The sense of excitement senior Ford people have for the Puma is clear. Ford has taken an admirably fresh look at the booming compact SUV market and decided that another scaled-down, old-school SUV is not the way of the future.
The Puma has an impressive and polished presence and it has been clearly thought through in fine detail. This, perhaps, is one of the benefits of the ‘One Ford’ period coming to an end. Rather than needing a couple of years to knock the Ecosport into European shape, or having to share a Mondeo with North America and China, the Puma is a very European product.
Ford has bet much of its European future on what it calls crossovers – cars that are taller and more useful than a conventional hatchback but not so tall that passengers need to climb up into them.
But there’s another sound reason for not building blunt-fronted cars: the need to meet the very onerous future EU fuel economy regulations.
With the company predicting no let-up in the popularity of SUVs, the Puma looks uncannily like the future European mainstream family car.