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BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Car Review

Ford Puma

£ 21,290
710
Published: 13 Jan 2020
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

The Puma isn't too heavy, so the 155bhp engine does a decent job, especially as it's torquey and quick-witted. (The mild hybrid system actually adds less weight than substituting a bigger engine would have.) It's worth revving high as the power keeps swelling toward 6,400rpm, but unfortunately so does the noise.

The mild-hybrid works entirely as advertised, making the engine drive like a bigger one, while still showing impressive economy when you're going gently. Also it does a great job of quick idle-stop in town, turning off the engine before you've stopped, and restarts instantly and magically at the very last moment before you need it to pull away.

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Spec the seven-speed auto 'box and you'll still get hybrid assistance, albeit with only 123bhp to play with. It really is worth changing gear yourself - the auto is slower from 0-62mph and produces more emissions, but at the same time costs £1,800 more than the equivalent manual.

The steering is very Ford-like if a bit more rubbery than in a Focus or Fiesta. It's intuitive and clean, with a bit of feel. The Puma contains cornering roll decently, and balances the grip at the front and back. You can bowl along through a set of tricky bends and it won't shirk the challenge.

To be clear - a Fiesta, certainly one with the ST-Line setup, is simply more fun. So's a Focus. But for a crossover, this is good. What isn't so good is the road noise, with some gritty hubbub coming through the tyres.

The ride is a little bobbly, but the suspension accepts big hits well enough. You sit 3cm higher off the floor than in a Fiesta, and the floor is 3cm higher off the road. That 6cm total lift is noticeable, but it's not exactly SUV altitude, and the driving position isn't too upright.

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The driving modes affect the powertrain and skid control, but not the suspension because that's passive. Also they change the instrument colours and fonts, but not in a distracting way. They're normal, eco (softens the throttle, emphasises regeneration), sport (quite a bit perkier on the open road but a bit sharp in town), slippery and trail.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

Ford Puma 1.5 EcoBoost ST [Performance Pack] 5dr
  • 0-626.7s
  • CO2134.0g/km
  • BHP200
  • MPG
  • Price£ 28,850

the cheapest

Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost ST-Line 5dr
  • 0-6210s
  • CO2103.0g/km
  • BHP125
  • MPG
  • Price£ 21,290

the greenest

Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost ST-Line 5dr
  • 0-6210s
  • CO2103.0g/km
  • BHP125
  • MPG
  • Price£ 21,290
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