Brentwood, England - The Puma is Ford’s new player in the compact crossover arena and it resurrects a name once used on a small coupe that was never sold in South Africa.
Unfortunately, history is set to repeat itself as Ford SA tells us that the new Puma is not destined for South Africa.
So what are we missing out on then?
Like the 1990s coupe that it’s named after, the new Puma is based on the Fiesta, although in this case it’s a spacious five-seat crossover that’s larger than its donor car. Ford also boasts a class-leading luggage capacity of 456 litres, which is important to buyers in this segment.
On the pricing scale, the Romanian-built Puma is expected to slot above the EcoSport but below the Kuga.
In fact, you could hardly call it entry-level, given the amount of advanced gadgets available.
These include class-firsts, such as an automated tailgate, seats with a lumbar massage function and an internet based system that warns drivers of hazards ahead by drawing information from a service provided by Here Technologies.
That’s just one of many modern driver assistance technologies offered. Others include Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, 180-degree wide-view reverse camera, Cross Traffic Alert, Road Edge Detection, Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection and Active Park Assist with Perpendicular parking.
Modern, electrically boosted engines
On the powertrain front, the Puma is the second Ford product, after the new Focus, to offer a 48-volt mild hybrid system mated to Ford’s familiar 1-litre EcoBoost three-cylinder turbopetrol engine.
Replacing the standard alternator is a belt-driven starter/generator that can recover and store energy usually lost during braking and coasting, and use it to boost engine outputs by up to 11.5kW and 50Nm, while also improving overall efficiency. The 1-litre mild-hybrid will be offered in 92kW and 114kW variants.
In addition, Ford will offer a conventional range of non-hybrid EcoBoost turbopetrol and EcoBlue turbodiesel engines
From a design perspective, Ford tried to avoid making the Puma look like every other SUV out there, with what it calls an “anti-wedge” styling philosophy.
In the words of Ford Europe design director George Saridakis: “From day one we envisioned a vehicle in this segment that was immediately recognisable - and as a result we’ve created a compact crossover unlike anything we’ve ever produced before.”
“This stunning new look represents the next chapter in Ford’s design identity,” Saridakis added.