Ford Puma ST Review & Prices
The Ford Puma ST is the sportiest version of the Puma compact SUV, with meaner looks and a racier setup, but it’s very uncomfortable around town
Find out more about the Ford Puma ST
It’s part of a breed of fast cars that are becoming ever more popular, and are coming for the hot hatchback’s crown of being the go-to affordable, practical performance car. The Hyundai Kona N is the closest competition on price, but you could also consider the pricier Cupra Formentor or Volkswagen T-Roc R.
Ford has created the Puma ST by taking the oily bits of the Fiesta ST (the Puma and Fiesta are closely related underneath) and grafting them under a compact SUV body. The upgrades to the Puma’s body itself to create the ST are just the right balance between subtle and OTT, too, especially now the bright green as seen in our pictures is no longer an option.
It sits 21mm lower to the ground than the standard Puma, allowing the bigger 19-inch alloy wheels to fill the arches nicely. A new body kit brings more aggressive bumpers, chunkier side sills and a neat rear spoiler, too. Red painted brake callipers, ST badging and twin exhaust tailpipes complete the look.
Inside it’s a bit less special, though; clearly the budget for racy additions was minimal here. Still, you do get some figure-hugging Recaro seats with red ST logos, a sports steering wheel with a flat bottom and ST badging, and a metallic gear knob.
The Puma ST is basically a Fiesta ST with a taller body and more space in the back – and that's no bad thing!
Otherwise it’s much the same as the standard Puma, so quality is decent enough, but the materials are a little dark and drab and there are other posher alternatives to consider, such as the Formentor and T-Roc R. Happily, though, the tech is easy to get on with and there’s more space in back of the Puma than there is in the Fiesta, while the boot is super practical.
If you’re hoping the Puma ST drives much like the fantastic Fiesta ST, you’ll be pleased by the recipe. In 2023, a new, lower-powered 1.0-litre engine was introduced with 170hp and an automatic gearbox. But more exciting is that the Puma ST also gets the 1.5-litre turbo three-cylinder engine from the Fiesta ST, pumping out the same 200hp but with even more torque to make up for the heavier body. With lower, stiffer suspension, wider, grippier tyres and the option of a proper limited-slip differential, this definitely isn’t all show and no go.
The engine pulls strongly even from low revs, making a fruity noise as the revs rise, and stirring the slick six-speed manual gearbox is a joy in itself. The body stays flat in the bends, while super-quick steering and a keenness to change direction means the Puma ST feels properly agile.
The car’s super quick steering does have a drawback, though – it’s almost too sharp at times, meaning you have to make constant corrections and can never really relax, particularly on bumpy roads where the wheel wriggles around in your hand thanks to the car being set up for sportiness rather than any hint of comfort. Speaking of bumps, the Puma ST can also get unsettled by really rough roads, and does take some commitment to use as an everyday car.
Overall, though, the Puma ST is a fun and accessible hot SUV that only has a few direct alternatives. To get the best price, check out the latest Ford Puma ST deals on carwow, or browse used Puma ST models from our network of trusted dealers. You can also check out other used Fords, and when it’s time to sell your current car, carwow can help with that, too.
The Ford Puma ST has a RRP range of £31,770 to £33,110. However, with carwow you can save on average £2,393. Prices start at £29,413 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £416. The price of a used Ford Puma ST on carwow starts at £20,000.
Our most popular versions of the Ford Puma ST are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|1.5 EcoBoost ST 5dr||£29,413||Compare offers|
The Ford Puma ST is great value in the performance crossover market. The closest alternative is the Hyundai Kona N, which has considerably more power but is less practical, and costs about £5,000 more than the Ford.
The Cupra Formentor is an interesting alternative. It’s a little bit bigger and you can get one for the same price as the Puma, but only with a less powerful engine that’s not particularly exciting. For comparable performance you’re looking at a similar price to the Kona N. There’s also a high-performance version with 100hp more than the Puma ST, but that’s close to £50,000.
If you’re looking at pricier Formentors you could also consider the Volkswagen T-Roc R. That starts at about £10,000 more than the Puma, but it feels a bit more grown up to drive with a slightly more sophisticated interior. It offers similar performance to those pricey Cupras, too.
