Ford Puma review

The Ford Puma is now a stylish, practical compact SUV that’s good to drive, but lacks cabin space

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£20,485 to £29,075
  • Fun, Fiesta-like driving characteristics
  • Strong three-cylinder engines
  • Practical, with clever storage features
  • Slightly cramped cabin compared with rivals
  • Some rivals have better quality interiors
  • No diesel option for now
Representative Example - Personal Contract Purchase: Cash Price £10,000.00, Deposit £1500.00, borrowing £8,500.00 over 4 years at 7.4% Representative APR (fixed). 47 monthly payments of £132.04 followed by a final payment of £4127.50. Total cost of credit £1833.38. Total amount payable £11,833.38. Based on 8,000 miles per annum. Excess mileage charges apply if exceeded. Finance subject to status 18+ only.

We’ve waited a while for Ford to give us a proper compact SUV based on the Fiesta. Until now, the firm’s sole offering in the B-SUV market - the EcoSport - has not been good enough. The new Ford Puma hits the right notes and is precisely what you’d expect of the brand, blending practicality and affordability into a package that’s good to drive. 

The Puma’s looks won’t appeal to everyone, but few rivals can better it for boot-space and virtually none can outshine the Puma from behind the wheel - equipment levels are strong too. However, there are more upmarket-feeling and spacious rivals out there for this sort of cash.

About the Ford Puma

Cast your memory back to 1997, and you may remember Ford launched a fun, small, front-wheel-drive coupe based on what was then the fourth-generation Fiesta. It added a bit of richly needed desirability at the smaller end of the brand’s British line-up. It was a hit - the Ford Puma had landed. 

Now, the Puma name is back, and it’s an extremely similar story save for one very important detail; the new Ford Puma is not a small coupe, but a small five-door SUV. It’s based on the current, seventh-generation Fiesta supermini, sharing its chassis and its engines, as it enters a market that’s overflowing with choice at the minute. 

Chief rivals include the Renault Captur, the Peugeot 2008, Skoda Kamiq and SEAT Arona, while the handsome Mazda CX-30 and spacious Volkswagen T-Cross offer further possibilities for customers considering a small family SUV. Left-field alternatives include cars like the design-led Nissan Juke, chunky Jeep Renegade and the retro Fiat 500 X

The Puma line-up isn’t quite as expansive as the Fiesta’s, but there are still plenty of models to choose from and even more engine options will be available soon. The trim structure is fairly straightforward too, with four core versions: Titanium, ST-Line, ST-Line X and luxury ST-Line Vignale, although there are Design variants of the Titanium and ST-Line to choose from.

The Puma ST performance model sits at the top of the range, with buyers able to upgrade to the ST Performance Pack or ST Gold Edition versions.

The Puma range doesn't have a really basic entry-level model, so the cheapest Titanium Design car is priced at around £23,000, but is well equipped and finished with flair. Standard kit includes 17-inch alloy wheels, power folding mirrors, an eight-inch central touchscreen display, air-con and cruise control. The other side to this is that the Puma’s starting price is a touch high compared with rivals, some of which kick off from around £22,000. 

ST-Line models add a bit more standard equipment such as a widescreen 12.3-inch digital instrument display, but these cars major on sporty touches including a body-kit, different alloy wheels, sports seats and pedals and a sports suspension setup that helps the Puma to shine as one of the best crossovers to drive.

ST-Line X builds on this with luxury features such as upgraded upholstery, privacy glass in the windows and a 10-speaker audio setup from Bang & Olufsen, while the Vignale brings a wireless smartphone charging pad, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, front parking sensors and keyless entry. We'd advise on having a good look at what kit you actually need as the Vignale model, starting from around £27,000, seems a little indulgent.

The Puma is front-wheel-drive only and buyers are offered three petrol engine options. The EcoBoost 125 employs a 123bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder unit as found in the Fiesta. It uses 48-volt mild-hybrid technology, achieving a slight increase in torque over the previous non-hybrid model, and managing marginal reductions in CO2 emissions and gains in fuel economy, too. A second option is another 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol with the same mild-hybrid system, but power is pushed up to 153bhp.

For the performance enthusiast, the Puma ST is arguably the best-handling compact SUV on sale, powered by the Fiesta ST’s 1.5-litre engine for a total of 197bhp.

A six-speed manual gearbox comes as standard, with an optional seven-speed automatic transmission. If you want the 153bhp version with an auto 'box, you'll have to specify the top-spec ST-Line Vignale trim, while the racy ST is manual only. 

