Find a car review


The Ford Puma returns, sort of

Ford has revived the Puma name, but on yet another SUV derivative

If you’re a fan of the lithe, agile, terrier-like Ford Puma of the 90s look away, as Ford’s decision to revive the nostalgic nameplate has come with the caveat that it will be placed on the back of a new compact SUV. The new model is certainly striking and does bear a slight resemblance to its forebear, but against its numerous small SUV rivals, including the new Peugeot 2008, it’ll need more than a recognisable badge to compete. 

The Puma is based on the current Ford Fiesta, and shares that car’s basic underlying technical components. The rear axle has picked up a beefier twist-beam compared to the Fiesta to deal with the extra mass, but it also means the Puma is front-wheel drive only, without the space or design to support rear driveshafts.

Subscribe to evo magazine

If you're passionate about the world's greatest performance cars, experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Try your first 5 issues for £5.

> Click here for more on the incoming Ford Kuga

Powertrains exclusively of the 1-litre three-cylinder Ecoboost petrol variety, with high-output models picking up a new 48V mild-hybrid system. As you’ll find with many other 48V systems, the Ford setup supports an integrated starter-generator attached to the engine and a small electric motor, smoothing out the Puma’s start-stop and coasting functions. The 48V system also powers the Puma’s electrics but transmissions are limited at this point to a six-speed manual.

Advertisement - Article continues below

What is new for the Puma is the torque-fill function, similar in principle to that in a McLaren P1, in which the electric motor actually assists the petrol engine with up to an extra 15lb ft of torque at full load. This might not sound like much, but at lower rpm, and specifically when the turbo is at low boost, the system can increase torque by up to 50 per cent. 

> Click here for our review of the Ford Fiesta ST

The 48V mild-hybrid version of the Puma is available in two power outputs, 124bhp and 153bhp, with lesser powertrains sticking with a traditional 12V system. There is also the chance of a hot ST model in the near future, sharing the Fiesta ST’s 197bhp 1.5-litre turbocharged triple, although Ford has yet to confirm this officially.

The design does channel some of the previous Puma’s aesthetic - if you squint. The high-set headlights, tapering glasshouse and flared hips all reference the old Puma but are combined with plenty of modern elements like large wheels (up to 19-inches), LED lighting and a floating a-pillar to create a distinctive, if controversial look. The interior is similar to the Fiesta’s, and although there is nothing inherently wrong with it, compared to the incoming Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur it lacks the wow-factor that is becoming increasingly expected upon in all small car classes. 

Sales will commence early next year, with local pricing and specifications released later. We do know that the Puma range will follow the same structure as current Ford models, with Zetec, Titanium and ST-Line trim levels available with various versions of each powertrain. Expect to see plenty in a Tesco car park near you soon.  




Ford Ranger Raptor review

3 May 2019

Next McLaren Ultimate Series car revealed to be open-top speedster model

16 Aug 2019

2020 Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe spied with mid-cycle updates

16 Aug 2019

Most Popular


Abt Audi RS5-R Sportback revealed

Not only has the German tuner fettled the Audi RS5 Sportback, it’s also turned its attention to watercraft
9 Aug 2019

Mercedes-AMG C63 S vs Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio - super saloons go head-to-head

We pit the Mercedes-AMG C63 S against Alfa Romeo's Giulia Quadrifoglio to find out which is best
9 Aug 2019

Best used cars for sale this week

We’ve delved into the classifieds and chosen our favourite cars for sale this week
7 Aug 2019
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019