Like many others, I sometimes wonder about the relevance to the green age of a car like the powerful Ford Puma ST gasoline that I tested.
We can admire the power and the technology, but we wonder what it is really for. And honestly, who besides a few well-off is going to buy one?
This is especially the case when there is already a practical, colorful and common version. I consider the “standard” Puma to be one of the best in its class right now. It has enough power, poise, style, and functionality to satisfy the vast majority of us.
There’s even a deep, waterproof, rubber-lined MegaBox boot receptacle that carries all kinds of stuff and you still have the regular boot. The MegaBox, however, expels a potential spare tire. This is a compromise that some people agree with in standard editions.
Now I have to say that in whatever form the Puma is just a lovely little crossover. He is based on the Fiesta, although he is larger, a real spectator and driver. Hope this gives you an idea of the kind of size we’re talking about and makes fun of those who dare to call it an SUV.
But Ford couldn’t leave “standard” alone. As is the custom of their performance department, they couldn’t resist pushing engineering to the inner limits of what the tidy frame could withstand in its stride.
This is why giving the Puma the ST treatment may be partially justified as the advancements will hopefully trickle down to regular cars for years to come. That’s if the electric revolution doesn’t put an end to all this kind of progression.
Anyway, here we have a ‘hot crossover’ now (sounds like something you’re up to, doesn’t it?)
Suffice to say that they were full of mechanical and technological dynamics. And in case we don’t get the message that this is a ‘hot’ little engine underneath, they’ve tweaked the look (the grille in particular) and stuck some ST badges where you’ll notice them.
What you can’t see, but can certainly hear and feel while performing, is the engine. The 1.5-liter, 3cyl EcoBoost petrol pumps out a whopping (for this size car) 200bhp and encourages you to forcefully use the gears of the six-speed manual transmission. Having a manual transmission makes a big difference in a car like this because you really are in control of what you want it to do.
An example of how everything is set up so well to deal with the effects of propulsion is that I could have sworn it was two seconds faster at 100 km / h than the official 6.7 seconds.
It shows his ability not to get nervous when put under pressure, and how he can deal so easily with anything that pulls and pushes your driving attempts to inflict his overall balance. The base frame is excellent, but the ST version has been reworked to great effect.
The management was brilliant, direct and immediate; the rack is 25 pc faster than that of the standard car and adds real dynamism to the drive.
But in the case of “arguments against”, the question arises of how realistically S&T can do on our roads without breaking the law. Are you going to stay in “normal” or “eco” mode all the time? What about “sport” – that makes a huge difference – or “track” (no real way to explore). What’s the point?
Another downside is that the ride quality could be a bit too harsh on poorer roads. And the fuel consumption is heavy if you drive it vigorously. I was surprised at how quickly the gauge plunged.
Strangely enough, I have never been very comfortable in the Recaro seats. They were too hard, I could tell. And I continued to fine-tune the seat reach distance and the steering wheel tilt height. I never got settled in, although the cabin itself looked super smart, as did the easy-to-use infotainment screen. And then there is the price: nearly € 42,000.
So you see why I and many like me can have reservations about actual and current relevance.
But I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I forgot a lot of those negatives when I took this for a good ride in the hot southeast twilight where a mix of good and bad roads sparked a lot more of enthusiasm.
There was in abundance this ability to rush, to hold onto the road in the tightest corners in particular. There was also the exceptional feedback through the steering wheel, the feeling of energy and movement – all the more admirable for a body sitting 3 cm higher than that of the Fiesta.
Achievements like this make a car like this irrationally relevant no matter how long you can drive in such scenarios, because it can really thrill.
Would I buy it? Probably not after all that is said and done. I totally admire Ford for what they’ve done, but I couldn’t see myself owning one. I’m sure there are those who will (and would if they could afford it). They will enjoy it.