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
This is the new Ford Puma ST. The crossover is the third model to join the Blue Oval’s current ST performance line-up, following the Fiesta and the Focus.
With a power output of 197bhp and 320Nm, the Puma ST can’t match the likes of the Volkswagen T-Roc R when it comes to firepower. However, it does mean it’s set to significantly undercut the VW on price; when the ST goes on sale in early 2021, starting from £28,495.
Ford Puma ST: performance and power
Mechanically, the Puma ST is very closely related to the Fiesta ST. The 1.5-litre turbocharged unit is the same, though a revised exhaust system has been tuned to be ever so slightly more civilised than in the supermini – Ford engineers say that the Puma’s system is one decibel quieter. Like the Fiesta, power is sent to the front wheels by a six-speed manual gearbox.
Tipping the scales at 1,358kg, the Puma ST has approximately 100kg of extra mass to haul about compared to its hot hatch sibling. This is reflected in the performance figures; with launch control engaged, the Puma cracks the 0-62mph benchmark in 6.7 seconds – two tenths down on the Fiesta, while the 137mph top speed has dropped by 7mph.
The Fiesta ST’s sparkling chassis has only received minor tweaks from its transition to the Puma’s crossover body. The rear torsion bar is 40 per cent stiffer to compensate for the extra weight and height, but otherwise the setup is largely the same.
The Puma ST’s steering system is 25 per cent quicker than the standard Puma’s, and buyers will be offered the option of a Quaife mechanical limited-slip differential to improve traction on corner exit. This also works in conjunction with a torque vectoring system which nips the brakes on the inside wheel to help the Puma hug a tighter line through corners. Brake discs measure 325mm at the front and 271mm at the back, and are housed within 19-inch alloy wheels (available in two finishes) wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres.
The effect of the Puma’s responses can be adjusted through a selection of driving modes. ‘Sport’ sharpens the throttle and adds weight to the steering compared to ‘Normal’, and it opens up valves in the exhaust to provide a slightly naughtier soundtrack. Switch into ‘Track’, and the traction control switches off and the intervention from the stability program relaxes – though this can still be turned off completely if the driver wishes.
At the other end of the scale, ‘Eco’ mode makes the most of a stop/start system and cylinder deactivation to help reduce fuel consumption. Based on the official WLTP testing procedure, the Puma ST achieves 40.9mpg and emits 155g/km of CO2.
Ford Puma ST: design and interior
The look of the regular Puma is toughened up courtesy of an ST-specific styling pack. The front gets a new grille design – claimed to improve engine cooling – plus ST badging, while a splitter increases front downforce by 80 percent over the standard car. The back gets a larger rear wing and diffuser help to balance out the extra downforce at the other end.
The Puma ST is also available in the new ‘Mean Green’ shade shown in these images. Whether you choose this, or one of the five other more restrained colours on offer, the roof and spoiler, front grille surrounds, side trim and door mirror caps are always painted black.
Inside, the Puma’s cabin also gets the ST treatment; changes include a flat-bottomed steering wheel, a sporty gear knob and pedals, plus a set of figure-hugging Recaro front seats. Elsewhere, the ST’s boot retains the hose-down 80-litre ‘Mega Box’ from other Pumas, and the 456-litre volume is retained.
All Puma STs get a generous standard equipment list. Wireless smartphone charging, a heated windscreen, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment setup and a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display – whose graphics alter depending on the chosen driving mode – are all included.
Now read our in-depth review of the standard Ford Puma crossover…
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