Racing Puma

With bulging aluminium wheelarches, a deep front spoiler and 17-inch multispoke alloy wheels, the Racing version is certainly a head turner.

Given the chance, most keen drivers would pounce on the opportunity to drive a Racing Puma. Only 500 of these special coupés were produced, each one hand-assembled by legendary coachbuilder Tickford.

With bulging aluminium wheelarches, a deep front spoiler and 17-inch multispoke alloy wheels, the Racing version is certainly a head turner. Inside, large Sparco racing seats and blue Alcantara trim help distract you from the humble Fiesta-sourced dashboard.

Look beneath the muscular bodywork, and all thoughts of superminis will be banished.

The 1.7-litre powerplant has been tweaked to produce 155bhp, the car’s track is widened, Alcon brakes fitted and power transmitted to the front wheels via a limited-slip differential.

Behind the wheel, you’re treated to an intoxicating driving experience. The steering is superbly accurate, body roll is virtually non-existent and grip is near limitless. Accelerate hard, and the exhaust barks like a rally car, while the big, race-specification brakes are stunningly effective and full of feel.

Despite this, the Racing Puma wasn’t deemed a success. Its asking price of £23,000 put off buyers who could have a standard car for less than £15,000. Still, even this black mark fails to stop the Puma from making it into our top 10.

* Performance: 3/5 * Heritage: 2/5 * Style: 4/5 * Driver appeal: 5/5

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Details

Model tested: Racing PumaChart position: 10

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