Ford Puma review
If you’re looking for a small SUV, the Ford Puma is one of the best.
Published: 9 November 2022
A quick glance at any car website will show you that there are many small SUVs to choose from. But the Ford Puma is one of the most well-rounded and appealing of the bunch. Sold new since 2019, it has space for a family of four, a big boot with extra storage space and a generous amount of equipment as standard. On top of all that it also feels great to drive. You have a choice of several trim levels and engines with either a manual or automatic gearbox. And for those who enjoy their driving, there’s also the high-performance ST model.
- Great to drive
- Spacious interior
- Useful extra boot space
- No full-hybrid or electric models
- Top-spec version can be costly
- Interior looks a bit basic in places
Dashboard & tech
All Puma models have Ford’s ‘SYNC3’ infotainment system, which you control through an 8-inch touchscreen display. The built-in radio and sat nav are easy to find and use, but you can also connect your smartphone with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to use your preferred navigation and entertainment apps. All models also have air con, cruise control and rear parking sensors. High-spec models have extra features including a digital driver’s display and a Bang & Olufsen (B&O) sound system.
The Puma’s seats are firm and hold you in place well, so they stay comfortable during a long journey. You can adjust the driver’s seat and the steering wheel to suit the position you want. Top-of-the-range models have heated leather seats for chilly mornings and a massaging feature to soothe away aches and pains.
You get a comfortable ride from the Puma, even over speed humps and potholes. The sporty ST model feels even firmer but it’s far from uncomfortable.
The interior of the Puma lacks the design flair and premium feel of some of its rivals. Compared to, say, a Peugeot 2008, it looks quite conservative and the materials used aren’t as plush. That said, everything feels solid and the features are easy to find and to use.
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Practicality & boot space
The Ford Puma is surprisingly spacious inside for such a compact car. There’s a lot of headroom and legroom in the front, whatever your height, although models with the optional sunroof have a bit less headroom. There’s also more back-seat space than you get in some larger cars, making the Puma a fine family car. There are two sets of Isofix child-seat mounts in the back, at a convenient height for lifting small children in and out. Only the Puma’s narrowness counts against it, because there isn’t really enough room for a third passenger in the middle back seat.
The pockets on each door have an integrated half-litre bottle holder, plus space for phones, wallets and keys. There’s also a pair of cupholders between the front seats and a cubbyhole in front of the gearstick where some models have a wireless charging pad fitted. Lift up the front centre armrest and you’ll find a deep storage compartment. The glovebox is big enough for a few packets of your favourite biscuits.
The Puma’s boot has a huge amount of space for a car of this size – and it’s especially versatile (more on that in a bit). The 456-litre boot, big by small SUV standards, has enough space for five carry-on suitcases. That amount of room should be sufficient for most family needs. The boot is also quite close to the ground, so lifting in heavy stuff is fairly easy.
The height of the Puma’s boot floor is adjustable. At the higher setting, it’s level with the back bumper to make loading a breeze. At the lower setting, the boot’s about four inches deeper, creating considerably more storage space. Lift the boot floor up and you’ll find what Ford calls a Megabox. It’s basically a bucket made from hard-wearing plastic that can hold 80 litres of water or, more likely, muddy shoes, maps, empty shopping bags, footballs and so on. It also gives you a total boot height of 115cm – tall enough to stand a set of golf clubs. If you fill the Megabox with water, for example to clean it, there’s a plug in the bottom that twists out to drain away liquids and dirt. The back seats also fold down in two sections, in a 60/40 split, to make room for longer or bulkier loads.
The Puma proves that practical family cars can also be great to drive. From the driver’s seat, it feels light and agile which makes nipping down tight city streets and parking really easy. It can be very enjoyable on country roads while long motorway journeys are well within its comfort zone. The high-performance ST is really fast and can be a lot of fun, but it’s not quite as comfortable as other Puma models.
The Puma is only available with petrol engines, which Ford calls Ecoboost. You can choose power of 123bhp or 153bhp from the 1.0-litre engine, or the 198bhp 1.5-litre engine in the ST. The 1.0-litre engine gives good acceleration whichever version you choose: the 123bhp version is the most popular because it provides a great balance of performance and fuel economy. If you regularly drive on motorways, the 153bhp version may be a better choice because its extra power makes it less of an effort to maintain typical cruising speeds. The ST version is really fast for this type of car but there’s a trade-off when it comes to fuel economy.
Most Pumas have a manual gearbox that feels nice and light, slotting into each gear easily. There are also automatic models if you prefer, which feel smooth and responsive.
Fuel economy & CO2 emissions
According to official figures, Puma models with the 123bhp engine can give average fuel economy of up to 52.3mpg, with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of 99-131g/km, depending on the model. Those with the 153bhp engine can give up to 51.4mpg, with CO2 emissions of 101-134g/km. The ST gives you up to 41.5mpg with CO2 emissions of 155g/km. All of those numbers compare well with other small SUVs that have similar power and mean your annual Vehicle Excise Duty (car tax) is just £155.
Value for money
The Puma can cost more to buy than some other small SUVs, but it’s very generously equipped with standard features and is more practical than nearly all of its rivals.
Reliability & Warranty
The Puma feels very solidly made. The J.D. Power 2019 UK Vehicle Dependability Study put the Ford brand in the top half of the manufacturer rankings, suggesting that its cars are generally reliable.
Ford offers a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty on the Puma from new. This is in line with many other manufacturers, but there are several that offer longer coverage. For example, Toyota will give you five years of warranty cover on its cars and Kia offers seven years.
Safety experts Euro NCAP awarded the Puma a full five-star rating, noting that it should protect both adult and child passengers very well in an accident. Standard driver-assistance features include automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and a speed-limiter system. Some models also have adaptive cruise control and a rear-view camera.
Trims & Engines
There are five trim levels to choose from with the Puma. Titanium is the most affordable, but it’s still very generously equipped. Next is the sporty looking ST-Line, followed by ST-Line X, which adds some extra useful features. ST-Line Vignale has a more luxurious interior and unique styling details, while the high-performance ST rounds out the range.
Standard equipment on all Pumas includes a touchscreen infotainment system with built-in sat nav and DAB radio, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. They also have air con, cruise control and rear parking sensors, and many have a wireless phone-charging pad.
ST-Line models have sportier-looking wheels and bumpers and a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display instead of traditional dials. ST-Line X models also have a powerful B&O sound system and bigger, 18-inch wheels. On top of all that, the more luxurious ST-Line Vignale has chrome styling details and plusher seats upholstered in leather-like material. The front seats are heated (as is the steering wheel) and the driver’s seat features electric adjustment and a massaging function.
The ST gets its own set of sporty styling details, including 19-inch wheels and more-supportive sports seats. It has the same standard features as ST-Line X models, plus heated front seats and steering wheel, plus front parking sensors.
The Puma is available with 1.0-litre and 1.5-litre petrol engines. The 1.0-litre version comes with either 123bhp or 153bhp: the 123bhp is most popular because it gives an excellent balance of performance and fuel economy; the 153bhp option costs more and uses a bit more fuel, but its extra power makes it better for long motorway drives. Most 1.0-litre models have a mild-hybrid system that helps improve fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions. Manual and automatic gearboxes are available.
The 1.5-litre engine is found in the ST model, where its 198bhp contributes to a really fun driving experience. It’s only available with a manual gearbox.
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