If those models are too expensive to consider, you could also look at the Fiesta ST. It shares much of its mechanical goodness with the Puma ST, but because it’s a smaller hatchback it feels a bit more fun to drive than its high-riding sibling and costs about £5,000 less. The trade off is less practicality, though.
The Puma ST is great fun for a small SUV, being agile, grippy, fast and engaging. The trade-off is a ride that’s definitely on the firm side
It’s important for everyday performance cars such as this Puma ST to be driveable everyday, because what’s the point in having a useful boot if you never want to drive it to the shops? Well, we’re pleased to report that you can use this car everyday, but there is a caveat.
Let’s start with the positives. The 1.5-litre engine’s manual gearbox is light and easy to use in town, but the 1.0-litre’s automatic will make town driving much easier. You get good visibility all around, even if the rear window is a bit small, and the Puma’s small dimensions make it easy to dart in and out of small gaps. All-round parking sensors are standard-fit to make parking a breeze, too.
However, it’s very uncomfortable over bumps. If the roads around your local Tesco closely resemble the lunar surface you might find the Puma ST’s suspension quickly starts to grate. You jostle, jiggle and crash your way across bad roads and it can become tiresome, so think about how you plan to use the car and whether this is a concession you’re willing to make to enjoy its fantastic cornering ability. That said, the Hyundai Kona N is similar in this regard; it’s something you can’t really avoid when making a sporty SUV without drastically hiking the price to pay for an expensive clever suspension...
On the motorway
These complaints about the comfort levels are less obvious on the motorway, where the Puma ST settles a bit more. The responsive steering can make it difficult to relax on a longer journey but it’s a minor issue.
ild is fitted as standard, so this helps take some of the stress out of your motorway miles, while lane assist is there to stop you drifting out of lane. Adaptive cruise control is an optional extra as part of a driver assistance pack, but it’s not too pricey and comes with loads of other kit too.
Otherwise, it’s perfectly acceptable at higher speeds. The ST is far from the last word in refinement, but for a small, sporty SUV it’s good enough. There’s a bit more tyre roar than the regular Puma because of those big alloy wheels and low profile tyres, but it’s unlikely to be enough to put you off.
On a twisty road
Compared with the less sporty Puma, the ST gets lower, stiffer suspension, a tauter rear axle and new anti-roll bars, quickened steering and numerous other changes to make it feel like a much more capable car on a winding road. You spot this from the get-go – it immediately feels eager to change direction.
The steering itself is extremely responsive. This means the car very quickly points where you want it to go, but with only tiny movements having a big effect on which way the front wheels are going it can be a bit frantic over bumps or on busy country lanes. It’s not annoyingly uncomfortable like it is at lower speeds, but it does force you to keep your wits about you.
But that’s our only complaint, and something you’ll likely get used to. The Puma ST has impressive levels of grip, virtually no body lean for a taller car and you can even coax some lift-off oversteer out of it with relative ease. It’s really good fun, if not quite as hilarious as the smaller, lighter Fiesta ST.
If you want to add even more sportiness you can specify the ST Performance pack. For a reasonable £950, it adds a proper mechanical limited-slip differential (which stops wheelspin on corner exit and pulls the car in the direction you want it to go), launch control and a shift indicator for the digital dials.
The Puma ST is just as roomy as the regular model, with decent passenger space and a useful boot, but the rear seats are too cramped for three
The main advantage of buying the Puma ST over, say, the Fiesta ST is that it offers more room for passengers and luggage alike.
Even those well over six-feet-tall won’t have much trouble getting comfortable in the front. There’s plenty of adjustment in the steering wheel and sporty Recaro seats, although some may find that the seat doesn’t go low enough for their tastes. This is a classic fast Ford trait that’s more forgivable in the Puma ST because it’s meant to be a high-riding car.
The Puma ST gets the same level of storage as the standard Puma. The glovebox is pretty large, there are 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.
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.
Space in the back seats
It’s a shame that the rear seats are basically the same shape as the standard Puma’s, without any added raciness, but they are at least covered in the same upholstery as the fronts.
Despite the chunkier seats in front, there isn’t much effect on rear seat space, which is decent; a couple of six footers could sit behind themselves without too many complaints. Those front seats don’t have integrated headrests, either, so they don’t block the view out from the rear as much. The Puma isn’t the widest SUV around, though, so an adult in the middle seat would really struggle for shoulder room, while headroom isn’t overly generous either.
