Ford hasn’t been quite as adventurous with the Puma’s interior styling as it was with its bold exterior. In fact, there’s really very little about the compact crossover’s cabin to separate it from any other vehicle in the Ford line-up.

Finished largely in darker shades of cloth and soft and hard plastics, it’s a slightly drab environment in which to spend time. Next to the likes of the more expressive Renault Captur, it feels decidedly ordinary, and almost ascetic when compared with the ritzy new Peugeot 2008.

Front seats offer good lateral support. The inclusion of the £300 Comfort pack adds seat heaters and a heated steering wheel as well. Worth it in winter.

But what it lacks in form it makes up for in function. There’s a wide range of adjustability in the steering column and seat base, which affords you the opportunity to sit in a marginally lower, slightly more immersive driving position than you’ll find in many of its rivals. Given the Puma’s heightened focus on energetic driver appeal, this flexibility is welcome.

Long gone are the days when Ford saw fit to adorn its dashboards with an almost infinite selection of tiny buttons, too. The controls for the HVAC system, heated seats and Quickclear windscreen are thoughtfully sized and spaced, while gentle blue backlighting makes them easy to read. The 8.0in touchscreen isn’t quite as difficult as some systems to use on the move, either. The manual gearshifter could sit a bit higher up and squeak a bit less when you use it, mind.

Passenger space in the second row is reasonable enough, but those sat in the back won’t feel quite as separated as they might in a Volkswagen T-Cross or Skoda Kamiq. Our tape measure revealed 860mm of head room (the Captur we road tested last week had 920mm) and a typical leg room figure of 720mm (up to 680mm in the Renault).

In mild-hybrid guise, the Puma’s boot isn’t quite as capacious as it could be. The additional battery drops outright space from 456 to 401 litres with the rear seats in place (the Captur has 422 litres). Lift the boot floor, though, and you’ll reveal the Puma’s party piece: the 80-litre Megabox. This hard plastic container is ideal for carrying muddy boots or sodden raincoats and comes with a plug in the floor so it can be rinsed out and drained.

Ford Puma infotainment and sat-nav

All Pumas sold in the UK have Ford’s Sync3 infotainment system as standard. This comprises an 8.0in touchscreen that’s used to operate effectively all of the suite’s main features, which include sat-nav, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

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Its responsiveness is fine but, as we’ve written previously, it wants for graphical sophistication – particularly in comparison to its Volkswagen Group rivals. The shortcut buttons that run along the bottom edge of the screen give quick access to all of the primary sub-menus, although physical buttons around the display’s border would still be preferable.

FordConnect comes as standard across the range, too, adding a wi-fi hotspot with connectivity for up to 10 devices. Meanwhile, the FordPass mobile app includes handy features such as a vehicle locator and vehicle status checker, so you can verify the fuel level and oil status remotely, and unlock the doors as well.

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