A message which was sent out in January 2020 but which could be largely forgotten in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic but one that should be repeated for such a quality vehicle.
What is the Ford Puma?
The all-new Puma is a return in name only. Originally a sporty coupe (which also won Car of the Year), the new iteration is a smart compact SUV which places it below the Kuga but somewhere next to the Ecosport. It exceeds sporty good looks whilst still offering a superb driving experience that caters to those looking for a rugged SUV that's not so big but 'big enough'.
Crossovers are one of the most popular types of vehicles in the UK with the micro-niche of the compact crossover becoming one of the most popular subtypes so it's of no surprise that Ford, one of the biggest car makers in the world, would throw their hat in the ring once more now that the Ecosport is clearly not quenching car shoppers' thirst.
At a glance, the Puma offers hatchback economy, rugged and greater ride height over the Focus (and Focus Active) whilst incorporating the latest infotainment, driver assistance technologies, and creature comforts they have to offer.
With three trims and three engines (all 1.0-litre petrol), the Puma offers a fantastic balance of luxury and value for money to most mid-market budgets.
Is it a good car?
Good enough to win the Car of the Year that's for certain - but what exactly makes it such an attractive proposition? The first thing that pops into my head writing this having seen a blue ST-Line X Puma near our place of work is that it is absolutely gorgeous to look at. Truly beautiful. But that doesn't alone make a car but does get people wanting to get a look at their local Ford dealer.
What makes or breaks a car, as it should, is how it drives. Just like its namesake, the Ford Puma is a joy to drive and feels extremely agile considering it's a crossover. It feels as fun as it is to drive a Fiesta except its bigger, more spacious and the bigger tires and better suspension make it glide across country roads. Of course, the price difference between the Fiesta and the Puma should justify this improvement.
If you've driven any Ford post-2017 then the interior will be familiar to you - the current generation of Ford interiors is a major win for me with everything in the right place and comfortable to touch. There are some hard plastics but let's not forget that Ford is mid-range and not in the same league as the likes of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes so you shouldn't expect leather everywhere. What you do get is an interior that knows its customer's budget limits and squeezes every penny out of it. Functional, comfortable, and brilliant value for money.
Perhaps the diamond in the crown of the Ford Puma is it's tried and tested 1.0 Ecoboost engines, specifically the new mild hybrid. These small engines are punchy, not rev hungry, and quite economical. They've been at it for years and every Puma owner will benefit from the efforts of the R&D team at Ford over the many years.
The mild-hybrid is in a class of its own in this segment and alone could have won the COTY award. It can achieve 67 miles per gallon while still getting from 0-62 in 8.5 seconds with 155 horsepower under the bonnet. This is an incredible level of performance for such a small car. The only downside is that they are all manual with no automatics currently available.
The Puma may seem expensive at first glance when making direct comparisons with the likes of the Juke and the Kamiq as Ford does not offer the traditional weak engines and basic trims. Think back to the 1.1 Fiestas with the Trend trim. This means that it is well equipped as standard and you wonâ€™t see any budget versions on the road making your Titanium look better.
Overall, the Ford Puma thoroughly deserves its COTY award and we look forward to delivering these crackers to our customers in 2020 and beyond.