What is the Ford Focus Active, Get the Honda HR-V Manual Now and Harry Potter? [Ask Nathan]

  • What is the Ford Focus Active?
  • Get the Honda HR-V manual while you can!
  • What car would Harry Potter own?

The upcoming Ford Focus Active crossover wagon – [Photo: Ford]

The first question comes from a question on Twitter (@Nathanadlen) about the upcoming Ford Focus Active crossover.

(Via Twitter@NathanAdlen) So, Ford kills their cars but keeps the Ford Focus? What is this lifted (Ford Focus Active) car they are bringing here? Is it like the Toyota C-HR? I hope not!


These photos are not the U.S.-spec Ford Focus Active crossover wagon – [Photo: Ford]

A: Greetings!

It’s a little early for technical bits as nothing has been officially released about the U.S. version of the vehicle. Still, there are a few details that we know for sure and others that are pretty logical. The Ford Focus Active will, for the most part, be a lifted (about 1.2-inches) Ford Focus.

It should compete directly with the Subaru Crosstrek, Mazda CX-3 and Jeep Renegade in terms of size and pricing. Ford does have the new EcoSport in that same class, but it’s a much taller vehicle that will (probably) be less sporty to drive than the upcoming Ford Focus Active.

We all know how solid and capable the old Focus platform was, along with its shortcomings (namely, interior space), but making it more road-savvy than off-road tuff makes sense considering their new batch of off-road vehicles slated to debut soon.

We expect either the EcoBoost 1.5-liter three-cylinder or naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder to show up with an eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s doubtful that a manual transmission will show up, but if it did, it might be on the front-wheel drive (FWD) base model version. We expect a version of the all-wheel drive (AWD) active, on-demand system used in the Focus RS to make an appearance in the Ford Focus Active. If that’s the case, the advanced AWD system may be able to send up to 100% of the engine power to the rear wheels if needed.

Among the newest Ford tech, including SYNC 3 and improved infotainment, we expect:

    • Ford’s Adaptive Front Lighting System with new camera-based Predictive curve light and Sign-based light that pre-adjust headlamp patterns for improved visibility by monitoring bends in the road and – for the first time in the industry – road signs
    • Active Park Assist 2 that now also operates gear selection, acceleration and braking to enable fully-automated manoeuvres at the push of a button
    • Ford’s first Head-up display (HUD) to be offered in Europe, helping drivers focus their attention on the road ahead
    • Evasive Steering Assist, a segment-first technology that helps drivers steer around stopped or slower vehicles to help avoid collisions

– – Ford

I’m excited about the possibilities because, one of the better cars in this segment, the Subaru Crosstrek, has poor power and poor public awareness about its abilities. Ford is on top of it by comparison and the idea of having real power in a vehicle like this is very appealing.

We should know more soon!


Watch us review and take the Ford EcoSport off-road!



2016 Honda HR-VThe next question comes from a Honda fan who wants a vehicle that does what the Honda Fit does – with more horsepower.

Hi Roman and Nathan!  

I like Hondas a lot, but I am not a big fan of the Civic. I was thinking about replacing my 2010 Honda Fit with something else with a manual transmission. I’ll probably get a new Fit, but I wanted to know if you had other suggestions. The Accord is too expensive and I can’t stand a CVT like the one in the HR-V.

Owen S

Sparks, NV

A: Howdy! 

I highly recommend looking at the 2018 Honda HR-V again.  Currently, there is a base version that’s front-wheel drive (FWD) and has a six-speed manual transmission. It’s very peppy and it has a similar utilitarian interior setup as the Honda Fit.

They start at about $20,000. It’s a great little car, but you better hurry! The 2018 models are going away and the 2019 models will not offer a manual transmission.

Good luck!


And now for something…

Photo: Warner Brothers
    • The last question comes from Twitter (@Nathanadlen) wondering which vehicle I think Harry Potter would drive.
Natemonster! Big TFL and Harry Potter fan! 
If you could choose and if he was a real person, what car would you choose for Harry Potter? You rock!
King Henry
Ron’s family car was a late 50/60s Ford Anglia 105E Deluxe – [Photo: Warner Brothers]

A: Greetings your Majesty, and thanks for being a fan!

Even though I am a fan of the books and films, I was at a loss. I couldn’t answer your question with any certainty. Then it hit me: a Mini Clubman. 

Yes indeed, Harry Potter would drive the new Clubman.

… Then my teen reminded me that he is now old (like me) and needed a more family-friendly car for all of his kids and owls.

Yes indeed, Harry Potter would drive a Jaguar E-Pace – because, British.


Speaking the Jaguar E-Pace!

Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: asknathan@tflcar.com.