Long Term Test: Ford Puma

Long-term test reviews

26 March 2021 - Farewell report

It’s fair to say I was looking forward to running the Puma when Mr Barker sir told me I’d be running one. That’s because I’ve long been a fan of how Fords drive, on top of which early reports were almost uniformly positive. Indeed, when the Puma was the star of our Big Test back in issue 71, it earned a seriously high 83% rating. Bring it on, I said.

Our ST-Line X model looked sensational in the Grey Matter paint, to the extent that I was regularly accosted by neighbours asking to look more closely at it.

Ford Puma LTT 2021It was well-equipped, too, with part-leather seats, a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display, auto full-beam and a superb Bang & Olufsen audio system backing up the infotainment set-up, which also included Apple CarPlay.

The 125hp three-cylinder 1.0-litre EcoBoost fitted the car’s nature neatly, because it provided enough performance to keep life interesting, but also managed an average of 44.6mpg throughout our tenure.

I also loved the way the Puma steered and handled, because it really felt like a Fiesta ST-Line with a better view out. However, the firm suspension also meant that the ride could be a little harsh in town.

As for practicality, the back seat area was just about big enough for my better half’s 6ft 2in 16-year-
old, and the boot easily coped with our weekly shopping trip, the odd visit to the tip, and even taking my other half’s elder son to university. Indeed, the MegaBox storage beneath the boot floor is a stroke of genius, because it lets you store items out of sight, and can cope with muddy boots and suchlike. Superb.

All in all, the Puma has proved to be an ideal family SUV that’s practical and unobtrusive when everyone is in it, and great fun when I’m on my own.

Euan doig

Tester's notes

Ford Puma LTT 2021 mega box• I love the way you can unscrew a plug in the bottom of the MegaBox, to allow it to be washed out with a hose.

• The hook at either side of the boot is a bit small. It’s meant to hold your shopping but the bag handles just lift off it.

The stats

Ford Puma 1.0 125 EcoBoost ST-Line X

P11D: £22,740

Official combined mpg: 49.6mpg

Our combined mpg: 44.6mpg

CO2: 127g/km

10 March 2021

Ford Puma load area bike LTT 2021

The Puma may be nearing the end of its time with us, but there was still time for one last task.

Ford Puma LTT 2021My significantly better half used to commute by bicycle before Covid, so her bike has languished in a shed for 12 months. I was despatched to pick it up with a view to recommissioning it just in case the world of offices opens up anytime soon.

It was no problem for the Puma. I whipped off the front wheel and slid the passenger seat as far forward as it would go and the bike fitted easily, even with the luggage rack still attached. Now the hard work begins…

Euan doig

The stats

Ford Puma 1.0 125 EcoBoost ST-Line X

P11D: £22,740

Official combined mpg: 49.6mpg

Our combined mpg: mpg

CO2: 127g/km

Ford Puma LTT 2021

Funny how little things start to niggle after a while, and only become apparent when living with a car.

Take the Puma’s door mirrors, for example. They’re undeniably large, clear and defrost quickly when required. However, if I’m parking next to a kerb, I take great care not to scuff my alloys against the stonework, which entails dipping the passenger-side mirror for the best view.

The problem with the Puma’s mirror is that not only do I have to give the ‘left mirror’ button a firm press, but once activated it takes an age to lower – usually precisely at the point someone is hooning up behind and impatient to get on with their day. I could lower the mirror a few seconds earlier, but this would require me to find the buttons and then periodically glance at the mirror to ensure it’s at the right angle. And all this when I’m also trying to judge the size of gaps that the car might feasibly sit into. As you might have guessed, multi-tasking is not one of my strong points.

Slightly tardy mirrors aside, life with the Puma remains great, mainly because it drives with an enthusiasm and vigour that no SUV can match. The steering’s sharp, the responses are quick and deft, and the body control is great, although the ride a bit firm at times. It’s like a warm hatch with a great view out. Fab

Euan doig

Tester's notes

• I love the fact that the Puma has a ‘proper’ handbrake. It means I can judge hill starts precisely, without having to wait for an algorithm to decide it’s time to pull away. Much better.

Ford Puma LTT 2021
• The presence of a wireless charging pad is a real bonus, because it means that my better half can charge her phone at the same time as mine is plugged in for the Apple CarPlay system. Nice one.

The stats

Ford Puma 1.0 125 EcoBoost ST-Line X

P11D: £22,740

Official combined mpg: 49.6mpg

Our combined mpg: mpg

CO2: 127g/km

Ford Puma LTT 2021

Blimey. Bit chilly, isn’t it. Reminds me of my young days in Scotland, when I’d be sent out on freezing mornings to scrape the windows from my dad’s MK1 Volkswagen Passat (three-door original – wish I’d bought it from him!). Usually in shorts, because I was apparently swaddled in a warm glow from a thick bowl of porridge (think of it as a beer coat for kids).

