Ford Puma rhymes with a small, economical and fun coupe from the late 90’s for car enthusiasts. Since then, fashion and practices have changed and the SUV trend has invaded the market. So much so that Ford inherited the Puma name to add to a city SUV with a micro-hybrid engine (MHEV), offering either 125 or 155 hp versions.
We had the opportunity to take control of the 155 hp Puma mild-hybrid ST-Line X version, and the results were generally positive, with a particularly pleasing silhouette, good level of finishes, a modern interior accompanied by an OS-successful SYNC 3 home. (at version 3.4 during our testing). The surprise of the test focused mainly on the various driving aids, especially the useful Local Hazard Information, which informs the driver in real time about a danger that is in his path.
Fiesta ST genes
However, given the unique qualities of the chassis, we thought the Ford Puma undeniably didn’t have the extra spirit to make it fun to drive. It was without relying on the big differences that Ford was capable of. The automotive giant also knows how to talk to sports fans, especially thanks to the Focus RS and ST, the Fiesta ST, the Mustang and the indescribable (and unsold) Ford GT (which we had the opportunity to try).
Ford Europe’s first sports SUV, Puma ST, has been added to this already enjoyable list. Based on the Ford Fiesta platform, the Puma incorporates many elements such as the engine, shock absorbers, braking and a stiffer rear torsion axle and larger anti-roll bars to compensate for a higher center of gravity.
Outside we find 19-inch wheels, red brake calipers with added mirror caps and various elements of ST Line finishes such as a glossy black roof, a special grille, a pair of tailpipes and a rear spoiler. . As if that weren’t enough, a certain shade of Green Mean emerges. But it is possible to stay more sober by choosing from seven other shades.
A wealth of hardware
Inside, the cabin is similar to that of other Pumas with cheap plastics, but the atmosphere is decidedly sportier. On the front panel we find the fully digital instrument cluster with a 12.3-inch screen and an 8-inch touchscreen. Driver and passengers benefit from Recaro bucket seats, the ST signature flat-bottom steering wheel, aluminum pedal set and knob. The equipment of driving aids remains rich with intelligent cruise control, recognition of traffic signs and even the aforementioned collision avoidance system. By choosing the Integral Security Pack for €1000 more, the Puma ST is equipped with a semi-autonomous parking system with front and side radar, backup camera and blind spot monitoring. However enthusiasts will probably opt for the €1100 Performance package with limited slip differential and Launch Control.
As you can see, taking the acronym ST from Fiesta, Puma also adopts its three-cylinder 1500 cm3 engine, which exhibits 200 hp at 6000 rpm and a maximum torque of 320 Nm between 2500 and 3500 rpm. . The manufacturer recalls that the three-cylinder engine of the Puma ST was able to disable or reactivate a cylinder in 14 milliseconds, which allowed it to show an average of 6.0 l/100 km in combined WLTP consumption. We indicate here that this test is only done on the circuit and we will have to take control of the vehicle in more conventional conditions in order to be able to measure.
Part mode in Ferté Gaucher circuit
To find out if this transfer has taken place, Ford makes an appointment at the La Ferté Gaucher (Seine-et-Marne) track, where we switch directly to Track driving mode via the steering wheel on the steering wheel. If the Puma ST is not as crazy as the city car Yaris GR, we can write right away, its behavior still impressed us. From the first lap on the track, he shattered any preconceptions we might have had about his paradoxical position. The first kicks in (only a 6-speed manual gearbox is available), we press the right pedal to leave with a wild and surprising grunt. The sound of the exhaust has been reworked a bit and we’re so happy we finally got the hang of the buckets so tight.
When shifting into second and third gear, the push sticks strongly to the seat, and it is recommended to keep your hands on the steering wheel, so as not to be surprised by the reactions of limited slip. The front axle is particularly sharp and precise. The cougar cheerfully rushes from one turn to the next, effortlessly reaching the top to lift the inside of the rear wheel, and rushing past during turns. During the circuit’s rounds, he allows himself to be tamed and allows his pilot to work on their trajectory. The car easily forgives mistakes with an audible skid from behind, and then comes to life powerfully until the next corner. What a brilliant little cat Ford has presented there! More than raw power, the priority is agility and braking that didn’t show any signs of overheating during our session.
The latter is over, we were a bit surprised as we had so much fun driving an SUV from Puma ST. For the manufacturer, it is actually a matter of presenting a city SUV, practical (the trunk offers a total volume of 456 to 1611 liters, including the megabox hidden in the false floor), relatively economical on a daily basis and can offer a car. spoiled driving pleasure when the right foot itches. A daring stance that will almost regret its singularity. Indeed, with a price of 33,650 € (excluding the option and 983 € penalty), the Puma ST is unbeatable. And that can be a shame.