When the new Fiesta launched in 2017, its new interior put criticism of the outgoing model’s button-heavy cabin to rest – so it’s no surprise Ford has stuck with the same layout for the Active model.
The driving position, naturally, is ever so slightly higher than it is in the standard Fiesta, but your feet and arms adopt an almost identical position, and you’d be hard pushed to tell much of a difference between the two cars from behind the wheel. This is a good thing, though, as it means the gearlever is where you instinctively reach for it and feels satisfyingly chunky, the steering wheel sits comfortably in your hands, and the pedal box can accommodate even larger feet.
Interior quality is decent enough. The Volkswagen Polo feels plusher, sure, but in general the Fiesta Active acquits itself well. Unique upholstery patterns help it stand out from the crowd. As is common in the supermini class, lower down in the dashboard there are scratchy plastics, but higher up things are more pleasant, and softer to the touch.
The range starts with the Fiesta Active 1. This includes a leather steering wheel, keyless entry and go, all-round electric windows, 17-inch alloy wheels, silver roof rails and a 6.5-inch version of Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system.
Upgrade to B&O Play spec and you get a punchy B&O Play 10-speaker stereo, anodized yellow trim detailing, a 4.2-inch driver dashboard display, the eight-inch touchscreen, a front armrest, traffic sign recognition, auto-dipping headlights and cruise control – all for around £1,300.
Top-spec Active X cars add power-fold mirrors, heated part-leather seats, an upgraded climate control system, a reversing camera, plus auto lights and wipers. Active X is a further £1,100 or so over B&O Play though, and we can’t help feeling the mind-range car offers most of what you want, without costing too much.
Individual options include an opening panoramic sunroof for £600 (note that this means you lose the roof rails), an adjustable boot floor for £75 (this probably should be standard), pop-out door-edge protectors for £100 (worth having) and a £200 driver assistance package. This last item can’t be added to the Active 1 model, but it’s good value if only because it includes adaptive cruise control.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system may not be the best in the business (Volkswagen offers slicker units, for example) but it still has a lot to recommend it. While it lacks physical shortcut buttons at its left and right edges to easily bring up the radio volume, for example, the central screen hosts large, easy-to-prod icons, and there are physical play/pause and skip buttons at the screen’s base.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included in the Sync 3 system, as is a physical knob for the volume and power – no prodding at a screen for these functions. Helpfully, there’s also a button that turns the screen off without shutting the entire system down – useful if you’re travelling at night and want to avoid screen glare while you listen to the radio.
Do note Active 1 trim gets a 6.5-inch screen and the Sync3 setup, though this does include a DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus you can upgrade to the bigger screen, complete with sat nav, for £300.