The new Ford Puma deserves success: innovative, practical, intelligent design, a car with a cheerful, optimistic smily face – this is an excellent start to a new decade.
Almost every week, another SUV or Crossover is released, but this time it’s something slightly different. The likeable new Puma has some tricks of its own and has already won some coveted awards.
Remember the Puma name from an attractive Ford coupe from the mid-’90s? Now the name has been applied to one of the best conceived of the latest crop of SUVs. It is based on the successful Fiesta, which is already available as an Active crossover version, the Puma has been pumped here and there – just a bit longer +95mm, wider +71mm and taller +54mm – to make it a compact SUV. The competition out there is pretty stiff – including the Kia XCeed, Nissan Juke and Skoda Kamiq amongst others – but Ford has done itself proud with this one.
Practicality is the name of the game. With the new Puma, Ford’s design team have added a Megabox to the already best in class boot space. What on earth is a Megabox, you ask? It is to be found below the removable boot floor – a secure waterproof load space, which can actually take two sets of golf clubs standing up in the back of the car.
For those who don’t play golf, a whole bundle of sports equipment could be substituted. A dirty dog could even be washed off in this space and you can drain the muck away with the removable plug. Even better still, go to the beach and fill the Megabox’s shady underfloor spot with ice, bubbly, beer and bbq food. This is just one uniquely practical selling point for the new Puma – but this SUV is a lot more than that.
Available at present in Titanium X and ST-Line X specs, an automatic transmission and the snappily named Puma ST-Line X Vignale are soon to be added to the line-up. The chassis could easily take a more powerful engine and with its fun driving dynamics, did I just dream of an ST model?
Powertrains for the moment are the award-winning 1.0 Litre Ecoboost with 115PS with or without a mild hybrid system, and 155PS mild hybrid, depending on which model you choose, matched to a six-speed transmission with four easily selectable drive modes Eco, Sport, Slippery and Trail.
In the car tested it all makes for an agile, fun-to-drive experience with a 0-62mph time of 8.9 seconds and a top speed of 124mph, these small 1.0-litre engines can still hum along pretty nicely when given the beans, achieving emissions of 101g/km CO2 and 51.4 mpg. The sports suspension did its job very well on mountain roads outside Malaga. The 19” wheels do make the ride a tad harsh. However, for some wanting a more comfy ride, the softer sprung Titanium X would be a better choice with the smaller wheels.
Presenting the new Puma was Amko Leenarts, the Ford of Europe Design Director. His team are genuinely excited about this car. I thought the new colour Desert Island Blue suits the car perfectly. Amko told me he has some more exciting colours on the cards, and none so far look bad on this shapely body. We were treated to a sneak peek of a naturally black Puma in the ST-Line X Vignale spec and it’s a cracker. The front lights and light signatures at the front add to the cheeky look: dynamic, smiley and optimistic are the buzz words.
The highly-specced interior provides a very comfortable driving position and it is still surprisingly roomy in the back. Touch-feely, hardwearing, tactile materials abound with a few carbon-fibre style touches and half leather in the top ST-Line X model.
The 12.3inch digital display can be customised, it is clear and concise and the animations are a refined detail. The eigt inch touch screen in the centre of the car works with Ford’s Sync3 and combined with Apple carplay or Android Auto, and the ten-speaker B&O sound system is excellent. Wireless charging and lumbar massage seats are available on the top of the range models.
Well-equipped as standard, prices start at £20,545 for the Titanium and go up to £25,195 for the ST-Line X. There are many options to top this up including Ford’s winter pack, driver assistance pack, powered tailgate and design pack which brings 19” wheel and a larger rear-spoiler: as always, make sure you choose carefully.
The Puma has its own vibrant style, roomy, fun to drive and economical – Well done, Ford, this one’s a winner.
Car reviewed: Ford Puma ST-Line X 1.0L EcoBoost mHEV 155PS, on the road price £23,645 0-62mph 8.8secs Top speed 124mph Engine 998cc 3-cylinder unleaded EU6.2 Fuel Economy Combined 62.8mpg CO2 emissions 101g/km Max Power 155PS@6000rpm Torque 240Nm@2500rpm Transmission 6-speed manual
The man from Drive.co.uk
After many, many years of being passionate about cars, spending too much money on cars and too much time driving. I now spend my time building and developing Drive.co.uk and creating a bold expressive motoring lifestyle website.
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