Just arrived in Ireland, the new Ford Puma introduces Ford’s EcoBoost Hybrid 48-volt technology in a compact crossover that by design and function, will please those shopping in this very competitive buying segment.
Mild hybrid assistance to its low-friction, 1.0 litre, three-cylinder, turbo-petrol, adds a lovely injection of torque to the 125bhp on tap low-friction, three-cylinder 1.0‑litre EcoBoost petrol engine to delivering 125 PS.
I can recall the original Puma, the name formerly attached to a feisty 1.4 or 1.7 litre petrol and a delicious Ford Racing Puma version that still warms my soul. That was all of twenty years ago, this latest Puma enters the B- segment compact crossover sector with an offering that is right up there with the established best.
The new Puma provides a drive feel that is instantly positive. Like all high-rise offerings, there is an expected bit of body-roll, but it will be detected by few and will bother none.
My launch test drive allowed me sample the Puma on country and motorway roads. It delivered good feedback information on the road, has a slick manual transmission, which when added to the 125bhp, made for a very enjoyable spin.
An important car for Ford, the Puma ticks a lot of boxes for buyers looking for a compact crossover. Albeit my time with it was short, it showed enough of its character to warrant highly recommending it on your test drive list. Methinks if you decided on placing it in your driveway, you would not be disappointed.
Format: Compact Crossover SUV – 5 door, 5 seats
Trim Levels: Titanium, ST-Line and ST-Line X
Test Model trim: ST-Line X
Engine: 1.0 litre, 3-cylinder petrol turbo mHEV (Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle)
Transmission: 6-speed manual, (7-speed auto later in 2020)
Drive: Front-wheel drive
Tax Band: B1
Annual Road Tax: €270
Boot Space: 456 litres – MegaBox makes up 80 litres
Length: 4207mm (46mm more than Fiesta)
Width: 1805mm (71mm more than Fiesta)
Height: 1537mm (54mm more than Fiesta)
Puma Range starting Price - €24,465
Puma ST Line X model price from: €27,865
Some of the Competition
Nissan Juke, Toyota CH-R, Seat Arona, Volkswagen T-Cross, Citroën C3 Aircross, Opel Mokka X, Honda HR-V, Peugeot 2008, Mazda CX3, Skoda Kamiq
Mild hybrid technology enhances the Puma’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine with an 11.5 kW belt-driven integrated starter/generator (BISG). Replacing the standard alternator, the BISG enables recovery and storage of energy usually lost during braking and coasting to charge a 48‑volt lithium-ion air-cooled battery pack.
The BISG also acts as a motor, integrating with the engine and using the stored energy to provide torque assistance during normal driving and acceleration, as well as running the vehicle’s electrical ancillaries.
Standing slightly taller by 54mm than a Fiesta, the Puma has its own look. My ST-Line X trimmed test car, wore very nice 18” matt black alloys, its front wings with pronounced shoulders, the headlights sitting atop, the honeycomb grill, front air-dam and fog light layout working well together, with its side skirts, rear spoiler and diffuser, delivering a good-looking car.
Supportive partial leather and fabric seats, a chunky leather steering wheel greet me on sitting into the Puma ST-Line X, a very upmarket 12.3” digital console facing me, while the now normal centre console, 8”, sits iPad-like, within easy reach. Chunky switches and good quality materials give the interior a feel-good ambience, the build quality hard to fault. Nice.
On my short launch drive, the Puma accommodated three male adults without too much complaint. Being on the north-side of six feet tall, the rear required me sitting legs apart, but then it is a compact based on the latest Fiesta.
Ford Puma trim choices;
The new Puma comes in three trim levels: Titanium, ST-Line and ST-Line X.
· 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
· Keyless start
· Electronic a/c
· Lumber massage Driver & passenger seats
· Ambient lighting
· Wireless charging
· Cruise control with adjustable speed limiter
· Rear spoiler.
Puma ST-Line adds:
· ST-Line sports body kit
· Large rear spoiler
· Fog lamps with cornering feature
· ST-Line sports exhaust
· 12.3-inch digital cluster
· Dark sports headliner
· Flat-bottom steering wheel
· Alloy pedal and gear knob.
Test car with ST-Line X adds:
· 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
· Shark fin antenna.
Practical Puma gives us MegaBox
There’s little doubt that the Puma’s party piece is the rear space luggage area, where some space of 456 litres await. Folding the rear seats allows for carrying a box measuring 112cm long, 97cm wide and 43cm high.
A new word and a new Ford feature to your motoring lexicon is MegaBox – an effective basement in the Puma boot, where some eighty litres, (764mm wide, 753mm long and 306mm deep) waits for all manner of your outsize cargo, or those muddy boots or sports equipment. Finished with synthetic lining and a drain plug in the bottom, the MegaBox can easily be drained and cleaned thereafter.
The Puma’s boot floor can be adjusted using one hand to suit load requirements, and to hold one of three positions in the cargo area:
A wave of your foot under the bumper triggers the opening of the boot when your hands are otherwise holding shopping or boxes. The boot itself offers levels of flexibility and a very handy method of dealing with the parcel shelf, when it might normally get in the way of loading and unloading. In the Puma the shelf moves in unison with the tailgate and removes the need for side supports, ensuring unhindered access to the rear load area. The flexible luggage cover easily moulds itself around bulky items.
On the Road
Drivers will enjoy the Puma from the first few lengths of their initial drive. It is instantly good, with a driving feel that can often be missing in cars of today. The gearshift and engine combine to deliver another level of tactility, consolidating my initial feeling.
Across rural roads you’d be hard pressed to upset the Puma, its enthusiasm to dispense with bends matched with a composure that is safe and confidence inspiring. Akin to other elevated offerings, the Puma will roll a bit if you bring too much pace into a bend, but keeping it ‘slow in – quick out’ works a treat and contributes to a very enjoyable drive.
Puma should sell in numbers for Ford, the talented competition in its segment demanding you look at them also. The winner is the customer, who never had it so good.
Puma driver assistance technologies include:
|Puma Titanium||5-door||1.0 turbo EcoBoost petrol mHEV 125PS||127g/km||€24,465|
|Puma ST-Line||5-door||1.0 turbo EcoBoost petrol mHEV 125PS||127g/km||€26,065|
|Puma ST-Line X||5-door||1.0 turbo EcoBoost petrol mHEV 125PS||127g/km||€27,865|
Tony Toner is a member of the Association of Professional Motoring Press and a voting juror on Irish Car & Irish Van of the Year.