Anyway, I have a suspicion that the staffer from Ford who came up with the Quickclear windscreen was subjected to similar “the cold’ll do you good” ice-removal task as a child, because it literally takes the sting out of the job. No more stingy fingers, no more leaning over the front wing getting your clothes wet. Brilliant. Just switch on, press the button and sit there for two minutes while the screen sorts itself out.

Ford Puma LTT 2021In fact, there’s a double benefit to this, because sitting there while the car defrosts gives me more time to enjoy the sumptuous tones from the standard fit Bang and Olufsen audio system. If you can call The Dead Daisies sumptuous.

The sound is strong, the bass deep and the high notes are sharp without being glassy.

All in all, winter mornings just aren’t what they used to be. Thankfully.

Euan doig

 

The stats

Ford Puma 1.0 125 EcoBoost ST-Line X

P11D: £22,740

Official combined mpg: 49.6mpg

Our combined mpg: mpg

CO2: 127g/km

27 January 2021

Ford Puma LTT 2021

I’ve previously mentioned that while the Puma can sometimes look a bit ‘meh’ in pictures, it’s actually really good looking in real life.

This is even more the case in the Grey Matter hue of our test car, which really enhances all the various angles, vents, shapes and forms of the ST-Line X bodywork.

Ford Puma LTT 2021However, the other day the sun came out for once, and in a moment of madness I decided to brave the chill and wash the Puma, whereupon I found out in very short order that all that sculpted bodywork is actually a total pain to clean. Only a small cloth or soft brush can access some of the grooves, particularly those around the front foglights and rear valance.

Still, the Puma looked great after all the effort.

Euan doig

The stats

Ford Puma 1.0 125 EcoBoost ST-Line X

P11D: £22,740

Official combined mpg: 49.6mpg

Our combined mpg: mpg

CO2: 127g/km

Ford Puma LTT 2021

So, 2021 is off to a humdinger of a start, isn’t it.

Still, the stay-at-home message at least means I’m not spending a great deal on fuel. Over the course of the past four months, I’ve done around 3000 miles, and have averaged 42.8mpg. That might not look earth-shattering, but consider that most of those miles have been covered during comparatively short trips on A- and B-roads and in town, when the car is getting up to temperature in winter, and it doesn’t seem quite so average.

Ford Puma LTT 2021Those twisty roads also take me to my favourite local walking spot, and the MegaBox storage area in the boot has proved superb for taking muddy boots at the end of a sodden trudge through the countryside. Even better, a quick hose out will have it looking good as new in seconds. Perfect.

However, all is not completely rosy in the Puma garden. That’s because it has developed a rattle. A loud one. The noise is emanating from the parcel shelf, with the two tailgate ‘hooks’ seeming like the most likely cause, because they move and make a noise while doing so. Still, once things open up a bit more and it’s safe to go outside, I’ll get a to Ford dealer to rectify the issue.

Euan doig

Tester's notes

• The Puma has various driving modes accessed through a button down by the gearlever. To be honest, I’ve used it only once, because every other mode merely detracts from the sweetness with which it drives in Normal.

• I like how the headlights are set to Auto when you switch on, even if you’ve switched them to manual on your previous journey.

The stats

Ford Puma 1.0 125 EcoBoost ST-Line X

P11D: £22,740

Official combined mpg: 49.6mpg

Our combined mpg: 42.8mpg

CO2: 127g/km

24 December 2020

Ford Puma LTT 2020

This year can easily go down as a year in which I did fewer miles than in any other since I passed my test. However, 2020 still felt the need to give me a cheeky backheel in the proverbials on its way out the door, by placing a screw just where the Puma’s left-rear tyre would run over it. Ugh.

Ford Puma LTT 2020Could it be repaired? Of course it couldn’t – that would have been far too easy and inexpensive. Luckily, Newbury Tyre and Exhaust Centre (01635 40028) had the right size of tyre in stock and fitted it within the hour. They were cheaper than most other places, too. It’s good to shop local.

Euan doig

The stats

Ford Puma 1.0 125 EcoBoost ST-Line X

P11D: £22,740

Official combined mpg: 49.6mpg

Our combined mpg: mpg

CO2: 127g/km

10 December 2020

Ford Puma LTT 2020

This year has been a bit of a drag, no denying it. So, in a bid to lift the mood, my girlfriend and I decided a day out was in order, so off we trotted to one of my favourite places in the world, the Isle of Wight.

Ford Puma LTT 2020As ever, the Puma proved easily roomy enough for two adults and one 6ft 2in teenager, and after an early start I settled down to enjoy the twisty roads at the start of the journey.

There’s no doubt that the ride’s a little firm in the sporting ST-Line X trim, but I can easily live with it, and it certainly wasn’t jiggly enough to stop my two passengers falling asleep as soon as we got to the motorway towards Southampton.

