Stylish, comfortable and well-equipped, the Puma melds everything you need from a compact crossover, adding the fun handling of a small hatchback and a powerful and economical 1.0-litre mild-hybrid engine for good measure.
The Puma is the first small SUV we’ve named a Game Changer, and it sits in a privileged pack for 2020 alongside the Porsche Taycan, Aston Martin DBX and Polestar 1. That’s why we asked Autocar’s Mark Tisshaw and Tom Morgan to explain in more depth why it’s such a unique standout model – and why it deserves our top accolade.
To find out more about the award-winning Ford Puma go to ford.co.uk
Puma: a drivers’ dream
The Ford Puma’s swooping curves definitely turn heads in a typically conservative crossover class, but it’s the way that the new Puma drives that really grabs your attention – elevating it above its rivals to make it a true Game Changer.
Ford’s engineers have a proven reputation for crafting fun-to-drive hatchbacks, such as the Focus and Fiesta, and the new Puma comes from the same mould. Ford has once again rewritten the rules for what to expect from a typically pragmatic car, with a driver-friendly appeal that harks back to the original Puma of the 90s – a low-slung 2+2 coupe that blended rev-happy engines with eminently chuckable handling.
The modern Puma uses the same B2 platform as the outgoing (and widely praised) Fiesta – subtly lifted and widened to meet the new Puma’s crossover brief. That means it doesn’t feel like an SUV to drive, according to our Autocar road test team.
“The Puma was clearly intended to be a crossover hatchback that would handle before it left the designer’s sketchbook,” we outlined in our 4.5-star review. “It’s remarkable how clearly this car stands apart from its rivals in a class that has until now struggled to produce anything genuinely appealing to drive.
“The keen, level, agile and engaging handling makes you question whether you’re driving a crossover at all,” our road test team said. “The car could easily pass for a well-sorted, athletic-feeling hatchback.”
Power that embraces change
The second element of the Ford Puma’s impressive performance is a hybrid engine that blends power and efficiency in equal measure. Under the new Puma’s bonnet is a 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost engine that, in key models, is partnered with a 48v mild hybrid. Available with either 123bhp or 153bhp, this compact powertrain gives the Puma a torquey, responsive feel – especially in low- to mid-range acceleration.