2021 Ford Focus Active (car review)

LOOK! Down the road! It’s a hatchback. No, it’s an SUV. Well actually it’s the 2021 Ford Focus Active. We too are stumped when it comes to identifying this stylish all-rounder, but we also reckon versatility doesn’t really need a label.

European styling inspires clean lines and a curvaceous body, delivering sophistication and practicality. This Focus is a sleek package which caters for the everyday and those that demand more ‘Active’ participation.

What makes the Active different from the Focus’ ST line-up, is its styling. Badging, front and rear bumpers, grille, scuff and skid plates, side rocker cladding, twin tailpipes, and a wheel/suspension package delivering a lifted stance (30mm front and 34mm rear).

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They’re all exclusive and all Active. The super bright LED reflector headlamps and LED daytime running lamps, make sure all your journeys are lit too. Adaptive cornering LED fog lamps add to the its sporty yet aggressive front profile.

Ford haven’t neglected the booty either, rear LED taillights and rear halogen fog lamp, complement the body lines beautifully. The Active’s unique 17-inch alloys wrapped in Continental’s EcoContact 6 215/55 tyres complete the overall visual package.

At the same time, they ensure smooth, safe and more economical trips. Now, with an Active lifestyle, don’t expect luxury features. Slide on in, to your comfortable cloth seats, featuring Nordic blue stitching.

A sporty leather wrapped steering wheel and 8.0-inch colour touchscreen are most predominant within the interior, and while it’s basic, it covers all necessities. The Active also features Bluetooth, and satellite navigation, with traffic messaging.

2021 Ford Focus Active
2021 Ford Focus Active

There’s wireless phone charging, and a USB port to hook you up to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, as well as DAB+ digital radio. Whether it’s AC/DC’s Highway to Hell or Willie Nelson’s On the Road Again, the 6-speaker sound system is quite impressive.

Push-to-start on, the optional panoramic sunroof open and The Eagles Greatest Hits queued, and what more could you want. Ford’s SYNC 3 adds voice-activated controls and a WiFi HotSpot to keep the animals, or kids if you prefer to call them that, at bay.

Cabin space is bountiful too, for such a compact car. Front rowers receive two illuminated cup holders, centre console storage and an additional two holders in the doors. For those travelling coach, never fear, as there’s plenty of room in the back too.

Head and leg room are excellent, and more than sufficient for chauffeuring the basketball team. Okay, maybe not the whole team, but a couple of them will fit. You also receive a 12-volt outlet to keep back seat entertainment powered up.

There’s rear door bottle holders for refreshments too. We don’t think it would have hurt the budget to add a few things though, like some rear vents, maybe dual USB ports, or possibly centre cup holders.

Likewise, we’d happily sacrifice some cabin space for an increase in boot room. Unfortunately large luggage, golf clubs or the camping gear may need to find its way onto roof racks in the Focus Active, as the little adventurer has its limitations.

The 2021 Ford Focus Active comes with the FordPass app and an embedded modem too, which lets you pre-check fuel levels, lock/unlock your ride, or even remote start with the last known climate control settings for optimal cabin conditions.

Inside the 2021 Ford Focus Active

On the road the Ford Focus Active is smooth, enjoyable and comfortable. If your trip should happen to feature winding roads, then it’s hear that it’s lineage takes over, to provide precise and effortless cornering.

The elevated height offers greater visibility of the road ahead, and the Active comes with five different drive modes. These include Eco mode, brilliant for those long drives or tighter wallets,  Normal mode and Sport mode.

The latter offers more direct power delivery, while keeping torque distribution similar to Normal. Slippery and Trail mode are the final two, and somewhat self-explanatory, it’s all about throttle reaction and vehicle traction here.

Keep in mind that the Focus Active is still a front-wheel-drive vehicle though, so rugged off-roading adventures are a no go. But the annual snow trip, national park drives, gravel roads or the weekend sporting field parking gauntlet are all more than possible.

With Ford claiming a towing capacity of 1200kg, a trip to the local boat ramp is also in the realm of possibilities, provided you aren’t bringing the Titanic. The Active’s 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine is the powerplant behind this little high achiever.

It’s married to an 8-speed automatic transmission, and the duo works quite well together, with the package delivering 134kW of power and 240Nm of torque. We came close to the claimed combined fuel economy of 6.4-litres/100km too, with 6.7 achieved.

The Ford Focus Active has a great engine note too, which can be enhanced with slight induction modification (insert cheeky wink) to complement it, if you feel inclined to do so.

rear seats
Rear seating in the 2021 Ford Focus Active

The rotary Ford e-shifter takes some getting used to for those accustomed to more traditional gearing, and this is most apparent when under spousal car park pressure. This is just merely a matter of familiarity.

We’re sure you’d overcome it during early stages of ownership (the Focus Active, not the significant other). Rocking a 5-star ANCAP rating, it is not only economical, but you and your family’s safety is a priority.

Without getting too brochure like, some of the Active’s other features include forward collision warning, hill launch assist, speed sign recognition, speed limiter, power child locks, and an optional driver assist package.

This includes blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, active braking and adaptive cruise control with stop/go. Prices start from $34,837 and it come with Ford’s 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty.

There are only the two optional packages, the panoramic roof pack (at $2,000) and the driver assistance pack (at $1,250). Our test vehicle came in Moondust Silver, but you can have yours in Race Red, Frozen White, Agate Black, or Desert Island Blue.

You can also choose Metropolis White, Blue Metallic, Magnetic, Blue Panther or Fantastic Red. Interior wise, what you see is what you get. Nothing some fluffy dice, aftermarket seat covers and checker plate mats can’t fix, if that was your thing.

Whether you’re using it for your daily commute, school drop off or continent exploring, the 2021 Ford Focus Active is a great ‘memory maker’ for whatever the journey may be. Go visit your nearest Ford dealer and be pleasantly surprised.

Cargo space in the 2021 Ford Focus Active

Our test vehicle was provided by Ford Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Focus Active contact your local Ford dealership.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros - huge panoramic roof; comfort; interior space.
Cons - limited options; boot space; no powered seat controls.
Jason Fernandez
Jason Fernandez
Jason Fernandez is a lover of hero cars. He's owned some of the best from the Japanese and Euro performance houses, but JDM cars hold a special place in his heart. To Jason, every vehicle is a blank canvas, just waiting to get its own personality. Well known to the Sydney car scene, Jason has a passion for all things automotive.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> huge panoramic roof; comfort; interior space.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> limited options; boot space; no powered seat controls.2021 Ford Focus Active (car review)