Ford’s revival of the Puma name has made its first UK debut at this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The model, which sees the small coupe of the late nineties morphing into a sporty compact crossover, is subtly but effectively different from its established SUV rivals.
Officially, the company describes the Puma as an “SUV-inspired crossover”, with its three standout virtues claimed to be “seductive styling”, ingenious rear stowage and the new 48V mild-hybrid petrol drivetrain.
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The body’s flowing surfaces have been developed under what designer George Saridakis labels an “anti-wedge” policy. What he calls “separated” headlights and tail-lights are also a move against the current trends for “joining everything up”, Saridakis citing the industry fashion for full-width light bars across a vehicle’s tail.
Ford says the hybrid assistance has allowed the engine’s compression ratio to be lowered and a larger turbocharger to be fitted, as the BISG can mitigate turbo lag and keep the engine turning faster.
Performance at lower speeds is especially enhanced, says Steffens, with as much as 50% more torque on offer. That improves fuel economy by around 9% on the WLTP economy test. This three-cylinder engine can also switch to two-cylinder running to save fuel and, in stop/start mode, the BISG can restart the engine in 300 milliseconds. Ford says the 48V model’s overall WLTP economy will be 124g/km.
A 1.5-litre diesel with a six-speed manual gearbox will also be offered and is expected to be rated at 123g/km.
On the handling side, Steffens says the Puma gets a new setting for the electronic power steering, a stiffer attachment for the beam axle and five-stud hubs for a more rigid fixing of the wheels compared with the Fiesta on which it is based.
Ford’s hopes for the Puma are also reflected in the list of upmarket options. It will be one of the first Ford models to take local hazard information from the HERE data network, receiving live updates of congestion, crashes, ice and pothole warnings, for example.
Adaptive cruise control, blindspot information, pre-collision assist and even lumbar massage front seats show how Ford wants to combine the potential of an executive-level spec in a town-friendly package.
Why has you decided to offer diesel engines again, alongside the new 48v Mild hybrid petrol engine?
Norbert Steffens, chief engineer Ford Puma: “The 1.5-litre diesel engine is still very slightly more economical than the new hybrid petrol under WLTP testing conditions. We absolute believe that the latest diesel engines are now completely clean [in pollution terms], as clean as petrol. The diesel Puma has a 12-litre Urea tank which will need re-filling between every 2500 and 6000 kilometres. Winter conditions and lots of short journeys are mean much more regular Adblue fill-ups, but that is how we ensure the lowest pollution.”