Ford Puma review
The Ford Puma looks the part, is a hoot to drive and comes with a sizable boot; but other SUVs are comfier on the road and provide a better view out
What's not so good
Find out more about the Ford Puma
The Ford Puma is a spunky small crossover SUV that goes up against alternatives such as the Skoda Kamiq, Renault Captur and Volkswagen T-Cross.
To look at it’s much the same as those cars. It’s got the raised up driving position, the eye-catching design, and a sort of miniature SUV shape; but rather unlike those models the little Ford also places a huge amount of emphasis on simple driving fun too.
Those of you with particularly long memories might be able to recall the original Puma Coupe of the 1990s, but don’t think this new version is some half-hearted come-back tour from a washed-up classic rock band – it’s much better than that.
To start with, it still looks pretty great. Traces of that original car’s design still shine through in here – particularly from the front. It just manages to mix just the right amount of cheeky character on the one hand and visual aggression on the other. A Nissan Juke might wear an even sharper suit, but this Puma is by no means scruffy.
Unfortunately, its cabin drags the chain a bit. There’s nothing wrong with it from a functionality standpoint, but fairly heavy use of scratchy plastics means it looks and feels a bit bland and cheap. A Peugeot 2008’s interior is much more modern and classy.
Still, the Ford is at least well-equipped on the tech front. Even the entry-level Titanium Design models get an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity; and regular sat nav is available on all other models in the range. A wireless charge pad is available on certain variants too; as is a fully-digital instrument cluster – just like you get on plenty of posh German SUVs.
The Ford Puma is worth considering if you're looking for something that’ll carry bulky luggage as easily as it’ll turn your frown upside down on a twisty country road
That said, those cars do have a fair bit more space in the back than the Puma. Taller adults will probably find it to be a wee bit cramped, so if that’s a concern for you then maybe take a look at a Volkswagen T-Cross or Skoda Kamiq instead.
Luckily, it does have a pretty handy boot. Outright space is decent enough, but one particularly clever feature is the so-called ‘Megabox’ that sits beneath the floor. Basically, it’s a waterproof compartment with a plug in the floor for easy cleaning and drainage, and it’s the perfect place for things like muddy hiking boots or soaked wet-weather gear.
But just because the Puma has somewhere you can stash your outdoor equipment, don’t be fooled into thinking that it’ll be able to follow you off the beaten trail. It’s front-wheel-drive only; and its engine line-up is made up of economical 125hp and 155hp 1.0-litre petrol engines with mild-hybrid assist – so it’s far more suited to city streets than muddy fields.
Still, it is a very easy, stress-free car to drive around town. The steering is light and accurate, and its six-speed manual gearbox is slick and smooth. The view out the back is a bit tight, though.
It’s ride is a bit firmer over bumps than a Skoda Kamiq’s – particularly if you go for one of the ST-Line models with their sports suspension – and there’s a bit more wind noise and tyre roar out on the motorway too. But the little Puma more than makes up for this on windy country roads – it really is one of the most eager and entertaining compact SUVs around. There’s even a full-fat 200hp Puma ST model if you want even more sporting flair.
Read on for our in-depth Ford Puma colour, interior, practicality and driving review sections or head over to our Ford deals page to see how much you can save on your next new car.
Ford Puma Colours
Depending on the trim level you go for, you’ve got nine colours to choose from when buying a new Ford Puma. On Titanium Design, Titanium, ST-Line Design, ST-Line and ST-Line X models, the standard colour is Blazer Blue. This is a no-cost option.
Then you come to what Ford calls the Premium body colours. First up is Frozen White, which is a £275 on Titanium Design, Titanium, ST-Line Design, ST-Line and ST-Line X models. On ST-Line Vignale and ST models, it’s a no-cost colour.
Next up are Agate Black and Solar Silver. On Titanium Design, Titanium, ST-Line Design, ST-Line and ST-Line X cars they cost £525. On ST-Line Vignale and ST models they’re set at £275 – although Solar Silver isn’t available on ST models.
Then you come to the Exclusive colours: Magnetic, Desert Island Blue, Fantastic Red and Grey Matter. On Titanium Design, Titanium, ST-Line Design, ST-Line and ST-Line X cars, Magnetic and Desert Island Blue cost £675; on ST-Line Vignale and ST, they’re £425.
Meanwhile, Fantastic Red and Grey Matter are £775 on Titanium Design, Titanium, ST-Line Design, ST-Line and ST-Line X cars; and £525 on ST-Line Vignale and ST models.
Finally, Mean Green is available exclusively on ST cars and costs £525.
|Blazer Blue||No Cost|
|Desert Island Blue||£675|
|Mean Green (ST models only)||£525|
You don’t sit up that high in the Puma, as you do in other small SUVs, but there’s decent storage space and fitting a child seat is easy
The Ford Puma might be closely related to the dinky Ford Fiesta, but it’s larger SUV-shaped body means there’s more room inside. Because it sits slightly higher up than the little hatchback, it’s easier to get in and out of too. The seats and steering wheel are also impressively adjustable, so getting comfy behind the wheel is a breeze regardless of how tall you are.
ST-Line Design models and above get lumbar and height adjustment for the driver’s seat, while higher-end ST-Line X cars get the same adjustment for the passenger seat too. Range-topping ST-Line Vignale models get massaging front seats.
