The original Ford Puma was a fun, lightweight, compact coupe – the new 2020 Ford Puma is a frog-eye crossover with 48-volt tech…
Taking a page out of GM’s book titled Legacy is for losers, the Blue Oval has just revealed the new Ford Puma.
Enthusiasts will remember the Puma from the ‘90s as a fun front wheel drive compact coupe, known for its neat handling thanks to a low weight of just over one tonne and a zesty naturally aspirated Zetec engine. This little four cylinder was the darling of many an engine swap, preferred for its ability to rev to 9,000rpm and produce well over 100 horsepower per litre. It was so popular it was even available as a crate engine, and Caterham in particular loved the Zetec. Back then Ford also gave rallyists on a budget the chance to take to the stages with a Puma kit car, but you wouldn’t get clever ideas this time around.
That’s because Ford has just taken a dump on the Puma name by resurrecting it as yet another boring crossover, with plenty of the usual claims of sportiness and athleticism to go along with the reveal. It does at least look rather neat, like a Kia, and includes loads of tech that you wouldn’t normally expect in a pint-sized SUV such as this.
The first big deal is that the new Ford Puma comes with the company’s 48-volt technology, which enables mild-hybrid capability to boost the three-cylinder 1.0-litre engine to a total of 155 horsepower. You’ll note that’s as much as the most powerful old Puma coupe could muster, so at least it might live up to it in a straight line.
The frog-eye crossover is just a few inches bigger than the Ford Ecosport, but the Puma can be had in Ford’s top-spec Titanium trim featuring big-car bits like 17-inch wheels, and other trendy nonsense such as a useless rear diffuser as well as a skid plate. Fords taken the sporty tag to heart, because above the Titanium you’ll also be able to choose the Puma ST-Line, which somehow manages to pack 19-inch wheels and stiffer suspension.
The cringeworthy stuff continues inside with a squared-off steering wheel like you get in a single seater race car. It sure is a dreamer, this Ford Puma.
There are plenty of things to like though, like the two-tier cargo area featuring a drain plug so you can just hose it down with water, plus Ford’s latest suite of driver assistance technologies. For example there is smart cruise control, speed sign recognition, a traffic jam crawl feature that drives the car itself, self-parking, lane keeping, and more. Optionally buyers can spec a fancy 10-speaker B&O sound system as well as a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.
With all this crammed inside a crossover no bigger than a Fiesta, Ford is heading into the crowded compact crossover segment armed to the teeth with a highly competitive offering. Kia and Hyundai probably won’t flinch though.