We should declare an interest here as this writer once owned a Ford Puma – the late Nineties Fiesta-based coupe Puma. It was by far and away the most fun of the 20 or so cars I’ve owned and I’d love to have another – if I can find one that isn’t a rusting hulk.
Ford doesn’t reference that brilliant little coupe in the press release for this new Puma, reformatted as a Nissan Juke/Toyota CH-R-rivalling small crossover. But Ford must have been aware that the spectre of its namesake would be hanging over it and have imbued the styling with a certain amount of the original’s athleticism.
But let’s not dwell on the past – what exactly do we have here?
Ford is going straight for the jugular with the Puma, as there is a massive amount of tech packed in.
It’s starts with mild-hybrid powertrains, based on the excellent 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine with a 48-volt start/generator to give a bit more power and improve fuel economy and emissions. 125hp and 155hp versions will be available from launch – a 1.5-litre diesel will be added later.
Then there are the multitudinous driver assistance systems. Adaptive cruise control that deals with throttle and brakes even in stop-start traffic. Road Edge Detection that stops you driving off the edge of the road. Evasive Steering Assist, that assists evasive manoeuvres. Wrong Way Alert that stops you going the wrong way on a motorway. A 180-degree rear-view camera. Local Hazard Informational that works with the HERE system to warn drivers about local hazards. And so on, and so on, and so on, and so on….
Infotainment isn’t lacking either, with a big touchscreen display on the dashboard and an optional 12.3in digital instrument panel. Many functions and apps are available, and the instrument panel can be configured in many different ways. A thumping 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo, panoramic roof and massaging seats are on the options list, as well.
There’s a choice between sporty ST-Line and upmarket Titanium trims. ST-Line comes with 18in wheels as standard – 19s are optional – and Titanium gets 17s.
Ford is also rather proud of the Puma’s boot, which a cavernous capacity of 456 litres. It also features what Ford calls a MegaBox under the boot floor, a large multi-function box that adds a vast amount of extra space and allows tall items to carried upright.
“We believe Puma is going to really resonate with drivers in Europe,” For of Europe boss Stuart Rowley said. “We’ve gone to every length to give customers the flexibility they want, and the best-looking car they’ve ever owned.”
Ford has yet to announce when the new Puma will go on sale or how much it’ll cost. Whatever the price, we suspect the Romanian factory won’t be able to build them fast enough.
By Graham King