26th April 2021
It’s rare for test cars to come in readily comparable specifications, but Ford has got closer than most with this Puma that arrived this morning. It’s an ST-Line, so the same spec as another I had recently, but this one has the 125hp version of the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine and no mild hybrid tech. It also has a dual clutch automatic transmission where the previous one was a manual, so it’s an interesting counterpoint for company drivers.
A drive into Glasgow today to drop off the family car for some servicing work. My wife drives the Volvo and I contemplate the Puma there and back. I had worried the lower power engine and auto ’box might dull the driving experience, but the Ford is ideal for this type of mostly motorway effort. It zips up to 70mph without fuss from the slip road and cruises quietly, returning 46.0mpg to be bang in the middle of its upper and lower claimed combined figures.
A very different sort of driving today for the Puma as we head over the back roads to take my son to football practice. It’s a 10-mile journey on some appallingly rutted, winding lanes yet the Puma is unfazed. The suspension processes the bumps with unerring deftness, which makes it a far more enjoyable journey as I’m not wincing at every turn. I do wince at my son’s insistence on listening to pop music all the way there and back, mind…
A late evening dash to the supermarket when you live in the sticks means getting in the car and heading about 15 minutes away to grab some milk as we’ve run out for tomorrow’s breakfast. It shows up something I hadn’t noticed in the previous Puma, namely the very bright puddle light in the shape of the, you’ve guessed it, Puma feline. Okay, it’s a gimmick, but it made me smile.
Something else that makes me feel good about this Ford Puma is the gear lever. To some, it might seem like a very nerdy spot, but simple gear stick in this automatic transmission model is big, easy to slot into the required gear and doesn’t need a quantum physics doctorate to fathom. When so many other cars, some Fords included, try to reinvent the simple gear stick for no discernible reason, this one is welcome respite.
As you’ve probably gathered by now, the Puma is a car that’s impressed me on many fronts. It handles really well, and not just for a crossover but by any standards. It also rides well, is refined, and is compact enough to fit on my drive without poking its nose into the lane – risking the brush of some less careful drives as they pass. The Puma also feels very well screwed together and comfortable.
A bit of Sunday number crunching shows this Puma has hit its average fuel economy figure perfectly throughout the week, even though I’ve enjoyed the revvy nature of the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine. It’s a sweet motor in 125hp form. For company drivers, this auto version creeps up a couple of tax bands over the hybrids and adds £1600 to the price. However, if you need an automatic, it’s as good as you’re going to get.