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Ford Puma (2019 - )

Ford’s Puma takes your typical family hatchback and adds a bigger body to make an SUV – but does its more imposing size make it more memorable or forgettable?

Starting price:
The model tested was £23,655

Why we love it:
  • Big boot, given its small size
  • Well-equipped
  • Lots of fun to drive
Where it could be better:
  • Bland interior
  • Rivals have more rear space
  • Not as comfortable as some competitors
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Introduction

Ford Puma (2022 - )

In the olden days, if you wanted a small family car, you’d buy something like a Volkswagen Golf or a Ford Fiesta. Y’know? A hatchback.

But those days are gone. Nowadays, everyone wants a slice of the 4x4 action – and that’s seen SUVs appear on the production lines of just about every manufacturer.

So, if you want a Ford Fiesta that’s also an SUV, the Ford Puma could be perfect.

It’s based on the same platform as the Fiesta, and its taller stance and raised driving position tick the SUV box. This design puts it on a collision course (hopefully not literally) with the likes of the Volkswagen T-Cross and the Renault Captur.

The Puma comes in various trims – and even entry-level is very well equipped.

Titanium gets 17-inch part-black alloys, projector headlamps, LED day-running lights and taillights. It also has power-folding heated door mirrors, a heated windscreen, a rear spoiler, and a 4.2-inch digital instrument cluster. Then there’s the eight-inch touchscreen with SatNav, a DAB radio, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. If that’s not enough, you get a power start button, climate control, driver’s lumbar adjustment, automatic headlights, automatic high beam, rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors and various safety features.

ST-Line gets much the same with sport suspension, a larger spoiler, sportier body styling and a bigger 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.

ST-Line X gets 18-inch rims, a Bang & Olufsen premium audio system with four extra speakers and a subwoofer, two USB ports, a wireless phone charger, front passenger lumbar support and a massage seat.

ST-Line X Gold Edition adds gold wheels, grey paint with racing stripes, heated front seats and steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera and adaptive cruise control.

ST-Line Vignale gets LED signature headlamps, front fog lamps, a logo projection on the door mirrors, rear privacy glass, silver Vignale styling on the body kit, premium upholstery and massage front driver and passenger seat.

ST gets 19-inch wheels, a more aggressive body kit, a black roof, larger door mirrors, front splitter, red brake callipers, ST suspension, performance seats with red stitching and more adjustment in the front seats.

In terms of engines, they’re primarily all 1.0-litre petrols producing mostly 125 or 155PS. They’re available with seven-speed automatics and six-speed manuals, although not all combinations are available on all trims.

The exception is the top-of-the-range ST, which gets a 1.5-litre engine with 200PS connected to a six-speed manual.

All are three-cylinder, front-wheel drive, and come with mild-hybrid technology except for the ST.
 

On The Road

Ford Puma (2022 - )

Performance

We took the ST-Line X for a spin with the more powerful 155PS engine and a six-speed manual, which gets from 0-62mph in 8.9-seconds, topping out at 124mph.

This trim is not available with the seven-speed automatic (it is in some higher trims). Only the lower-powered 125PS engine gets a choice of both transmissions. But thankfully, the manual shifts very smoothly, helped by the sharp responsiveness from the accelerator pedal.

The higher-powered engine is fun to drive, with a decent amount of torque at low revs, so accelerating away off the line feels good. In all honesty, though, it’s probably overkill for most situations.

The 125PS engine is more than adequate, so if you're mainly going to be driving in stop-start traffic, doing the school run or popping to the shops, it'll suffice.

Both engines have several driving modes, and putting it into 'Sport' gives it an extra shove of encouragement.
 

Ford Puma (2022 - )

Ride Handling

Around town, the steering feels light and effortless, tightening up at higher speeds so you can tackle twistier backroads with a smile on your face.

The sharp handling in the ST-Line models makes it a class leader in terms of having fun, feeling agile, with plenty of grip, and the body lean in the corners feels well controlled.

We've previously driven the Titanium version, and if ride comfort is a priority, then you're best off sticking with that. While the sporty looks of the ST-Line are more appealing, the sports suspension makes the ride noticeably firmer.

As you might expect, the suspension means it’s not quite as comfortable elsewhere as its rivals when driving around town or on motorways.
 

Ford Puma (2022 - )

Styling

The Puma’s friendly-faced looks are also stylish and athletic, especially on the ST-Line and ST trim.

