New Ford Focus Active Versus Subaru Crosstrek Because High-Riding Hatchbacks Matter

As expected, Ford has applied the Active treatment to the all-new Focus and the world has gained a new pseudo-offroad hatchback.

People are going crazy for crossovers and the trend shows no signs of going soft anytime soon, leading manufacturers to breed new species of cars that have that adventurous off road-y style.

But the new Ford Focus Active isn’t the only member of this niche segment; in fact the more adventurous version of the compact Ford joins Subaru’s Crosstrek, which is already in its second generation.

At this point, it’s worth saying that Ford has not yet confirmed which bodystyles will come to North America when sales start in the second half of 2019, but something tells us that the Active should be one of them.

Ford hasn’t shared any specific information on the Focus Active other than it rides 30mm higher than the standard hatch, so we don’t know yet what engines it will use or whether it’ll power all four wheels. Chances are though that it will be offered only with front-wheel drive, just like its smaller sibling, the Fiesta Active.

If that’s the case, then the AWD-only Subaru Crosstrek enters this comparison with a major advantage, at least for those who must have the added grip. On the other hand, the Ford Focus Active will offer more engine options and cutting-edge technologies.


Visually, both models make pretty clear their off-road intentions with their plastic cladding, the increased ride height and a set of bigger alloy wheels.


The Subaru Crosstrek adopts a more square and rugged stance whereas the new Ford Focus Active appears to be more curvy and with slightly cleaner lines.


At the front, the two crossover hatches proudly wear their corporate grilles, with the Ford featuring the latest hexagonal mouth and the Subaru keeping things more conservative.


Open the door and the Subaru greets you with a sober and serious design while the Ford’s dashboard appears to feature more modern switchgear and upholstery options but that infotainment display that looks like a glued tablet will not please everyone.

Which one is your favorite? Cast your vote below.

  • Autoexperte

    more luxury but the same format: Volvo V40 Cross Country, Mercedes GLA, Lexus UX, Infiniti QX30

  • Blinka Bot

    There’s no match to the Subaru AWD System

    • Hot Twink

      If Ford offers the Focus Active with GKN’s Twinster all-wheel drive system (which is in the performance Focus RS) then yes, it would be matched. Even better than.

      The Crosstrek has open (non-limited-slip, and non-locking) front and rear differentials. They are controlled via ABS-based traction control.

      Twinster has twin multi-disc clutch packs on either side of the rear ring-and-pinion gearset, which allows it to torque-vector supplied torque between the rear wheels.

  • carlbolt

    This segment is not new, remember the Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix?

  • Adilos Nave

    I’ll take the one without a CVT.

  • Steve Cohn

    I recently drove my son’s new CrossTrek; much improved CVT over the older one he previously had.

  • Bo Hanan

    Curious- why do people hate CVT’s?

    • Miknik

      Because it’s fashion “on car related pages” and 95% of internet haters have probably never driven a CVT?

      • nellydesign

        Or, because like me, they actually drove one, or several, and hated them. They have a constant drone and feel lazy and slow to drive. Imagine hitting the gas, hearing the revs rise and then having them stop rising and continue at that same speed and pitch until you ease off the gas.

  • Paul

    I would take the Subaru because you know it’s AWD system will hold up and do what it is supposed to do.

  • Knuckles Mutatis

    I’d take the Focus.

  • rover10

    The Subaru is so agricultural compared with the Focus. I guess country folk will chose the Subaru, due to its established reputation. The Focus will have to find new customers and build a reputation, which should not be a big issue.

  • nellydesign

    Great example for those who hate the exposed tablet look to interiors. Look at each interior pictured here and tell me which one looks lighter and more open. Now you know why many of them have gone that way. The bigger the screen, the bigger you have to make any surfaces that surround it. And the screen needs to be at eye level, which means they end up being housed in huge instrument panels. The Ford here has an exposed screen which some people hate, but it also has a nice thin IP and therefore makes the interior feel much more spacious.

  • Fabián Montiel

    Damn, both look so similar, but I’ll take the Subie ’cause AWD snow donuts.

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