All quality, but with a touch of the Warwicks...
Watching Willow star Warwick Davis join chief scout Bear Grylls for one of his televised celebrity survival shows remains some of the best television I’ve ever watched.
While the heart-rending emotional insights delivered by Davis into his family life almost brought a tear to my eye, the plucky actor’s efforts to cross a cavernous gorge on a zip wire had me howling.
He might have been wearing the harness, helmet, ruck sack and hiking boots of a true explorer, but by his own admission, he’s not a natural fit for the outdoors…
There’s a sense that this is also the case with the Fiesta Active X.
It rides 18mm higher than the standard hatchback, features roof rails, plastic wheel arch extensions and side skirts and faux skid plates on the front and rear bumper.
In short, it’s trying to look like its ready to mix-it with the new crossover and SUV crowd.
But with no four-wheel-drive option — rather opting for a traction control setting which allows the front tyres to slip a little more on loose surfaces — it’s not really a proper off-roader.
That’s perhaps not the point, though.
Where the Active X will appeal is for those who want all the familiar quality interior, economy and practicality of the excellent Fiesta hatchback but with a bit more height to make it easier to get into and out of…and also a reduced instance of those wince-inducing moments that you drop off a kerb that might be just a little bit too high.
In that respect, it works.
The Active X’s taller suspension isn’t tall enough to hamper what is a great handling little car.
The Fiesta still turns into corners with aplomb in response to inputs through a chunky, squidgy steering wheel and offers a level of ride polish that is unbefitting of a car at such an affordable end of the market.
I drove the 140PS one-litre Ford Ecoboost engine — complete with a six-speed manual gearbox — and managed to deliver the claimed 46.3 to 48.7mpg fuel economy if I worked to stay out of the three-cylinder unit’s pleasingly thrummy top end.
Work the engine harder and 62mph should arrive in nine seconds on the way to a 125mph top speed.
The Active X is the flagship of an Active line-up which also includes the Active 1 and the stereo-tastic Active B&O Play.
The X is well equipped, with 17-inch alloys, partial leather heated front seats, keyless entry and engine starting, cruise control and an eightinch infotainment system with sat-nav, parking sensors and a reversing camera.
There’s also traffic sign recognition, a semi-autonomous lane keeping system and automatic high beam for the headlights.
In truth, it’s every bit the premiumfeeling small crossover want-to-be.
Small is the operative word though.
At £21,595 in the specification tested here I soon realised that the Fiesta Active X was some way less commodious than the Seat Arona that I recently had on long-term test and questioned from time-to-time for its lack of space as a family vehicle.
That said, the Fiesta beats the Arona hands-down for the amount of standard kit and the sheer quality of its ride and handling.
But be warned, the Active X is probably about as capable in the great outdoors as poor Warwick was.