For an alternative review of the Ford Puma, visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk...

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 EcoBoost Hybrid mHEV Titanium Design 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £20,485

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.0 EcoBoost Hybrid mHEV Titanium Design 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £20,485

Fastest

  • Name
    1.5 EcoBoost ST 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £28,125

More on Puma

Show me:
Best-selling cars 2022: the UK’s top 10 most popular models
Best-selling cars - header image
Best cars & vans
5 Aug 2022

Best-selling cars 2022: the UK’s top 10 most popular models

The latest figures reveal the UK's best-selling cars in 2022 so far…
Top 10 best SUVs to buy 2022
Best SUVs to buy - header image
Best cars & vans
27 Apr 2022

Top 10 best SUVs to buy 2022

We name the top 10 best SUVs and 4x4s you can buy on the new car market today
Hyundai Kona N vs Ford Puma ST: 2022 twin test review
Hyundai Kona N vs Ford Puma ST - header
Car group tests
2 Apr 2022

Hyundai Kona N vs Ford Puma ST: 2022 twin test review

The new Hyundai Kona N and Ford Puma ST go head-to-head in a hot SUV showdown
New Ford Puma ST Gold 2022 review
Ford Puma ST Gold - front
Road tests
30 Mar 2022

New Ford Puma ST Gold 2022 review

The new limited-edition Ford Puma ST Gold guarantees exclusivity, but is it worth the extra cash?
New all-electric Ford Puma SUV to arrive in 2024
Ford Puma EV - exclusive image
News
28 Mar 2022

New all-electric Ford Puma SUV to arrive in 2024

The new Ford Puma EV will share elements with the brand’s e-vans, and our exclusive image previews how it could look
Top 10 best small SUVs and crossover cars to buy 2022
Best small SUVS
Best cars & vans
6 Jan 2022

Top 10 best small SUVs and crossover cars to buy 2022

There's a huge range of crossovers and small SUVs on the market today. These are our top ten picks
Ford Puma ST-Line: long-term test review
Ford Puma long termer - final report header
Long-term tests
20 Aug 2021

Ford Puma ST-Line: long-term test review

Final report: the fun-to-drive and practical Ford Puma has been a success
Fan-designed Ford Puma ST Gold Edition revealed
Fan-designed Ford Puma ST Gold Edition
News
18 Jun 2021

Fan-designed Ford Puma ST Gold Edition revealed

Ford unveils a special edition Puma ST, with a black and gold colour scheme chosen by Ford fans over social media
Icon Review: Ford Puma Mk1 (1997 - 2002)
Ford Puma icon review - front
Road tests
6 May 2021

Icon Review: Ford Puma Mk1 (1997 - 2002)

We look back on the fun, affordable and hugely popular first-generation Ford Puma
New Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost ST-Line Vignale review
Ford Puma 1.0 Ecoboost ST Line Vignale
Road tests
27 Nov 2020

New Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost ST-Line Vignale review

Premium-spec, auto gearbox and high price show the Ford Puma SUV in a different light
New Ford Puma ST 2020 review
Road tests
15 Nov 2020

New Ford Puma ST 2020 review

The new Ford Puma ST provides the most fun it’s possible to have in a crossover
Hot new 2021 Ford Puma ST revealed with 197bhp
News
24 Sep 2020

Hot new 2021 Ford Puma ST revealed with 197bhp

New hot Ford Puma ST crossover shares its underpinnings with the brilliant Fiesta ST, and will cost from £28,495 when sales begin early next year
Renault Captur vs Ford Puma vs Peugeot 2008
Car group tests
21 Mar 2020

Renault Captur vs Ford Puma vs Peugeot 2008

The Renault Captur, Ford Puma and Peugeot 2008 have all just been launched. We bring them together for their first Auto Express group test
New Ford Puma 2020 review
Ford Puma - front tracking
Road tests
18 Mar 2020

New Ford Puma 2020 review

The new Ford Puma isn't designed to carry the legacy of its predecessor, but it’s a welcome addition to the smaller end of Ford's crossover line-up.
New Ford Puma recalled over airbag issue
Ford Puma - front 3/4 static
Ford Puma
17 Feb 2020

New Ford Puma recalled over airbag issue

Delivered cars remain safe to drive but an incorrect component doesn’t match Ford’s specifications
New 2020 Ford Puma: prices announced
Ford Puma - studio front
News
5 Dec 2019

New 2020 Ford Puma: prices announced

Ford’s latest compact SUV is available to order now, priced from £20,845