New Ford Puma ST Powershift gets auto gearbox

The Ford Puma range is to get a mild-hybrid automatic model sitting just below the fiery ST in the lineup

  • 1.0-litre ecoboost mild hybrid with 168bhp
  • Automatic gearbox only
  • New ST-exclusive Azure Blue paint colour

The Ford Puma ST Powershift is set to join the model lineup as a less powerful, automatic version of the hot ST model. Prices haven’t been confirmed, but we expect it to sit below the existing ST, and priced accordingly. 

The ST Powershift will get sportier looks compared to standard models, including a front splitter, large rear roof spoiler, rear diffuser and front grille similar to those of the range-topping Puma ST. Buyers will be able to spec the new model in a choice of six paint options, among which is a new ST-exclusive Azure Blue colour.

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On the inside, you’ll find sports seats finished in Sensico faux leather, plus wireless smartphone charging, Ford’s signature heated front windscreen, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, and Ford’s latest infotainment system compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Puma ST Powershift models can also be specced with driver assistance technologies such as autonomous emergency braking, automatic parking, a blind spot indicator, and automatic speed limiter.

The ST Powershift uses the most powerful version of Ford’s 1.0-litre mild-hybrid Ecoboost engine to date, with 168bhp; the fully-fledged Puma ST model currently uses a 197bhp 1.5-litre Ecoboost engine. While the Puma ST comes with a six-speed manual, the ST Powershift model gets a seven-speed automatic gearbox, which Ford hopes will entice a wider audience.

With its smaller 1.0-litre engine with mild-hybrid tech, the Puma ST Powershift should also provide better fuel economy than the 1.5-litre ST, while still offering peppy performance. Ford owners of old may remember the Zetec S trim level offered on the Fiesta many years ago, which catered to this ‘warm-hatch’ niche.

The Puma ST Powershift will use the same chassis setup as the sportiest ST model, featuring a stiffened suspension and anti-roll bar system, sharper steering and larger brakes. The performance crossover’s automatic gearbox will include a Sport Drive Mode which holds the car in lower gears for faster responses, and a paddle-shift manual mode that caters to drivers looking for more engagement. 

The auto gearbox also enables Ford’s ‘Stop & Go’ adaptive cruise control functionality, allowing the Puma to come to a complete stop in traffic and automatically pull away again – if stopped for less than three seconds.

Prices will be announced soon, but we expect a starting figure of around £30,000 – placing it just below the range-topping ST. While you’ll likely pay less for the 1.0-litre engine versus the 1.5 ST, we expect the Powershift auto will bump the price back up, so those looking for a bargain hot SUV might need to look elsewhere.

Looking for pocket-sized driving thrills? Check out our top 10 best hot hatchbacks 2023...

Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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