New Ford Puma ST shorn of disguise: a hot hatch on stilts?

Published: 14 May 2020

► New Ford Puma ST spied
► Plus the rest of the Puma range
► Mild-hybrids, on sale now

Have we all adjusted to the new Ford Puma yet? For readers of a certain age the Puma nameplate meant a compact, front-wheel drive sports car. Not so now. Repurposed on behalf of the SUV movement, the big cat may still be based on a Ford Fiesta platform, yet it’s wider, taller and absolutely not a sports car. However, that doesn't mean it won't get an ST version.

Our spies have caught the new Ford Puma ST stepping out shorn of all disguise near its German development base, as engineers fettle hot hatch innards in its taller, crossover bodyshell.

It follows earlier teaser photos of the ST across the Blue Oval's social channels (see below). Turn your brightness up a little and it's possible to see a the outline of a slightly more aggressive-looking Puma. Thankfully, our spy pictures in the gallery above mean you no longer have to guess.

Ford Puma ST shadowy teaser photo

Although the ST hasn't been unveiled yet, the smart money's on a slightly more dynamic ride, sharper handling – and probably the same three-cylinder, 197bhp powertrain borrowed from its fizzy Fiesta ST sibling.

Note also the hot-hatch Fiesta-spec larger alloy wheels, engorged brakes and twin exhaust pipes. It won't be long until we see the Puma ST for real - stay tuned for the official launch.

Read our full review of the new Ford Puma here

Ford Puma: the rest of the crossover range

The new Ford Puma has become a firm favourite of the junior crossover segment, beating the Peugeot 2008, VW T-Cross and Nissan Juke in our recent Giant Test. 

The Ford Puma is no longer a coupe; now it's a baby SUV

How often do we bemoan B-segment SUVs for looking too similar to other smaller or larger cars in the range? Very often is the answer. And now Ford has come along and actually built something that really does stand out we can’t very well say it’s got a face like one of those rubber alien masks, can we? Be sure to sound off in the comments below. 

What about the Puma's mild hybrid engines? 

Available with either 123bhp or 153bhp, the Puma’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol mild hybrid units (catchily named EcoBoost Hybrid) use an 11.5kW integrated starter/generator (BISG) in place of a regular alternator. This recovers and stores energy from braking or coasting and stores it in a 48-volt lithium battery back, as well as acting as a motor on its own. 

The upshot is that the system provides extra torque (from the electric motor), all the while keeping efficiency in check by not working the engine any harder. What’s more, the start-stop technology now activates at speeds up to 10mph, while Ford has also been able to lower the engine’s compression ratio and add a larger turbo, thanks to the BISG’s ability to mitigate turbo lag by using the electric motor. 

A hot Ford Puma ST is tipped, but no official confirmation yet

Other engines include 95bhp and 125bhp non-mild-hybrid petrols plus a 1.5-litre 120bhp diesel due after launch. A seven-speed DCT automatic version of the regular 125bhp is due in 2020, while Ford is also looking into pairing this with the hybrid powertrain. 

CAR lives with a Ford Fiesta ST hot hatch 

And the interior?

It’s pretty much the same as the Fiesta's, albeit with a slightly higher driving position and Ford’s all-new 12.3-inch digital dashboard display.

Ford Puma SUV interior

There’s also the usual plethora of safety systems on offer, including adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go traffic jam assist, plus something called Local Hazard Warning. This, according to Ford, notifies drivers of road works, broken-down vehicles or even animals on the road using crowd-sourced data.

You mentioned clever storage solutions?

Yes, the party piece. With removable seat covers and a class-leading bootspace of 456 litres, Ford has clearly put a fair amount of thought into the Puma’s lifestyle-loving target market – and it doesn’t stop there. 

Ford Puma boot: new crossover designed to be practical

The luggage compartment has an adjustable height boot floor that can, if you wish, create three storage spaces – or just one very large one. Perhaps best of all, however, is the Puma’s lower load box that can features a drain plug for easy cleaning. What’s more, you can also accommodate two full size upright golf club bags with the boot in its deepest configuration. 

Ford Puma review by our sister website CarZing

When can I buy a Puma and how much will it cost?

The new Ford Puma crossover will cost from £20,845 when sales start this winter, the Blue Oval has confirmed. That'll bag you a Titanium spec Puma, which includes niceties such as massaging seats and wireless phone charging as standard.

Buyers can step up to a limited First Edition model from £22,295 or ST-Line X spec priced from £25,195. 

The original Ford Puma: a sports car based on the Ford Fiesta

From famine to feast: why Ford is throwing the kitchen sink at electrification

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast

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