The Ford Puma is back, but not as you might expect.
The once-upon-a-time compact coupe is now an SUV, with Ford upsizing the name in modern fashion. Whether or not you agree with Ford’s move is a matter of opinion, but there’s no denying the new model looks good.
The original Puma, manufactured between 1997 and 2002, is something of a modern icon with Ford enthusiasts, and especially the Racing Puma (complete in Imperial Blue), which is arguably Ford’s best ever front-wheel-drive car.
A beauty the Racing Puma was, making Evo’s February 2000 front cover, and proving beyond doubt Ford’s knack for engineering greatness.
The new model? Not so exhilarating, but interesting none-the-less. It has a footprint between the size of a Fiesta and Focus, so it’s diddy. It’s about the same size as the Ecosport but the body is much sleeker and sportier.
The exterior design is also reminiscent of the Puma coupe. You can see inspiration from the original in the headlights, which are a very similar shape. The front end is clearly related, and the profile is too, with the new Puma’s roofline swooping down ever so slightly towards the rear as a nod to the original coupe.
Whereas the original Puma was a three-door compact coupe, the new one is a five-door SUV which means practicality is a strong point. Ford says it has a standard 456-litre boot which is more than the SEAT Arona and Volkswagen T-Cross. It’s also some way bigger than the Focus hatchback’s boot, which has a 370-litre capacity.
The interior will feel familiar if you’ve sat in the new Fiesta or Focus, with the same layout for switchgear, buttons and infotainment. However, the Puma offers upgrades over the Focus in several areas.
For example, there’s a new 12.3” digital instrument display and the option of massaging front seats. That 12.3” digital cluster replaces the analogue dials as found in the Focus and it can be personalised to display a wide range of features.
Adaptive cruise control, high beam assist, blind spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist and traffic sign recognition are all available as standard. ST-Line models are the sportiest with 18” or 19” alloy wheels and a sports styling kit.
In terms of engines, the new Ford Puma SUV is available with the 1.0 EcoBoost from launch. The EcoBoost engine will be available as a standalone unit or with a mild hybrid system which is said to offer class-leading fuel economy. A diesel will be added to the range later – probably the 1.5 TDCi engine found in the Fiesta.