Depending on what vintage you are, you might recall the Puma name from Ford has indeed already been used. What’s more interesting is the fact that the Puma was nothing like what it is today and designed for a totally different era of motoring. The little compact coupé was a popular choice in the late nineties and when Ford said they were going to revive the badge, we all waited with bated breath. As spy shots began to come out and indeed the world launch took place prior to Covid, we were greeted with not a coupé but more a compact crossover with styling cues including distinctive wing-top mounted headlamps that nodded to its predecessor. Were we disappointed? Well not exactly because Ford was lacking a vehicle to compete in this sector and if the Puma name had to be revived to do it, then who are we to judge? Fast forward a few months and the first batch of Irish cars arrived in. We got our hands on the ST Line X test car and began our weeklong test drive.
Like most Ford offerings the new Puma is avilable in four trim levels: Titanium, ST-Line, ST-Line X and Vignale. Spec for Puma Titanium includes 17-inch machined alloy wheels, projector headlamps with LED day time running lamps, auto high beam, Pre-collision assist with Autonomous Emergency Braking, 8-inch SYNC with Navigation and FordPass Connect modem. This gives all models keyless start electronic a/c, lumber massage driver & passenger seats, ambient lighting, wireless charging, cruise control with adjustable speed limiter and a rear spoiler. There is no base or rather basic model available here in Ireland and the spec only gets better with the ST-Line adding a sports body kit, large rear spoiler, fog lamps with cornering feature, ST-Line sports exhaust, 12.3-inch digital cluster, dark sports headliner and the flat-bottom steering wheel with alloy pedal/gear knob combo. Our test car in ST-Line X trim also featured the 18-inch matt black alloy wheels, SYNC Gen 3 8-inch touchscreen with navigation & B&O premium sound system, partial leather sports trim, privacy glass and that cool shark fin antenna. Vignale has all of the above with different colour combos and luxurious windsor leather seats. It’s a cracking looking vehicle to say the least.
Aside from the standard 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine buyers can opt for Ford’s EcoBoost Hybrid 48-volt technology which seamlessly integrates electric torque assistance with the little three-cylinder 1.0‑litre EcoBoost petrol engine to deliver 125 PS. It’s a brilliant little system that replaces the standard alternator with a new BISG unit to enable recovery and storage of energy usually lost during braking and coasting to charge a 48‑volt battery pack. This in turn acts as a secondary motor to provide torque assistance during normal driving and acceleration, as well as running the vehicle’s electrical ancillaries. If the future requires us all to be thinking Hybrid, then at least Ford have given you that option. A more potent Puma ST powered by a 200PS 1.5‑litre EcoBoost engine delivering hot hatch performance will also be avilable with prices soon to be confirmed.
Like the futuristic Ford Kuga we recently got to spend time with you get advanced driver assistance technologies delivering a simpler and less stressful driving experience. These include Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Speed Sign Recognition and Lane Centering, for effortlessly negotiating highway and stop-start traffic New Local Hazard Information, which can inform the driver of hazardous situations on the road ahead before they become visible to the driver. This is all tech you would expect on much bigger machines but Ford has insured it filters right through the range.
Pricing for the Ford Puma starts at €26,797 for Titanium with the ST-Line starting from €27,865. Vignale kicks off at €28,644 and our test vehicle ST-Line X was priced at €31,665 including optional extras. Prices for the performace ST will be available soon and customers can now choose a Puma equipped with a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Prices vary depending on the trim choice.
Driving the Puma is an absolute pleasure. The 1.0-litre EcoBoost has now won 10 International Engine of the Year awards including overall winner a record three times and now with the hybrid tech it is even better. It pulls great through the rev range and even on the larger 18-inch wheels we found it perfectly compliant on back roads. This isn’t the Puma’s party piece though, with this car it’s all about space. Aside from the large comfortable cabin for both front and rear passengers it’s the boot that will surprise you most. Developed to meet and exceed modern requirements for practical luggage space, the Ford MegaBox provides a deep storage space with a capacity of 80 litres under the regular boot space! Measuring 764mm wide, 753mm long and 306mm deep this storage solution can take golf clubs or even tall houseplants in an upright position. It’s an excellent use of space making the Puma surprisingly practical. Loading the Puma is also simple with hands-free tailgate technology. A simple kick motion under the rear bumper sends the tailgate sky-high solving the challenge of loading when your hands are full. Our week with the Puma was enjoyable to say the least. The Puma might not be the original revamped Ford coupé we were expecting but we are far from disappointed. The compact crossover segment has a new contender and this one is rather good.
Some extras get a little pricey!