Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 4.4
  • Basic layout and shape is very Fiesta-like
  • Two large screens now dominate the dash
  • Neat trim options depending on model

Inside, there’s a similar design to the Fiesta and its 8.0-inch Sync 3 infotainment system – it’s a cleaner, less cluttered look than previous-generation Fords.

Visual and tactile interest is amplified in the Puma with more upmarket looking trims, including fabric on the door cards, plus a choice of textured or gloss carbonfibre-effect dashboard fillets and infotainment surrounds, depending on model.

New for this segment and for Ford in general are the wireless charging, massaging seats and 12.3-inch digital dials, all of which lend the Puma a more technologically advanced and luxurious feel than the Fiesta.

The latter is fitted to most Pumas. You have a choice of crisp and clear graphics depending on which driving mode you’re in, which are neither too abstract in design nor a pointless digital rendering of a set of analogue dials. Just a nice balance between the two with plenty of info available at a glance.

Some of us have found the dials in Normal mode a bit difficult to read due to its various shades of blue, while Sport mode (pictured above) is far better.

An optional panoramic glass sunroof running the length of the car (albeit interrupted in the middle), brings plenty of light to the cabin but will trouble taller drivers as it brings the ceiling height down to a hair-tickling altitude.

The main infotainment screen is just as bright and easy to read as it is in the Fiesta, which is to say it’s excellent, and if you don’t get on with its interface, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included at no extra cost. The sat-nav also works well, being easy to use when it comes to entering a destination and also when it comes to cancelling a route when on the move, with a direct shortcut.

Pick an ST-Line model and you get a flat-bottomed steering wheel with red stitching, plus alloy pedals, an aluminium gear shifter and black headliner for maximum sporty appeal - even if the latter darkens the cabin somewhat.

Opt for the ST-Line X Vignale and you get additional leather on the steering wheel, a slightly nicer finish on the dash and upgraded leather seats with additional padding.

Also available as an option is a B&O sound system with plenty of power across its 10-speaker range and a commendable amount of bass, thanks to a well-hidden subwoofer in the boot. It's quite punchy compared to the system offered on the Fiesta.

Sportiness over outright comfort

  • Sportier ride than rivals
  • ST-Line models are firmer still
  • Supportive front seats impress

If you favour comfort, Titanium models are softer and more compliant than the taut, sports-tuned suspension of the ST-Line versions of the Puma, although all models feature 17-inch alloy wheels or larger, and have tyres with slim sidewalls that won't do much to help absorb bumps in the road. Although we wouldn't describe either as marshmallowy, the larger wheels manage to avoid completely ruining them

In fairness, since the Puma has longer suspension travel than the Fiesta it's based on, this results in a degree of cushioning even on cracked tarmac that you wouldn’t get in the hatchback. The ride can be a little firm and bumpy at lower speeds but this softens out and improves once up to motorway speeds.

There is quite a bit of noise generated by the tyres and the engine, while the automatic transmission whirrs away at low speeds, but this settles down once at a cruise.

Titanium models feature massaging seats as standard for both the driver and front passenger, with three areas of focus taking in your lower, middle and upper back, plus a choice of rolling direction. These aren’t quite as sophisticated as you get on a limo like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class but they are surprisingly effective.

The seats themselves feel like they’d be comfortable on a long journey although the under thigh cushion is a bit short for taller drivers (a product of this car being based on a Fiesta) while the ST-Line X model features a bit more bolstering for additional support during moments of sporty driving.

The ST-Line X Vignale comes with the massage function and upgraded leather seats, adding a layer of softness to make them the most comfortable ones available.