FORD is getting active on the crossover front with pumped up versions of the Fiesta and Ka+ superminis.
SUV-like styling and raised ride heights set the so-called Active models apart - and there are changes inside too.
The Ka+ Active is priced from Â£12,950 becomes the range topper in Ford's value-for-money model line up while the Fiesta Active costs from Â£17,795 which positions it just above Titanium grade trim.
Both get body tweaks such as black mesh grilles, wheel arch protectors and roof rails and in the case of the Fiesta Active there's a reworked suspension set up and three-way drive mode selector which includes a setting for slippery conditions.
And with more than half-an-inch of extra ground clearance it fits the bill as a rugged little car that is good for a bit of the rough stuff.
There are three trim levels in the Fiesta Active range with mid-grade B&O Play coming with an upgraded sound system, Ford's Sync 3 connectivity system and an interior finished off with yellow highlights.
That one costs from £19,195 and the line up tops out from £20,095 for Active X models which lose the snazzy yellow interior but are fully kitted with sat nav, heated front seats and keyless operation among their standard features.
With four versions of Ford's 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine and two 1.5 diesels there is plenty to go at and the range tops out at Â£22,085 for a 120ps diesel that's good for a claimed 64.2mpg.
We've just put a top range Fiesta Active X fitted with a 140ps turbo charged EcoBoost engine through its paces and it is impressive on all fronts.
This is the most powerful engine in the range and as a six-speed manual it's good for 0 to 60 in 9.4 seconds with a top end of 124mph.
The changes to the suspension to accommodate the extra half-an-inch plus ride height and widened track work well and it handles just as sweetly as any other of the new Fiestas. Ford's engineers have also adjusted the steering set up and it remains nicely precise.
All round visibility is good - you can tell you are sitting higher - and the eight-inch touchscreen which sits in the centre of the dash provided easy access to the Sync system.
The drive mode button behind the gear lever gives the car an added dimension with settings for normal and eco motoring as well as the ESC-controlled slippery mode which helps out in poor conditions.
Overall we averaged just shy of 44mpg while officially this version of the Fiesta Active is rated at 54.3 with a CO2 figure of 119g/km.
Little touches such as bespoke kick plates, part leather upholstery and options such as a panoramic roof and metallic paint took the price up to Â£22,190 but that's still competitive in the current crossover scene.
From a practicality perspective the Active model is little different to any other Fiesta which means it's a five-door body with boot space of 311 litres extending to a maximum of 1,301 with the rear seats down.
We also tried out a Ka+ Active fitted with Ford's new 1.2-litre three cylinder petrol engine and mated to a five-speed manual box.
Developing 85ps and with a good amount of torque it is good for 0 to 60 in 13.5 seconds and although it sits higher than the Fiesta - body height is raised by almost an inch to 5ft 2ins - there is little roll when cornering.
Although not as refined as the Fiesta - and this one was some Â£8,000 cheaper at Â£14,325 including options - it makes a fist of the job and comes with a six-inch touchscreen although there is no sat nav included in the Sync system.
Interior space is the same as the regular Ka+ which means boot capacity is just 270 litres but it sits four in comfort. Five adults is a squeeze width-wise but the high roof means headroom throughout is generous and boot space with the rear seats folded is 849 litres.
On our run we averaged 35.2mpg which was a fair way off the official 49.6 to the gallon Ford claims with emissions of 129g/km.
Ford is now offering the Ka+ with its 1.5-litre diesel engine and that is said to be good for 68.9mpg in the Active model although it costs from Â£14,570 - some Â£1,620 more than the petrol model.
Although the Active models are not full-blown SUVs they do look the part offer plenty of flexibility and soon they will be joined by a Focus Active to bolster the brand's appeal further alongside the more traditional SUV offerings of the EcoSport, Kuga and the Edge.