Ford has announced plans to launch a high-riding version of its latest Focus hatchback, to be known as the Active, in Australia early-to-mid 2019. It’s a first for the Ford Focus range, and it mimics the offroad-esque chops of cars like the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, Subaru’s XV and even the unusual Infiniti QX30.
Overseas, Ford has Active variants of a number of models, including the recently retired Fiesta. Ford says the Focus Active makes the most sense for Australia.
“The Ford Focus Active is a strong addition to the line-up, and a great addition to the active lives of Australians,” said new Ford Australia boss, New Zealand-born Kay Hart.
Read more: 2019 Ford Focus pricing and features
Sourced from Germany, the Ford Focus Active sits 34mm higher off the ground than a regular Focus hatch. Ford has added a couple of extra settings to its drive mode system to cope with less ideal conditions. These include Slippery Mode for ice and snow and a Trail Mode for softer surfaces like sand and dirt.
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There’s also a pair of skid plates under the nose and tail, as well as the obligatory black plastic overarches that complement bespoke front and rear bumpers for the Active.
That’s where the off-road leanings end, though. The Active is a front-drive proposition only, and is powered by the same 134kW 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine as the rest of the all-new Ford Focus line-up.
There’s only one gearbox on offer, and that’s an eight-speed torque-converting automatic.
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The Ford Focus Active has plenty of standard kit, including 17-inch rims, satnav, smart phone mirroring, dual-zone air, Ford’s clever MyKey programmable keyless entry system, ISOFIX baby seat mounts, and auto lights and wipers.
If you want 18-inch alloy wheels, LED foglights, tinted glass and adaptive headlights, you’ll need to find an extra $1800. There’s also a panoramic roof option for $2000 and self-parking for another grand.
The Active’s standard safety kit is strong, with pedestrian- and cyclist-detecting AEB standard, along with lane departure warning and a 180-degree view rear camera. Spend $1250 more and you’ll get stop-and-go adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning with rear-cross traffic alert and lane-centring steering.
At $29,990 (before on roads), the Ford Focus Active will drop right into the middle of the new Focus line-up, which comprises the $25,990 entry level Trend, $28,990 ST-Line and $30,990 ST-Line wagon, and the range-topping Titanium at $34,490.