James Batchelor 2019-06-26 05:00
The new Ford Puma will sit between the EcoSport and Kuga in the brand’s SUV range, with prices expected to start just below £20,000
The Ford Puma badge hasn’t been seen on a car for 17 years, but the company has just brought back the name from the dead – not on a coupé but on an SUV.
The new Puma is designed to plug the gap in Ford’s line-up between the EcoSport and the forthcoming new Kuga. It’ll rival the fast-approaching new versions of the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008.
The original Puma was a svelte coupé based on the Fiesta, and for the badge’s 2020s reboot, Ford has again pinched the best-selling supermini’s platform. But this time the firm has added a five-door SUV body that’s 46mm longer, 54mm higher, 71mm wider and has a 95mm longer wheelbase than the Fiesta.
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At the front is Ford’s distinctive grille, but from here onwards it stands apart from the firm’s other SUVs. The headlights, high up on the bonnet, could be seen as a reference to the original Puma, and on ST-Line models the daytime running lights are a nod to a more modern Ford coupé: the GT supercar.
The interior is typical of a modern Ford. It’s essentially the Fiesta’s dashboard, with its simple design, SYNC3 infotainment system and decent materials. But there are some bespoke features, like a digital display for the dials and, on some models, massaging front seats. In fact, both front and rear seats have zippable covers allowing owners to not only mix and match patterns and colours, but also wash them should they need to.
The boot is the big surprise of the whole Puma package, however. With a capacity of 456 litres, it’s right up there with the largest in the class – but that’s only half of the story. There’s also a hands-free tailgate, while the parcel shelf is a piece of material so that it moulds around tall items in the boot.
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In addition, the load bay floor can be raised to give a flat cargo area or lowered to prioritise space, plus it can be folded against the back seats. Do this and you will create a large space that can swallow a couple of small suitcases or even take a golf bag standing upright.
When it arrives in early 2020, the Puma will initially be offered in Zetec, Titanium and ST-Line trims and be powered solely by Ford’s 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine, paired with a six-speed manual gearbox.
There will be three different versions of the engine, starting with a 123bhp unit. This motor will also be offered as a mild-hybrid, with a belt-driven starter/generator and a 48-volt battery. The system harvests energy lost during braking, and stores it in the battery for use under acceleration.
Topping off the range at launch will be a 153bhp version of the mild-hybrid, while a 94bhp petrol, a diesel and a seven-speed dual-clutch auto box will all arrive later in the year. Plus, to cash in on a growing trend for performance SUVs, a hot Puma using the Fiesta ST’s powertrain is mooted, too.
Ford won’t set prices until the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, but expect them to kick off at just under £20,000.
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Are you pleased to see the return of the famour Ford Puma nameplate? Let us know your thoughts below…
Associated Advanced Gallery New 2020 Ford Puma: small SUV makes official debut – pictures