Skip advert
Advertisement
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

Owners Rating
Be the first to review
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 amongst enthusiasts, so does the new Puma have the driver appeal to pull it off? Our experience indicates it's certainly a contender as the most fun crossover, thanks in no small part to its stretched Fiesta underpinnings.

Advertisement - Article continues below

We praised the Ford Fiesta for its handling and the Puma loses little of that with its taller body and ride height. Ford has done an impressive job of maintaining the best aspect of the Fiesta, by firming up the Puma’s suspension. However, this does come with its drawbacks as, with 18-inch wheels fitted, the ride can be a tad harsh on rougher roads.

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 123bhp and 153bhp respectively. Acceleration is competitive for a crossover, with 0-62mph taking nine seconds for the more powerful version with its six-speed manual gearbox, while the 123bhp engine with manual gears is reasonably close behind at 9.8 seconds.

Like the smaller Fiesta, the Puma’s manual gear shifter has a delightfully satisfying feel to it, like something that’s been pulled straight out of a hot hatchback, rather than an SUV.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

More reviews

As of the time of writing, both the 123bhp and 153bhp engines are available with a seven-speed automatic transmission – although only on some trim levels. A price difference of around £1,500 separates the manual and automatic gearboxes, with the auto adding a couple of tenths to the acceleration figures – although, this is likely to go unnoticed.

In ST-Line Vignale trim, the automatic gearbox feels jerky when driving at low speeds around town, with an eagerness to shift up very quickly as you move off from a standstill. In our test car, we found the automatic gearbox was easier to operate via the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, which helped make it far smoother to drive. At faster motorway speeds, the gearbox is far less intrusive – although a Skoda Kamiq is a better choice if you’re looking for a long-distance motorway cruiser.

Overall, the automatic version of the Puma is not as sharp, nor as involving to drive as the car with a manual. It’s also a chunk more expensive to buy and slightly less efficient, making it difficult to recommend unless you absolutely need an automatic.

At the top of the range is the Ford Puma ST, which we’ve reviewed separately. It’s the most powerful model in the range by some margin with 197bhp, and is powered by the same turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine as the Fiesta ST. This makes it the quickest version of the Puma, managing 0-62mph in only 6.7 seconds. It has impressive poise that makes it genuinely satisfying to drive; it’s a rival not only to small fast SUVs but some of the best hot hatchbacks too.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 EcoBoost Hybrid mHEV Titanium 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £25,770

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.0 EcoBoost Hybrid mHEV Titanium 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £25,770

Fastest

  • Name
    1.0 EcoBoost Hybrid mHEV ST 5dr DCT
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £33,010

Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Top 10 best used SUVs 2024
Top 10 best used SUVs
Best cars
5 Feb 2024

Top 10 best used SUVs 2024

Top 10 best used small SUVs
Best used small SUVs
Best cars
16 Nov 2023

Top 10 best used small SUVs

Ford Puma SUV review
Ford Puma SUV driving
In-depth reviews
13 Sep 2023

Ford Puma SUV review

Most Popular

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on
Engine warning light
Tips and advice
12 Jun 2024

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on

New Alpine A290: fast, stylish and very blue electric hot hatchback revealed
Alpine A290 front quarter
News
13 Jun 2024

New Alpine A290: fast, stylish and very blue electric hot hatchback revealed

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
14 Jun 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
21 Mar 2024

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
Best electric cars
Best cars
16 May 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024