It might be new to South Africa, but the Ford Puma has been around for more than four years in Europe.
First revealed in mid-2019, the compact “boutique” crossover has been given a mid life makeover.
There are a few subtle changes on the outside, including new headlights, optionally available with Matrix LED technology with Predictive Dynamic Bending Light.
But the big changes occur on the inside where we see a fresh dashboard design. The air vents have been moved to the upper dashboard, above a much larger touchscreen that now incorporates Ford’s Sync 4 software with wireless Android Auto and CarPlay.
The touchscreen’s size has grown from eight to 12 inches and now also boasts 5G connectivity and built-in Alexa, which you can ask questions such as “What’s on my calendar today?” or “How’s my commute home?”
Drivers will also get to enjoy a redesigned and slightly larger digital instrument cluster, which grows in size from 12.3 to 12.8 inches.
The driver assist gizmos have been given an overhaul too.
For instance, the Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go now incorporates Lane Centring as well as Predictive Speed Assist, which can adjust the cruising speed for curves in the road as well as roundabouts.
In addition to an enhanced Blind Spot Information System, the Puma also gains a 360-degree surround view camera system as well as Reverse Brake Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Braking.
In Europe the Puma is offered with a 1.0-litre turbopetrol engine with 48-volt mild hybrid technology. Depending on the model, buyers can choose between 92kW and 114kW output levels, and there’s also a sporty ST model that pushes the envelope to 125kW.
Ford South Africa has yet to announce when the updated Puma will reach local shores.
Sold as something of an upmarket niche model priced from R569,900 to R613,000, the current version has yet to achieve three-figure monthly sales in South Africa.
However, the upcoming Chinese-sourced Ford Territory, a much larger vehicle that’s stickered from R610,000, should become Ford’s mainstream seller in that price band.