Ford Puma Review
The Ford Puma is fun to drive and comes with super-practical boot, but it isn’t quite as comfortable as some less grin-inducing alternatives and you don’t sit up high like in most SUVs
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- Stylish design
- Lots of standard kit
- Big boot comes with lots of clever features
What's not so good
- A bit cramped in the back
- Alternatives are more comfortable
- You sit lower down than you would in other SUVs
Ford Puma: what would you like to read next?
Don’t let the name fool you – the Ford Puma isn’t a snarling sportscar of an SUV. Instead, this fun little family car is more perky pussycat than ferocious feline – it looks pretty slinky, it’s easy to live with and has more character than your average snooze-loving moggie.
Take its styling, for example. It won’t turn as many heads as a Nissan Juke, but compared with the sensible Skoda Kamiq and boxy VW T-Cross, the Ford Puma’s curvy body and grinning front end make it look aggressive and cheeky in equal measure.
Sadly, you can’t say the same about the Ford Puma’s cabin. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it looks very similar to the Fiesta’s interior and doesn’t feel particularly special. A Peugeot 2008 interior is much more modern and classy.
Luckily, there are plenty of gizmos to take your mind of the Puma’s slightly scratchy plastics and nondescript design. All models get an 8-inch touchscreen with sat-nav and smartphone mirroring and ST-Line cars add a widescreen digital driver’s display – just like you get in many posh German SUVs.
Unlike these cars, the Ford Puma feels pretty cramped in the back, though. It’s not the cosiest small SUV out there, but you’ll be better off with a VW T-Cross or Skoda Kamiq if you regularly carry tall passengers.
Helping the Puma claw back (sorry) some points are all the clever features in its boot including an easy-to-use adjustable floor and waterproof storage box. This Megabox (yep, that’s really what Ford calls it) has a plug at the bottom, so you can carry muddy luggage under the floor, then hose it clean and drain the dirty water away when you’re done. Just the thing if you plan to do any hiking in your SUV.
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
Don’t go thinking that the Ford Puma will cope with any serious off-roading, though. Like most small SUVs it comes with front-wheel drive only and its 1.0-litre petrol engines are more at home in town than exploring muddy jungles looking for real pumas.
Stick to the city and you’ll find the Ford Puma is a doddle to drive. You don’t really sit up that high up as you would expect in an SUV. Still its light controls and smooth six-speed gearbox make parking pretty stress-free.
You’ll feel bumps through your seat a little more than in the Skoda Kamiq, Toyota C-HR and VW T-Cross, however, and the Ford isn’t as quiet as these cars on a motorway, but head down a twisty road and the Puma is all too keen to have you grinning like the Cheshire Cat. It doesn’t just feel light and nimble for an SUV – it’ll give some hatchbacks a run for their money, too.
If you fancy something even sportier, you’ll be pleased to hear that a fast ST model is coming in early 2021. Even if you aren’t looking for a thrill-a-minute SUV, though, the Ford Puma is well worth a look thanks to its combination of good standard tech, practical boot and stylish looks.
Read on for our in-depth Ford Puma 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.
You don’t sit up high in the Puma, as you do in other small SUVs, but there’s decent storage space and fitting a child seat is easy
Ford’s Megabox underfloor storage bin is one of the neatest storage solutions of any car
The Ford Puma shares plenty of its components with the Ford Fiesta hatchback but its larger body means there’s more space inside its cabin. It’s easier to step inside the Ford Puma thanks to its raised roof and larger front doors and there’s plenty of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel to help tall and small driver’s get comfortable.
Every Ford Puma comes with adjustable lumbar support too – just the thing to help stop you getting a bad back on long drives – and Titanium models get the benefit of an electric lumbar massage function.
There isn’t much space in the Ford Puma’s back seats, however. Sure, there’s more space than you get in a Toyota C-HR, but the Ford Puma’s sloping roof means tall passengers will be much more comfortable in a Nissan Juke or Skoda Kamiq – especially if you go for the optional panoramic glass roof that cuts into headroom significantly.
That said, there’s just enough knee room for adults to sit behind a six-foot-tall driver and three kids will have enough room on for shorter journeys. At least the Ford Puma’s relatively low rear window sills mean they’ll have a better view out than in a Nissan Juke or Toyota C-HR.
The Ford Puma comes with two sets of Isofix anchor points in the back for fitting child seats. These are a bit tricky to see, but at least the seat padding doesn’t get in the way when you slide in a baby seat. The back doors open nice and wide and there’s room to clip in a bulky rear-facing child seat without having to move the front seats forward.
The Ford Puma isn’t exactly awash with handy storage areas, but it’s good enough. The glovebox is fairly big, there’s a trio of cupholders in the centre console and you get a nifty storage tray under the dashboard which can be had with wireless charging. The storage tray under the front armrest isn’t all that wide and the front door bins are rather thin, but at least they’re deep enough to securely hold a one-litre bottle.
