and a small SUV. In essence, it’s a regular Fiesta with rugged, SUV-style design details and raised suspension, similar to a Dacia Sandero Stepway. Aesthetically, we reckon the makeover works pretty well, but has it compromised the Ford Fiesta Active in other ways?

The short answer is ‘no’. In all the ways that really matter, the Active is exactly the same as any other Fiesta model. Let’s start with the interior.

Inside the Ford Fiesta Active, there’s enough space for four adults to travel in reasonable comfort, so the back bench is more than roomy enough for a couple of kids. The interior is a pleasant place to spend a journey, too. It’s quiet, the seats are comfortable, and everything feels properly made with decent materials.

The Ford Fiesta Active falters as a practical proposition, though, because the boot is quite small, even for a supermini. It’s fine for most single people and couples, but is just too small to accommodate all the clobber that family life demands. At least the back seats fold down when you need overflow space.

On the road, the Ford Fiesta Active feels very nearly as good to drive as a regular Ford Fiesta; it just loses a few degrees of handling precision because of its raised suspension. Nonetheless, it’s just as light, nimble and easy to park. As an added bonus, the added suspension travel provides a noticeably smoother ride. It remains a lovely car to drive by any standard.

The Ford Fiesta Active is available with two versions of Ford’s brilliant 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost petrol engine: either 100PS or 125PS. The 100PS motor comes with a six-speed manual gearbox and offers perfectly adequate performance with 50mpg-plus fuel economy. The 125PS is noticeably quicker and actually a bit more efficient, thanks to its economy-boosting mild hybrid system. You can have it with a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

There are two trim levels to choose from: Ford Fiesta Active or Ford Fiesta Active X. Both come pretty well-equipped, including an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto phone connectivity. You also get air conditioning, cruise control and rear parking sensors. Active X has a more upmarket look and feel, with bigger alloy wheels, plush cloth and leatherette seat upholstery and a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display.

Prices start at around £22,500 at the time of writing, and stretch to £26,500 or so. That may seem like a lot to pay for a Ford Fiesta, but it’s quite competitive in 2023. Indeed, we reckon it’s decent value considering the generous quantity of standard equipment the Active comes with.

Sadly, Ford will stop making the Fiesta in all its forms in summer 2023. The company has always struggled to make money on this small car, despite its huge sales success, and the Fiesta has become unsustainable at a time when huge sums are being ploughed into development of more aspirational electric cars. So, if you want a new Ford Fiesta Active, you’ll have to get in quick – or else settle for a used example.

At least the Ford Fiesta is going out at the top of its game. Small boot aside, it’s spacious and practical enough for a supermini. It also provides a really good balance between performance and efficiency, looks good inside and out, comes with plenty of features, is really user-friendly, and is just so good to drive. It remains one of the very best superminis you can buy. The Active is all the above, with appealing SUV-style looks and a smooth ride.

Ask Honest John

Fiesta Active Hybrid battery drain issue - is low mileage the cause?

"I have owned a Fiesta hybrid, bought as a pre-reg, since November 2021. It went back to the main dealers in January because the touch sensitive locking stopped working. I was told this was due to the 12V battery being only 50 per cent charged. They recharged the battery and it was OK for a few more months, then I had another issue which was again blamed on low battery. On a third occasion it came back from its first annual service (July) and the stop-start system wasn't working. Again they diagnosed low battery on 12v battery, which was charged and after a return visit they got the stop-start working again. The mechanic at the dealership tells me that the 12V battery is not getting enough charge because the system prioritises putting power into the hybrid system and as a low mileage user I am always going to have this problem. Typical weekly use is a daily trip of four to five miles out and return later, a couple of eight to nine mile journeys at the weekend. Most journeys are in town and the stop-start will probably kick in once or twice. Since November I have clocked up 5,500 miles. Is it really the case that hybrid Fiestas are unsuitable for lower mileage drivers? I have never had battery issues with previous cars (the previous three were all Fords, kept between seven and 10 years) and my driving usage was the same."
There are a number of reports of Ford Fiesta and Focus models suffering from 12V battery drain issues, and it certainly isn't unique to the mild-hybrids. Owners on Ford forums recommend either investing in a battery charger (you attach this to the battery when it isn't in use and it slowly restores charge) or upgrading to the bigger battery used in the diesel Fiesta. While your mileage is low it certainly doesn't sound abnormally low, though, so we would consider contacting Ford again to see if they are aware of the issue more widely.
Answered by Lawrence Allan

Can you recommend a small car that'll cope well with hilly terrain?

"Can you recommend a small automatic car. I have moved to the country and need something that will cope well with the steep hills around my house. I currently drive a 2008 Fiat 500, which doesn't cope well, but I'm so used to a very small car that I don't have the confidence to go much bigger. I'd prefer a used car as I won't put many miles on but the budget is fairly flexible. Thanks."
Try a Ford Fiesta with the punchy 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine. It's a bit bigger than your Fiat 500 but should be more confidence-inspiring. They do a rugged 'Active' model with a raised ride height, which might also be good for your confidence on steep hills.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What's the best small crossover or SUV for a hilly environment?

"I live in rural Wales and need a small-medium car or SUV with decent ground clearance, which can handle potholes, floods and snow. Service and running costs are also a consideration. It'll be my wife's vehicle to work, about 12k miles per year. About £10k available to purchase a suitable vehicle."
Take a look at the Suzuki Vitara. It's a brilliant little crossover SUV that sounds like it'd suit your wife's requirements well. It'll be cheap to run, too. We'd also recommend a Honda HR-V or, if your wife would prefer a hatchback, take a look at the Ford Fiesta Active. It's a Fiesta with an increased ride height which should provide a bit more confidence on rural roads. It might push the budget but there are a few available for less than £10,000.
Answered by Andrew Brady

I want to replace my aging Ford Ka with something reliable, but a bit more robust - what do you suggest?

"I'm looking to change my car in 6-12 months time. I drive a Ford Ka, which I have had since new and it will be six years old this year. I currently drive along a lot of A and B rural roads, so I'm looking for something a bit more robust. However, I'm not sure whether to go down the SUV road or upgrade to a slightly bigger car. Whatever I get will need to be economical and reliable as a priority. Also, I don't have a family to drive around so I'm wondering whether I actually need a very large family car for one person. I would love to have a convertible or something sporty but not sure that's the most practical option. I've got absolutely no idea what to even look at."
How about a Ford Fiesta? It's bigger than your Ka, so will feel more robust, while also being reliable and cheap to run. It's also fun to drive and you could opt for the rugged Active model if you want something a little more SUV-like. Also, consider small crossover SUVs like the new Ford Puma, Peugeot 2008 and Volkswagen T-Cross. These have higher seating positions - which might be good for the kind of driving you do - without being significantly bigger or more expensive to run than a hatchback. As a left-field choice, if you don't need much in the way of practicality, take a look at a Mazda MX-5. They're reliable and cheap to run, while also being sporty and fun to drive.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Ford Fiesta Active cost?