Titanium has a more modest front end, while the lower grille is more prominent on the ST-Line and ST models, with a side skirt and moulded sides featuring on all models.

The rear is pretty plain by comparison, although the ST adds some angular bodywork by the rear fog lights, making it a bit shapelier.

Regardless, it balances excellently between being cutesy and appealing while maintaining a sporty and aggressive stance, which is not an easy blend to pull off.
 

In The Car

Ford Puma (2022 - )

Behind the Wheel

Sadly, the interior lets the Puma down. While its exterior looks fresh and stylish, the inside seems a tad dated already.

It’s largely a dark and dreary affair, and although there are silver bits of trim on the steering wheel and dotted around the cabin, they're not prominent enough to make up for the black colour scheme.

The infotainment screen sits on the dashboard like an afterthought. Indeed, the thick surround looks anything but modern, although the system itself is clear and responsive.

The visibility is pretty good out of the front as the pillars have been kept as thin as possible. However, the rear visibility is restricted by the tininess of the back windscreen and the angled roofline, which results in thicker rear pillars.

Although the driving position is higher than in a conventional hatchback, it's not as off-the-ground as some competitors like the Skoda Kamiq. So that’s worth considering if you want a more commanding vista.
 


 

Ford Puma (2022 - )

Space & Practicality

The front seats are comfortable and relatively spacious, and all models get driver lumbar support.

There’s plenty of adjustment in the seats and steering wheel, too, to easily find a comfortable driving position.

The rear isn’t quite as generous, although you can fit a couple of adults in the back with reasonable comfort. But the sloping roofline will make it awkward for taller passengers.

You also get Isofix anchor points in the two outer rear seats.

The storage in the cabin isn't overly generous. Still, there's a limited amount of room in the door bins, the glove compartment is reasonably sized, and there’s enough space for two cups in the centre console. Plus, you get an average-sized cubby beneath the armrest.

The boot space is pretty good, measuring 456 litres. That’s more extensive than some of the Puma’s adversaries. Moreover, it expands to 1,216 litres with the rear seats down.

You also get an additional 68 litres, thanks to Ford's Megabox. This waterproof drainable container lives underneath the boot floor. So, if the kids have changed out of their soaked clothes at the end of football practice, you can place them in the Megabox out of harm's way from everything else.
 

Ownership

Ford Puma (2022 - )

Running Costs

Economy figures depend on the engine and gearbox you choose. But you can expect between 47.9 and 52.3mpg and 122 and 134g/km of CO2, with the manuals outperforming the automatics.

Only the more powerful ST performs worse at 41.5mpg and 155g/km of CO2.

You should be able to get a full service for around £200, although Ford offers its own servicing plans.
 

Ford Puma (2022 - )

Quality & Reliability

The current Puma certainly feels well-built, and although it's only been on sale for a handful of years, it's rated as above average compared with the rest of Ford's line-up.

So, this could indicate the brand is turning a corner, as, historically, Ford isn’t famed for its reliability.

You get a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty as standard, but you can pay extra to extend this to four or five years.
 

Ford Puma (2022 - )

Safety & Security

Crash-testing body Euro NCAP awarded the Puma a five-star rating in 2019. The Ford notched up 94 per cent for adult occupants, 84 per cent for child passengers and 74 per cent for safety assists.

All models get rear parking sensors, pre-collision assist with autonomous emergency braking, pedestrian/cyclist detection and post-collision braking, cruise control with intelligent speed assist, lane-keeping aid and lane departure warning.

ST-Line X and above get front and rear parking sensors.

ST-Line X Gold Edition also gets exclusive tech, including a rear-view camera, intelligent adaptive cruise control, radar-based blind spot information system (BLIS) with cross-traffic alert (CTA), and active braking and active park assist.
 

Summary

Ford Puma (2022 - )

The Ford Puma is a likeable car that makes driving enjoyable in a modest, unassuming way.

Sharp handling and well-refined engines make it a decent contender. And, in terms of practicality, it's a match for most of its foes, although some offer more rear-seat space.

The Puma has so much going for it, but it's a shame it's let down by a bland interior that needs an overhaul.

Nevertheless, it’s quirky, cute, and good-looking with a decent amount of sportiness.

So, if having fun while driving is essential to you, there's little reason to look elsewhere.
 

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By Tim Barnes-Clay
Jul 14, 2022

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