Truth be told, I've never been a massive advocate for crossovers or SUVs. There's a number of reasons for this, but they ultimately boil down to my unhealthy obsession with performance orientated vehicles; a circle rarely occupied by elevated family cars.
However, when Evans Halshaw Ford in Lincoln offered to throw me the keys to a new Ford Focus Active X for the week, I thought it represented an excellent opportunity to see if my outlook could be changed. I do consider myself an open-minded person, after all.
If you didn't know already, the 'Active' range is a new line from Ford that is aimed at customers with a more - yep, you guessed it - active lifestyle. In essence, you get more ground clearance, chunkier tyres and some additional driving modes that optimise grip on challenging road surfaces.
Reflecting on a week gone by
Just like that, the week with the car was over. And I have to say, I handed the keys back with a degree of sadness. This was, after all, an excellent car that had taken me on a couple of brilliant adventures in the space of seven days.
Ford have proven to me that you can have great deals of space, bags of equipment and reasonable running costs (I averaged 44mpg over 600 miles) in a crossover without completely butchering any hint of driving enjoyment.
Spending a week in a very good crossover, such as the Active X, also made me realise that these cars make a lot more sense than I originally anticipated. Britain's roads aren't exactly great, so having more ground clearance and tyres with larger sidewalls really helped soak up the imperfections in the roads. I really did admire the Active X's go-anywhere within reason attitude; it is a car you would never wince about getting mucky on a family staycation. Test drive one, I guarantee you won't be disappointed.