With the hype still surrounding small crossovers and SUVs, Ford has turned its Puma into a near 200bhp hot crossover. Say hello to the Ford Puma ST.
We know what you’re thinking, isn’t this just a Fiesta ST with a top hat and on stilts? Well, yes and no. It carries over the 1.5-litre, three-cylinder 197bhp engine found in the Mk8 Fiesta ST, but Ford says that it is 40% stiffer than that of the Fiesta and this is to compensate for its higher centre of gravity and to make sure it handles and performs like an ST should. This is aided by retuned damping and anti-roll bar settings. Good news then.
What else do you get? Bigger brakes, sharper, quicker steering, 19-inch wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres and an option for the Performance Pack, which comes in at £950. This puts a Quaife Limited Slip Differential in between the front wheels. Probably not a necessity here, though.
Performance from the 1.5-litre is strong, much like the Fiesta ST. You’ll do 0-62mph in just 6.7 seconds and go onto 137mph. Not bad for a Fiesta on stilts, ay? You’ll also get 41mpg, so this seems to be the big brother to the Fiesta ST, aimed at those who have grown up and got a family, but still has a bit of a wild side.
Inside you’ll get the famous Ford Recaro seats, which are delightful. It’s also nice to see there is no automatic option in the Ford Puma ST, just a good old-fashioned manual setup with three pedals. You also get a 12.3-inch digital instrument display and a sport button for flicking through the modes, which includes a track mode that turns off the stability control and adds in the pops and bangs heard on the Mk8 Fiesta ST.
Ford’s Performance manager for Europe said: “Real driving enthusiasts aren’t going to settle for less excitement just because life demands a more ‘sensible’ car, so our number one priority was that the Puma ST had to be as exhilarating and capable as every ST model, without sacrificing any of Puma’s practicality. We believe that we have the best-handling small SUV in its segment. It really does feel connected and has the true ST feel. It is a joy to drive.”
For those in the market for a crossover with some performance, we’re willing to bet the Ford Puma ST will deliver on that front, and given it doesn’t have any direct rivals, it should sell well, too. We know Ford makes some cracking chassis and we’re sure that it’s team of engineers have transformed what is a fairly ugly crossover (we’re not going to sit here and pretend it’s pretty) into a car that is at least great to drive. We just hope this £28,495 crossover doesn’t spell the future of hot hatches.