Two separate images of a blue Ford Puma and red Toyota C-HR driving. Between the two images is a circle with 'vs' in the centre.

Ford Puma vs Toyota C-HR: which is best?

Which is best for you, the Ford Puma or the Toyota C-HR? Our guide can help you decide.

Phill Tromans Cazoo

By Phill Tromans

Published: 31 January 2024

The Ford Puma and the Toyota C-HR are great small SUVs, with much to recommend about each. But which might be the best car for you?

Let’s look at their strengths and weaknesses to reveal which one we think is the better buy.

We’ll consider the only version of the Ford Puma SUV, first released in 2020, and the Toyota C-HR that was sold new between 2017 and 2023, rather than the all-new C-HR introduced in 2024.

Ford Puma vs Toyota C-HR: size

The Ford Puma and the Toyota C-HR are both compact SUVs but the Toyota is slightly larger. It’s 439cm long, while the Ford is 420cm long, making it 19cm shorter than the C-HR.

When it comes to width, including its door mirrors, the Toyota measures a shade over two metres including its door mirrors, making it 12cm wider than the Ford. The C-HR is taller, too, measuring 155cm up to the top of its roof off the ground – the Puma’s roof is lower by about a centimetre.

Ford Puma

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Toyota C-HR

Ford Puma vs Toyota C-HR: interior and tech

Inside, the Ford Puma is more restrained and functional in its design than the Toyota C-HR. The Ford is smart, practical and well made, but it doesn’t feel particularly premium or have much design flair. The Toyota has a more high-tech look, and although the materials feel more hardwearing than premium, everything is solidly put together.

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.

Toyota’s infotainment system is less impressive, looking somewhat dated by modern standards. It’s fairly slow and clunky to use, but it does have support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Ford Puma

Toyota C-HR

Ford Puma vs Toyota C-HR: practicality

Although it’s the larger car, the Toyota C-HR actually loses out to the Puma when it comes to overall practicality. The interior is not bad in the Toyota – adults have lots of space up front and there are plenty of pockets and cubby holes to keep odds and ends – but headroom in the back is limited for taller adults and the back windows are small so it can feel a bit claustrophobic in that second row of seats.

The Ford, meanwhile, is surprisingly spacious, with a very decent amount of room in the back, even compared with larger cars. About the only downside is that it’s quite narrow, which means getting three in the back will be a squeeze. Mind you, it’s tight for three in the back of the C-HR, too. The Puma is packed with storage spots, including a big compartment under the front centre armrest and integrated bottle holders in the door pockets.

Ford Puma

Toyota C-HR

Ford Puma vs Toyota C-HR: boot space

The Ford Puma has a bigger boot than the Toyota C-HR. Most versions of the Puma have a 456-litre boot capacity (measured up to the load cover), compared with a capacity of 377 litres for the C-HR.

Although the main boot compartment in both cars is about the same size there’s an extra 80-litre watertight storage compartment under the Puma’s boot floor, known as the Megabox. It has a plug at the bottom and is a great place to store muddy sports equipment or boots. You could even fill it with ice and enjoy cold drinks on a day away – just pull the plug when you’re done and rinse it clean.

Ford Puma

Toyota C-HR

Ford Puma vs Toyota C-HR: which is best to drive?

The Toyota C-HR is an enjoyable car to drive but its problem here is that the Ford Puma is truly exceptional. The Toyota comes with a choice of engines, although every version sold new from 2018 onwards is a full hybrid. You’ll find the C-HR feels nippy around town and stable at higher speeds, although its interior does get a bit noisy on motorway due to a combination of noise from the engine, tyres and wind rushing over the car.

The Ford Puma, though, is the best-driving car of this type. All standard Puma models come with a 1.0-litre, mild-hybrid engine. They’re all quick to accelerate and are equally happy around town, on country roads or cruising on the motorway. The steering feels sharp and agile and it’s genuinely fun to drive on a winding B-road. If you’re a driving enthusiast, this is the small SUV for you.

There’s also a high-performance version, called the Puma ST, which is great fun to drive and more sporty looking than the standard Puma.

Ford Puma

Toyota C-HR

Ford Puma vs Toyota C-HR: which costs less to own?

The Toyota C-HR has been on the market longer than the Ford Puma, which means there are older used models around. That said, the Puma is exceedingly good value as a used car. Like for like in terms of age and mileage, you’ll pay around the same for each car.

Running costs in the Puma are fairly low thanks to the small engine and mild-hybrid system. Depending on which version of the 1.0-litre engine you go for, you’ll get up to 52.3mpg, according to official figures.

Early C-HRs came with 1.2-litre petrol engines, but the car has been full-hybrid-only since 2019. The petrol engine will give you up to 41.5mpg, according to official figures, but if fuel efficiency is your priority, go for a hybrid model. You can expect up to 57.7mpg from the 1.8-litre hybrid and up to 53.3mpg from the more powerful 2.0-litre version.

Ford Puma

Toyota C-HR

Ford Puma vs Toyota C-HR: safety

The Ford Puma earned five stars out of five when the safety organisation Euro NCAP tested it back in 2019. Unusually, it was tested again in 2022 and scored only four stars. This is largely because safety standards have moved on since the original test and the Puma lacks some of the very latest safety systems that you’d find in a brand new car.

The Toyota C-HR, meanwhile, scored the maximum five stars when tested in 2017 and it does come with plenty of advanced driver safety systems, but the above caveat still applies.

Ford Puma vs Toyota C-HR: dimensions

Ford Puma

Length: 4,207mm

Width: 1,930mm (including side mirrors)

Height: 1,537mm

Boot space: 456 litres

Toyota C-HR

Length: 4,390mm (from 2,020), 4,360mm (pre-2020)

Width: 2,050mm (including side mirrors)

Height: 1,555mm (from 2020), 1,550mm (pre-2020)

Boot space: 377 litres

Ford Puma vs Toyota C-HR: verdict

Winner: Ford Puma

Let’s cut to the chase – we think the best car of these two is the Ford Puma. It’s very practical for its size and feels great to drive, with a solid, comfortable interior and sensible running costs. But it’s not a total walkover – the Toyota C-HR also has much to recommend, including its stylish looks, low carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and a reputation for reliability. It’s also good to drive, although not as good as the Puma, and it suffers from a lack of interior space compared to the Ford.

Overall, though, we think you’d be happy with either of these compact SUVs and it’s easy to see why they’ve proved so popular.

Ford Puma

Toyota C-HR

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