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The Ford Puma is back, and it looks like *this*

Puma morphs from a coupe 'driven' by Steve McQueen to a Juke-rivaling SUV

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Remember the old Ford Puma? It was launched via an achingly cool Bullitt ad, with Steve McQueen digitally placed behind the wheel. It’s of full credit to the car’s styling that being dropped into the world’s most famous car chase didn’t seem jarring, too.

That Puma was just one of an army of small coupes that dominated the 1990s; the go-to alternative when you needed a small, affordable, practical-ish car, but didn’t want a boring old hatchback.

Sound familiar? That’s the same criteria that’s led to the small SUV – or crossover – coming to be. The sub-genre of car that’s also killed off the small coupe. It’s with some irony – or arguably total inevitability – that the Puma name returns on a diddly crossover, then, a Fiesta-sized thing that’ll take on the Nissan Juke, Seat Arona, VW T-Cross and a million others.

While Puma mk1 was penned by outgoing Jag design boss Ian Callum, and stands the test of time just as well as the Aston DB7 and Vanquish he also sketched, Puma mk2 is… different.

“We’ve gone to every length to give customers the flexibility they want, and the best-looking car they’ve ever owned,” says Stuart Rowley, president of Ford in Europe. The cynical might suggest those customers must surely be buying their first car.

The headlight shape feels familiar from Pumas of yore, but little else is, and there’s certainly a lot of styling squeezed onto a small car. Beauty is entirely in the eye of the beholder, so tell us how you feel below. The former Puma owners in our office – and there are several – aren’t yet sold on its reincarnation…

Of course, there’s more to it than styling. Such as a mild hybrid powertrain that melds a three-cylinder petrol engine with electrical assistance for up to 155bhp peak output. More power than any Puma coupe, the mighty Racing Puma included. Yikes. It’s linked to a six-speed manual we’re almost certain will be good, while there’ll be a diesel with an automatic gearbox available too. Yep, the Puma name really has changed.

Wheels of up to 19 inches are available, while a range of trim levels spans from sporty ST-Lines to a Titanium with plentiful leather and fake wood. There’s an almighty amount of tech available, with active safety tech stretching to something called ‘road edge detection’ – that’ll stop you casually driving onto verges or the hard shoulder – and ‘local hazard information’, which uses live ‘HERE’ mapping services to stay up to date about dangers that lurk around the corner.

The boot totals 456 litres and looks deep and cavernous, while you can also spec a massive 10-speaker B&O stereo, a big glass roof and massaging seats. Lots to like beneath the surface, then. But can you imagine Steve McQueen driving one?

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