SUVs and CUVs sell, and it’s no surprise that car manufacturers are focusing more on expanding their high-riding offerings. Ford is one such carmaker, and it has just added another subcompact crossover to its range.
The American company has finally pulled the wraps off its new Fiesta-based Puma crossover. The Blue Oval wanted the vehicle’s styling to be ‘athletic’ and ‘desirable,’ and we think the design team might have nailed it.
Unlike the tall EcoSport, which has a more traditional SUV roofline, the Puma has a sleeker, more car-like profile. Up front, it wears the prominent inverted hexagonal grille we’ve seen in other new small Fords. Sitting up high on each front corner are large slanted, canoe-shaped headlights reminiscent of the ones on the GT supercar.
Moving on to the sides, we see a curved fender line extending toward the muscular rear haunches. The rear end features slim horizontal taillights. The Ford logo and the Puma badge are proudly displayed at the center of the liftgate, giving it a cleaner, more premium look.
Inside, the cockpit gets the new Fiesta’s dashboard and a three-spoke steering wheel. In front of the driver is a fully digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster, a feature not very common in this segment. Like most new Fords, the Puma has the now-familiar floating-tablet-style SYNC 3 infotainment touchscreen as well as a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Despite the Puma’s sleek exterior, it boasts a class-leading 456-liter cargo space behind the rear seats with the adjustable floor removed. A hands-free tailgate system makes loading cargo easier.
At launch, the Puma will be available with a pair of gasoline engines: the familiar 123hp 1.0-liter EcoBoost mill, and a new 153hp 1.0-liter EcoBoost Hybrid option. The latter features a 48-volt mild hybrid system with an 11.5kW belt-driven integrated starter/generator (BISG). Auto start/stop and cylinder deactivation are among the powerplant technologies offered. As expected from a European model, a six-speed manual transmission comes as standard. EcoBlue diesel units and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission option will later join the lineup.
On the safety side, the gets the Ford’s Co-Pilot360 technologies, which include adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, speed-sign recognition and lane centering, and a blind-spot information system with cross-traffic alert.
The Ford Puma will be manufactured at the Craiova Assembly Plant in Romania, and will reach European dealerships by the end of the year. The Dearborn-based carmaker still hasn’t confirmed any plans for it global availability, but we think a model like this could sell in our market. It would be the perfect rival for car-like crossover SUVs like the Hyundai Kona and the Mazda CX-3.
Would you consider buying a Ford Puma if it were offered it in our market? Let us know what you think.