► Ford’s latest B-seg SUV
► Mild-hybrid powertrains
► On sale late 2019
The new Ford Puma has arrived – but it’s probably not what you’re expecting. 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.
All is not lost however, as Ford promises the Puma will have steering ‘sharper than the Fiesta’s’, a duo of all-new mild-hybrid engines, tonnes of clever safety kit and some seriously neat storage solutions in its chunky, compact crossover footprint.
Let’s talk about the styling…
Granted, it won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but look at it this way. 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.
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.
Will there be a Puma ST version?
Well, we’ve already seen spy shots of what could be (and very likely is) a Puma ST, but Ford is currently remaining tight lipped. No official denial, however, and we’d be surprised if we didn’t see the Fiesta ST’s engine lifted into the Puma at some point in the next couple of years.
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.
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.
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.
When can I buy a Puma and how much will it cost?
Prices will be announced in September 2019 with orders opening towards the end of the year. First deliveries will take place in February 2020.
Do you rue the departure of the old Ford Puma coupe (below)? Be sure to sound off in the comments at the foot of this page.
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