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. Not hugely practical, then, but you get the basics.
There is no compromise to the boot space of the Puma ST when compared to the standard Puma. It still has a surprisingly large luggage space for the car’s size, with a 456-litre capacity.
At first glance there is nothing special about the Puma’s boot – it’s well-shaped, there’s some hooks and tie-down points and an adjustable boot floor. But it’s what’s under that boot floor that’s pretty unique.
Every Puma gets what’s known as a ‘Megabox’; a deep, rubberised storage area that can be drained to below the car. The idea is that you could, for example, fill it with ice and store drinks, or chuck muddy boots inside and hose it down afterwards. It’s a really neat touch.
The competition don’t have anything quite so quirky, and as a result it’s only the Cupra Formentor that can get close to the Puma’s boot capacity at 450 litres. The Volkswagen T-Roc R isn’t miles off at 392 litres, but the Hyundai Kona N is the least practical option at 361 litres.
The Puma’s cabin is practical and well-equipped, while sporty ST touches are welcome. There are better quality alternatives, though
The Ford Puma ST gets a handful of updates over the regular Puma to mark it out as the sporting model. They’re not extensive, though.
The key upgrade is the Recaro sports seats in the front. They are firm, but thickly bolstered and very supportive, while the leather and Alcantara mix is nice, even if they don’t go quite low enough for our liking.
There’s also a sportier steering wheel with the obligatory flat bottom and red ST badging, which is nice to hold, as is the stubby chrome gear lever. The steering wheel also includes drive mode selector functions to switch the car into its Sport or Race modes.
Black headlining, ST floor mats and ST-branded sills complete the look. We’re not huge fans of the faux carbon plastic dash trim, though, while the sporty touches don’t extend to the rear and the black trim makes it quite dark back there.
The infotainment in the Puma ST is, unsurprisingly, much like that in the regular Puma. However there are some specific new graphics and features. For example, you get a racy-looking Ford Performance graphic on the screen on startup, while the digital dials change colour and graphics depending on the selected drive mode.
The dials themselves are pretty crisp and clear, although you don’t get the same navigation map display as you would in something like a VW T-Roc R.
There are two engines choices in the Puma ST, one that’s a bit more performance-focused and the other is a bit more economy-focused.
The latter is a 1.0-litre petrol engine that makes 170hp and 248Nm of torque. It uses a mild hybrid system, which has minor fuel economy benefits, registering 44.8mpg in official figures. It’s only available with a seven-speed automatic gearbox, which takes some of the fun out of driving small, fast, practical cars.
Opt for the 1.5-litre engine and you get a six-speed manual gearbox to go with your 200hp and 320Nm of torque. There’s not a huge difference in acceleration, with this version going from 0-60mph in 6.7 seconds, while official figures put economy at up to 41.5mpg.
The 1.5-litre is a brilliant engine that feels more powerful than the figures suggest, while the manual gearbox makes it more involving to drive. But if you’re spending a lot of time in town or slow traffic, the auto will make life easier. But if that’s the case you might be better off with a standard Puma anyway.
First-year tax is a bit cheaper in the 1.0-litre model, though, thanks to its lower emissions. The Puma ST doesn’t make for an ideal company car thanks to a benefit-in-kind rate of over 33% for all models. If you opt for the Performance Pack that rises to 37%.
The Ford Puma was re-tested under the latest, more stringent Euro NCAP safety testing in 2022 and had its score downgraded from the full five stars to four. Reassuringly for families, though, its highest score was for child occupant protection at 84%.
Being the top of the range Puma means you get a decent amount of safety kit, including high beam assist, adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping assistance, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection as well as post-collision braking.
We’d recommend ticking the Driver Assistance Pack box, as it’s only £650 but adds a bunch more kit such as blind spot warning, adaptive cruise control with a stop and go function for traffic, a rear-view camera and a system that can park the car for you.
Ford has a hit-and-miss reputation for reliability, but with the Puma based largely on the Fiesta it shouldn’t prove too problematic. And with so many of these models sold, there are plenty of affordable parts available should something go wrong.
All Fords come with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty. That’s about the basic expectation among manufacturers, but it’s well behind Hyundai’s five-year/unlimited mileage warranty, which is one of the best in the business and could make the Kona N more appealing.
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