There’s a USB charging port in front of the gear lever and between the front seats, but you don’t get a folding armrest or any cupholders in the back. 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 has 456 litres of bootspace. That’s much more than you can fit in a Skoda Kamiq or a Nissan Juke and about the same as the VW T-Cross and Renault Captur can carry.
There isn’t much of a load lip to worry about and the boot itself is wide and square so you can pack it with a decent number of suitcases or boxes without any hassle. There’s only a slight step between the boot opening and the boot floor, so you can slide heavy luggage in easily and you get a decent number of tether points and shopping hooks to help hold everything nice and securely.
The Ford Puma comes with a clever folding fabric load cover that automatically lifts up further than your typical solid parcel shelf. It’s dead easy to remove and you can tuck it out of the way under the boot floor if you need some extra space.
Speaking of which, every Ford Puma comes with an adjustable boot floor so you can easily drop the floor lower to carry taller items or tilt it forward to stow the floor up against the back of the rear seats. Doing so opens up the Puma’s party piece – its Megabox. This is a 68-litre waterproof box under the boot floor that’s perfect for storing muddy camping gear, washing down a pet or filling with ice and using as a drinks cooler. It even comes with a removable drain plug so you can hose it out without filling your Puma’s boot with water.
If you need to carry very large items, leave the boot floor in its raised position and fold the back seats down. This opens up a 1,216-litre space that’s a little smaller than the VW T-Cross’ boot and some 10% smaller than the loadbay you get in a Skoda Kamiq. There isn’t an annoying step behind the rear seats though, so it’s dead easy to slide in heavy luggage, but you can’t get the Puma with a ski hatch like the VW T-Cross, so you can’t carry two passengers in the back and some long luggage poking through from the boot.
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
Sharing plenty of parts with the grin-a-minute Fiesta means the Ford Puma is one of the most fun small SUVs to drive
Currently, the Ford Puma is available with just two engines – both 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol units driving the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox with the help of a mild-hybrid system. Although, this last item just serves to give you a little extra power when you accelerate hard.
The cheapest option is a 125hp engine that feels most at home pottering around town but has enough power to cope with the odd motorway journey without feeling strained. It produces a bit of a grumble when you accelerate hard, but it settles into a reasonably quiet cruise. Press the accelerator hard in sixth gear, however, and it takes some time to build up speed. You will need to change down a gear when overtaking slow-moving traffic as a result.
The more powerful 155hp engine makes the Ford Puma feel pretty sporty for a small SUV. It’ll reach 60mph from rest in under nine seconds – almost a second faster than the 125hp version – and copes with faster roads very well. Sure, it produces a similar thrumming noise when you accelerate hard, but it has enough power to tackle a series of twisty corners without the need for too many gear changes.
Ford claims both engines will return close to 50mpg in normal driving conditions, but you’ll more likely see a figure in the high thirties to low forties.
You’ll soon be able to get the Ford Puma with a diesel engine and an automatic gearbox – a worthwhile upgrade if you do lots of long journeys.
You sit higher in the Ford Puma than you do in the Fiesta on which it’s based, but you don’t feel like you’re looking down on other cars like you do in the boxier VW T-Cross and Skoda Kamiq.
That’s not to say the Ford Puma’s tricky to see out of – the pillars beside the windscreen are pretty narrow and you can see more out of the rear windscreen than in either the Nissan Juke or Toyota C-HR. The light steering makes it easy to manoeuvre in town and you can get a reversing camera to help you squeeze into tight parking spaces.
The Ford Puma’s suspension is a little on the firm side – especially in ST Line cars – so it doesn’t soak up bumps in town as well as a Skoda Kamiq, VW T-Cross or Peugeot 2008, but neither does it feel overly bouncy. Head out onto a twisty country road, however, and the Puma feels more nimble than these cars. It’ll nip from corner to corner with the enthusiasm of a small hatchback with barely any body lean – so passengers shouldn’t feel car-sick after a few hours on the road.
Add to this a six-speed manual gearbox that’s dead easy to use and standard selectable driving modes that add weight to the steering and make the accelerator pedal more responsive in their sportiest settings, and you’ve got one of the most fun-to-drive small SUVs on sale.
Even with the Ford Puma set to its most chilled-out setting, it isn’t quite as relaxing to drive on motorways as a VW T-Cross or Skoda Kamiq. You’ll hear a little more wind and tyre noise than in these cars and the three-cylinder petrol engines are a touch noisier when you accelerate. You do get cruise control and lane-departure warning as standard to help keep you safe
The Ford Puma’s cabin comes with an impressive amount of standard infotainment kit but it doesn’t look or feel as posh as some alternatives
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