Ford’s reinvented its Puma for the 2020s, with a stylish new crossover that offers clever storage solutions and technology in a compact package. But is it good enough to rival the best in the small SUV class?
- One of the best crossovers to drive
- Efficient petrol engines
- Clever boot
- No diesel versions available
- Looks will divide opinion
- Rivals have more space in the rear seats
Crossovers are big business for most manufacturers, and Ford is no exception. Its Ecosport and Kuga are two of the most popular cars in this class, and regularly appear in the charts for Britain’s most popular new car.
It’s no surprise then that Ford wants to expand its offering, and its latest is the new Puma. This nameplate featured on a Fiesta-based coupe in the late 1990s, and has returned just over 20 years later to appear on Ford’s new crossover. It’s a sign of how buyers’ tastes have changed – they now want more high-riding models than ever.
This is a new model for Ford, and that’s reflected in the technology on offer. For starters, there’s the new mild-hybrid petrol engine, which is standard on manual Pumas. Expect these powertrains to feature on the Fiesta and Focus shortly, too. The Puma is brimming with the latest technology – including large 12.3-inch digital dials and adaptive cruise control, to name but a few features.
But practicality hasn’t been forgotten – the Puma features under-boot floor storage solution known as a ‘MegaBox’. It’s essentially a hard plastic tub that can store muddy boots, and also features a plug so that it can be washed out. It might be a simple solution, but it’s one other manufacturers have never thought of.
Compact crossovers aren’t known for being fun to drive – in fact they’re usually much less enjoyable than a similarly-sized supermini. But we had high hopes for the Puma – after all, it’s based on the Fiesta, one of the best cars in its class to drive.
And the Puma doesn’t disappoint. It’s genuinely a lot of fun and is surprisingly playful and eager for a high-riding model. The steering is sharp and provides plenty of feedback, meaning the Puma copes rather well on a spirited drive. This sportier stance makes it quite firm though, so it’s worth choosing the smallest 17-inch alloys for maximum ride comfort.
Looks and image
Ford isn’t known for being especially bold with its designs, but this Puma is a distinctive car. It’s hard to stand out visually in the crossover market, but the Puma succeeds.
With its large grille, sportier styling and intricate LED lights, the Puma certainly has more character than we’re used to from Ford. Its looks might divide opinion, though.
Jump in the cabin and aside from the digital dials, the interior of the Puma is much the same as the Fiesta. That’s no bad thing, as it means you get a smart and clutter-free layout, along with a high-positioned touchscreen that can be seen easily without taking your eyes off the road.
Key to the spaciousness on the Puma is the MegaBox mentioned above. This allows for an impressive 456 litres of boot space, much more than the 311 litres you get in the Fiesta. As well as being roomy, it’s the versatility that impresses – allowing you to have tall plants and golf clubs stood upright in the boot with the floor removed.
Rear space is rather average, but all but the tallest adults should be able to get comfortable, and there’s plenty of room if you intend to use the Puma as a small family car.
Engines and running costs
With no diesel engines to choose from, the Puma is only available with various turbocharged petrol units.
Versions with a six-speed manual transmission come as standard with the mild-hybrid technology. This mates a turbocharged 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine with an 11.5kW belt-driven integrated starter/generator (BISG). This system can recuperate energy while the car is braking and coasting, storing it in a 48-volt battery to then provide extra assistance to the engine – helping to make the Puma both more responsive and cheaper to run.
You can choose this powertrain with outputs of either 123bhp or 153bhp, which enable the Puma to reach 0-60mph in 9.6 seconds and 8.7 seconds respectively. Both return the same efficiency figures – a claimed 50.4mpg, with CO2 emissions of 127g/km.
If you want an automatic model, a seven-speed ‘box is available on Pumas with the 123bhp 1.0-litre petrol, though it doesn’t come with the mild-hybrid system. With this engine, it can hit 60mph in 10 seconds, and will return a claimed 46.3mpg, with CO2 emissions of 138g/km.
- 1.0-litre petrol mild-hybrid manual (123bhp)
- 1.0-litre petrol mild-hybrid manual (153bhp)
- 1.0-litre petrol automatic (123bhp)]
- Nissan Juke – from £17,440
- Renault Captur – from £18,295
- Skoda Kamiq – from £18,295
- Seat Arona – from £18,330
- Fiat 500X – from £18,895
- Peugeot 2008 – from £20,190
- Volkswagen T-Roc – from £21,440
Four trim levels are available on the Ford Puma, with equipment highlights and pricing as follows.
Titanium – from £21,640
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- Projector headlights
- LED rear lights
- Electrically folding mirrors
- Cruise control
- Wireless charging pad
- Automatic climate control
- Eight-inch touchscreen
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Rear parking sensors
- Heated windscreen
- Massaging front seats
- Autonomous emergency braking
ST-Line – from £22,590 (in addition to Titanium)
- Revised 17-inch alloy wheels
- ST-Line bodykit
- Flat-bottomed steering wheel
- Sports pedals
- 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
ST-Line X – from £23,690 (in addition to ST-Line)
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- Part leather seats
- Privacy glass
- Satellite navigation
- B&O sound system
ST-Line X Vignale – from £25,240 (in addition to ST-Line)
- Revised 18-inch alloy wheels
- LED headlights
- Vignale styling kit (additional chrome)
- Leather upholstery
- Heated front seats
- Keyless entry
- Front parking sensors
- Heated steering wheel
- Perforated leather steering wheel
Search for used Ford Pumas here.