The Puma was small enough not to feel clumsy on the island’s small roads, and was easy enough to park on the street before we walked along the cliffs in search of a crab pasty at Steephill Cove, one of the most beautiful and atmospheric places in the world. That really is the truth.

The trip back was uneventful and (unsurprisingly) I did it while my passengers slept. Top day.

Euan doig

Tester's notes

• I prefer ‘normal’ cruise control to adaptive cruise, so was pleased to be able to switch off the radar. It’s just a shame the system has to ‘bong’ to warn me about this every time I use it.

• I’m willing to admit that it might be because of my age, but I’m really missing the fact that the front seats on this high-spec Puma aren’t heated.

The stats

Ford Puma 1.0 125 EcoBoost ST-Line X

P11D: £22,740

Official combined mpg: 49.6mpg

Our combined mpg: 64.9mpg

CO2: 127g/km

12 November 2020

The Ford Puma is undoubtedly fitting into my life (such as it is at the moment!) rather well.

You see, I love getting outdoors at every opportunity, be it on two wheels or two legs. So, for the past few weekends the Puma has ferried myself and my girlfriend to the back end of nowhere for us to trudge through the wilderness. No need for social distancing when there’s no one around, is my way of thinking!

The boot lip has proved to be at an ideal height for me to sit on when donning warm, rugged footwear for such expeditions, and the MegaBox compartment in the boot is perfect for storing muddy boots at the end of a (usually rain-sodden) traipse.

However, sometimes life gets in the way of such outdoor pursuits, but still the Puma has shown its mettle. My cooker recently went to that great kitchen in the sky, and I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get it to the tip. I needn’t have worried, because my measuring tape showed the cooker would fit into the Puma, and so it proved. Easy peasy.

Now, where are my ordnance survey maps?

Euan doig

Tester's notes

• On four or five occasions now, the hybrid system has switched off the engine as I slow down approaching a roundabout, with the engine jump-starting back into life as I lift the clutch. Which feels a bit odd.

• The sports seats in the Puma are great, because they hold me in corners and are comfortable on straights.

The stats

Ford Puma 1.0 125 EcoBoost ST-Line X

P11D: £22,740

Official combined mpg: 49.6mpg

Our combined mpg: 64.9mpg

CO2: 127g/km

27 October 2020

Ford Puma LTT 2020

I’ve already said (basically to anyone who’ll listen) just what a strong impression the Puma has made on me.

Ford Puma LTT 2020 bootI find myself becoming ever-more enamoured with the package it offers, and this was perfectly demonstrated recently, when we had to transport my girlfriend’s son to his new student house in Nottingham.

The car’s load-carrying ability belies its modest exterior dimensions, to the extent that we got most of his stuff in the Puma, with only the odd item in Tracey’s Fabia.

Better still, the efficient powertrain meant we averaged 48mpg on the trip up and back, which was better than I ever managed in my previous Corsa test car.

Euan doig

The stats

Ford Puma 1.0 125 EcoBoost ST-Line X

P11D: £22,740

Official combined mpg: 49.6mpg

Our combined mpg: 66.4mpg

CO2: 127g/km

12 October 2020

Ford Puma long-termer 2020

Finally got my hands on a test car that I’ve been eager to run ever since Mr ‘The Boss’ Barker said your next long-termer is a Ford Puma.

When I first saw pictures of the Puma, I was unconvinced by its looks, but I was wrong because it looks great in the metal, especially in the Grey Matter colour of our car.

Ford Puma long-termer 2020And ST-Line X trim is really well kitted out. For a start, I’m sitting on part-leather seats and staring ahead at a 12.3-inch digital instrument display, and I control the car using a part-leather flat-bottomed steering wheel and alloy sports pedals.

The car also has cruise control, climate control and automatic wipers and headlights, with automatic full beam. In addition to all that, there’s the Ford Sunc3 infotainment system, with Apple CarPlay, and a superb-sounding Bang and Olufsen sound system. Not bad, eh?

Initial impressions are that the Puma is a brilliant car to drive, with really sharp steering and the sort of gearshift that most sports cars would kill for. The 1.0-litre engine is punchy enough, aided by the mild-hybrid system. And I’m currently averaging around 45mpg, which is reasonable.

Luggage space is pretty decent, and the MegaBox space beneath the boot floor is huge, and has already proved its worth when taking my girlfriend’s son to university.

Euan doig

Tester's notes

• Visibility all round is great, with no noticeable blind spots. The view over each shoulder is especially good.

• The auto full beam works brilliantly, and I’m a fan of the way it ‘fades’ when lowering to dipped beam once more.

The stats

Ford Puma 1.0 125 EcoBoost ST-Line X

P11D: £22,740

Official combined mpg: 49.6mpg

Our combined mpg: tbc mpg

CO2: 127g/km