In-depth Reviews

Ford Puma SUV - Engines, drive & performance

Fun handling makes the Ford Puma a potential class-leader for enthusiasts

Carbuyer Rating

4.2 out of 5

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Engines, drive & performance Rating

4.5 out of 5

Rekindling the Puma model name for an SUV, rather than a small coupe, has been a polarising move among enthusiasts, so does the new Puma have the driver appeal to pull it off? Our early drive indicates it's certainly a contender as the most fun crossover, thanks in no small part to its stretched Fiesta underpinnings.

We've heaped praise on the Fiesta's handling, and the Puma feels agile and balanced in a way only Ford's engineers seem to manage in family cars. It's keen to change direction without feeling fidgety, and the movements of the Puma's raised bodywork are kept firmly in check. With sports suspension upgrades, the ST-Line X model we tried doesn't sit any lower, but as well as making it great fun, the stiffer settings and 18-inch alloy wheels make it fairly firm and introduce some added tyre noise.

Ford Puma petrol engines

Both of the Puma's petrol engines are 1.0-litre EcoBoost units with three cylinders and Ford's new mild-hybrid technology, producing 124 and 153bhp respectively. Acceleration is competitive for a crossover, with 0-62mph taking 9.8 seconds or 8.9 seconds in the more powerful 1.0-litre EcoBoost. A sporty Puma ST is expected in due course with around 197bhp, thanks to the 1.5-litre petrol from the Fiesta ST.

It's enough power to bring the talented chassis alive and make the Puma genuinely satisfying to drive, competing not only with small SUVs but some of the best hatchbacks too. Given how enjoyable the standard car is, the Puma ST should be a real star.

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