The Ford Puma was a lovely little coupé that Ford produced between 1997 and 2002. It was actually built over in Cologne, Germany, and it quickly developed a following thanks to its extremely lightweight structure (1,039 kilograms) and rev-happy engines. The pick of the bunch was the 1.7 litre model with 153 horsepower. It might not seem like much but it was enough to get the agile little sports car from 0-60 in 7.9 seconds, which was on par with hot hatches of the time.
Despite a pretty good sales record, the model was ditched as Ford focussed their efforts on their hatchbacks, however, the cult status lived on and to this day you’ll find countless events up and down the country where owners race their beloved Pumas.
Now though, times have changed. Last week Ford announced that the Puma nametag will be making a return to their model lineup, but not as a sports car, instead, as a small crossover. While the old model offered raw, unfiltered pleasures, this new car boasts some extremely advanced technology to make day to day driving as effortless as possible.
The new Puma will come with features such as adaptive cruise control, where the car will break from it’s cruising speed when a car pulls in front, then accelerate back up to pace once the road is clear. The Puma will also use an extremely advanced 1.0-litre Ecoboosted hybrid engine that will improve performance, economy and the Puma’s playful character. This unit will push out 153 horsepower, which is interesting the same power as the top-performing coupe did twenty years ago.
There will also be a 125 PS model available which will be the most economical model on sale upon introduction. This also uses a 1.0-litre hybrid engine and should reliably return up to a claimed 52 mpg on the combined cycle.
Inside, the Puma will be purpose-built for family use. Accordingly, the boot is absolutely massive. A whole 456 litres of luggage capacity is on offer with the rear row of seats in place, and from photos, it appears that the roofline of the boot will be dog-friendly. In fact, Ford has stated that the intuitive flexibility of the rear luggage space will make the Puma best-in-class for uncompromised load space. The Puma will also be the first car in its class to offer an electrically operated tailgate - even better for dog owners!
The new Puma will be produced in Ford’s Craiova Assembly Plant, Romania, which has benefitted from €1.5billion worth of investment since 2008. The Puma will go on sale at the end of the year. There’s no indication of pricing just yet, so you’ll have to keep an eye out for that news as it comes.
So, what do you think? Are you looking forward to the return of the Puma? Let us know in the comments section below.