So it’s comfy in the front then, but the same isn’t quite true of the back seats. You get a bit more room than you do in a Toyota C-HR; but the Puma’s sloped roofline cuts into headspace a bit. Taller passengers will find a Nissan Juke or Skoda Kamiq to be much more accommodating. You can option a panoramic sunroof on all models for £950, but be warned that this cuts into rear headroom even more.
Still, there’s enough kneeroom back there to let adults sit behind a taller driver comfortably, and you’ll be able to squeeze three kids across the back row easily enough on short trips.
The two back seats both come fitted with Isofix child seat anchor points as well. To be honest, they’re a bit tricky to find, but the upshot is that the seat padding doesn’t get in the way when you slide a baby seat in.
The rear doors open nice and wide too, and there’s enough space in the back for you to fit in a larger rear-facing child seats without having to put the front seats forward.
There isn’t a huge number of storage compartments in the Puma, but the ones that are there are decent enough. The glovebox is pretty large; there are a number of cupholders in the centre console; and there’s a handy storage tray beneath the dashboard. This features a wireless charge pad on higher-spec models. There are a number of USB ports dotted around the cabin too.
Meanwhile, there’s also a storage compartment beneath the front armrest, but it isn’t all that big. Still, it’s deep enough to hold a one-litre bottle of water securely in place. The rear door bins are big enough to hold a small-ish bottle and you can get some netted cubbies on the back of the front seats.
The Ford Puma’s 456-litre boot is larger than what you’ll find in alternatives such as the Skoda Kamiq and the Nissan Juke; and roughly on a par with the likes of the Volkswagen T-Cross and the Renault Captur.
The opening is nice and wide for easy loading, and there isn’t much of a lip to speak of either. You get a handy number of tether points and shopping hooks to help keep everything from sliding about while you’re driving too.
You also get a folding fabric load cover that lifts up further than a regular parcel shelf when you open the boot, and it’s super easy to remove and stash away beneath the boot floor when you need a bit of additional storage space.
On that note, the Ford Puma comes with a clever adjustable boot floor, so if you’ve got taller items such as pot plants that need transporting you can drop it down a level and fit them in a bit easier.
Lifting out the floor also reveals the so-called Megabox. This 68-litre compartment is waterproof, and can be used to stash away wet or muddy hiking boots, or it can even be filled with ice and used as a drinks cooler. When you’re done with it, just pop the plug out and you can easily drain and then rinse it out. Great idea.
The Ford Puma isn’t the most comfortable small SUV to drive, but it comes with plenty of standard safety kit and it’s impressively good fun on an empty country road.
You can have the standard Ford Puma with a choice of two engines. They’re both turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engines, but one outs out 125hp and the other develops 150hp. Both versions are front-wheel-drive, and can be had with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic gearbox.
They all feature mild-hybrid assistance for small gains in fuel efficiency and a bit of additional power when you’re moving away from the lights, too. Ford says you should see around 50mpg from both engines, but you’re probably going to see closer to 40mpg unless you’re regularly driving out of town.
There’s now a sporty Puma ST performance model available too. It gets a 200hp 1.5-litre engine, and a 0-60mph time of 6.7 seconds.
Being a small SUV rather than a supermini, the Ford Puma has a higher driving position than the Fiesta to which it is so closely related. That said, you’re not quite as perched as you are in other SUVs such as the Skoda Kamiq and Volkswagen T-Cross, but the view out is still pretty good.
Reasonably narrow front pillars gives you a good line of sight forwards, and although the rear window is on the small side, you can still see more of what’s going on behind you than you can in a Nissan Juke or Toyota C-HR. That’s handy when you’re trying to park in tight spaces, as is the car’s light steering and the availability of a rear parking – which comes as part of the £450 Parking Pack.
If there’s one bugbear, it’s that the sports suspension that’s fitted to ST-Line versions of the Puma is fairly firm, so it doesn’t absorb lumps and bumps in the road quite as easily as a softer Skoda Kamiq. Titanium versions go without, though, and they’re much comfier as a result.
The cheapest engine option, the 125hp, feels most at home pottering around town.
On the motorway
The Puma isn’t quite as comfortable or refined on the motorway as the likes of the Volkswagen T-Cross and Skoda Kamiq are. You get a bit of wind noise and tyre roar as you trundle along, and you can sometimes hear the three-cylinder petrol engine whirring away too. Standard cruise control and lane-keeping assist do come as standard though, which is helpful; and if you spec the £900 Driver Assistance Pack you add in adaptive cruise as well.
The 125hp engine has enough poke to help you keep pace in fast-moving traffic, but if you want a quick hit of acceleration you’ll need to drop down a couple of gears. Left in top gear, it can take a little while to get going when you floor the accelerator.
On a twisty road
This is where that firmer sports suspension really comes into play. The Puma is by far and away the most fun small SUV you can buy today – it’ll make you smile far more than a VW T-Cross or Skoda Kamiq will. It darts around corners with plenty of vim and vigour, and there isn’t too much roll through the corners either. Even if you don’t go for a car with the firmer sports suspension, it’s still an enjoyable, eager handling little car.
The six-speed manual gearbox is really slick and smooth-shifting too, and there’s even a sport mode that can add a bit more weight to the keen steering and increase the car’s throttle response.
The 155hp feels pretty nippy too, and there’s a good amount of low-down shove available to prevent you from having to make too many gear changes.
You get an impressive amount of infotainment kit as standard in the Puma, but its interior doesn’t feel all that upmarket compared to some alternatives
Ford Puma colours
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*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.