- Sporty compact crossover with mild-hybrid capability
- Capacious and versatile bootspace
- You’ll have to wait for diesel and automatic hybrid models
Set to grace UK roads in early 2020, the Ford Puma is a compact SUV designed to rival the Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008 and Nissan Juke. Based on the same platform as the Fiesta, it slots inbetween the EcoSport and Kuga in Ford’s line-up, adding yet another option to the manufacturer’s rapidly expanding SUV range.
Standout features for the Puma include class-leading practicality, a vast suite of available safety aids and mild-hybrid engine technology.
Ford has made a big deal of the Puma’s available bootspace and from our early impressions it’s not hard to see why. For starters, there’s 456 litres of capacity – a figure that knocks spots of the Peugeot 2008 and Nissan Juke, while narrowly beating the Renault Captur.
Then, there’s the level of flexibility on offer. As well as sitting flush with the rear seats and providing a hidden compartment the boot floor can drop down a level (to create a deeper storage area) or be removed entirely to reveal a load box buried deep in the rear of the vehicle. Measuring up at 80 litres, it’s capacious enough to take a couple of reasonable-sized bags, or transport two upright golf club bags. What’s more, the load box can also be hosed down thanks to the fitment of a drain plug in the base.
Meanwhile, rear seat passenger space is par for the course in this class of car, offering an experience very similar to sitting in the back of a Fiesta. That means there’s enough knee and legroom, but headroom could feel restrictive for taller passengers.
Mild-hybrid Ecoboost engines
As well as the usual range of 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol and 1.5-litre Ecoblue diesels (the latter due to arrive in 2020), the Puma also benefits from a duo of petrol mild-hybrid powertrains. Named EcoBoost Hybrid, the technology works by pairing either a 125 or 155hp three-cylinder engine with an 11.5kW belt-driven starter (BISG) that has two purposes.
The first is to act as an electric motor that delivers extra torque and efficiency by combining with the petrol engine, while the second – and more efficient use – sees its recover energy generated through braking and coasting. This is then used to charge a 48-volt lithium battery that stores power for when extra torque is needed. The BISG also works with the auto start-stop system, allowing it to activate at speeds of up to 10mph.
Both mild hybrid powertrains will be coupled with a six-speed manual transmission, while a seven-speed DCT automatic 125hp 1.0-litre Ecoboost (non-hybrid) has been confirmed for the middle of 2020. We are told, however, that a hybrid automatic version is in the pipeline.
A purported Ford Puma ST prototype has also been seen testing, although Ford refuses to confirm whether a performance version is indeed planned. If it does come on stream – and we reckon it’s more likely than not – the Puma ST is expected to utilise Ford’s 1.5-litre three-cylinder unit producing 200hp and 290Nm of torque.
Tonnes of safety kit, plus digital dashboard display
As we’ve come to expect from Ford in recent times, the Puma packs a generous selection of safety equipment including adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go, speed sign recognition, lane centring, Blind Spot Information (BLIS) and the newly introduced Local Hazard Warning function. The latter sources user-gathered cloud information to provide the driver with alert on upcoming road works, broken down vehicles, animals, pedestrians in the carriageway and hazardous driving conditions. Said information comes independent of the car’s sat-nav.
Also new is the Puma’s 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, replacing traditional dashboard dials. Currently fitted to the Puma and Kuga but set to roll out across the rest of Ford’s range, the digital dash allows drivers to personalise the display in front of them with information from sat-nav directions to driver assistance tech and media functions. A quick play with the software suggested it still had a few rough edges and the graphics needed refining, yet we’d stress the car we sat in was a pre-production model.
Aside from said features, the Puma’s cabin is broadly the same as the Fiesta’s on which it is based – albeit with some plusher materials keeping things fresh. The front seats are available with removable covers and a lumbar massaging function if you wish, while Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system remains.
On sale late 2019
Pricing for the Ford Puma will be announced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2019, with orders opening in the proceeding months. Deliveries will take place around February 2020, with pricing and trim levels yet to be announced.