Look, we don’t want to come over all ‘old man shouts at cloud’ here, but this one hurts. It’s the perfect case study of the cars we used to want, versus the cars the world wants now. In 1997, Ford’s idea for a healthier bottom line was to take the humble Mk4 Fiesta, clothe it in a feline two-door body, have chassis genius Richard Parry-Jones set up the handling, and develop a completely bespoke, Yamaha-honed 1.7-litre, 123bhp engine that was exclusive to the Puma. The Focus, Ka and even the Fiesta never got a sniff. It was a smash hit, out-driving the mainstream coupe rivals of the time, which, in fairness, were rubbish. We’re talking dullards like the Corsa-based Vauxhall Tigra and Renault’s Megane Coupe. Puma MkI was euthanised in 2002 and never replaced.
Fast-forward to 2019 and coupes are dead in the water. Hatchbacks don’t spawn two-doors; they’re the launchpad for the opposite: taller, ruftier crossover SUVs. And so, the Puma’s morphed into yet another take on the well-trodden Qashqai & Co cliche. It’s all a bit off-the-shelf. More 2019ness comes in the form of a hybrid drivetrain. Ford promises it’ll handle, well, like a Ford, but we’ll be consoling ourselves in the brilliant Fiesta ST instead.