What is it?
For quite a long time, we’ve been waiting for somebody to come along and set a new standard – any kind of standard – in the compact crossover segment.
Finally, I think we’ve found the car that has done it, although the new Ford Puma has stepped rather than vaulted over what’s a relatively modest bar.
Puma, then. No longer a stylish small coupé based on the Fiesta, but today’s equivalent: a tall pseudo-SUV based on the Fiesta. We’ll mourn the former kind of Puma but, well, if we wanted to keep cars like that in production, we should have bought more of the darned things. The truth is that the crossover is the mainstream manufacturer’s way to make money out of passenger cars and not just vans.
So let’s size it up: the new Puma is 54mm taller than a Fiesta (1537mm), a full 146mm longer (4185mm) with a 95mm-longer wheelbase (2588mm) and, perhaps most significant, 71mm wider (1805mm). I say significant because the problem with many crossovers is that, in trying to give them some kind of dynamism, their suspension is tied down so the ride is hard. The Puma’s track width is 58mm wider than on the Fiesta on which it is based, and a bit of additional width should offset some of the extra height when it comes to the increased centre of gravity. We’ll see.