Puma returns to Ford

fold - with a

difference

Ford Puma, 2019, front, action
Ford Puma, 2019, front
Ford Puma, 2019, side
Ford Puma, 2019, rear
Ford Puma, 2019, rear, action
Ford Puma, 2019, interior
Ford Puma, 2019, instrument panel
Ford Puma, 2019, instrument panel, start up screen
Ford Puma, 2019, boot, loading
Ford Puma, 2019, boot, golf bags
Ford Puma, 2019, boot
Ford Puma, 2019, boot, underfloor

A PUMA is back in the Ford line up and it's a car with a difference that the Blue Oval brand hopes will turn the compact SUV market on its head.

Packed with innovation the new Puma breaks the mould for Ford with adventurous styling, a mild hybrid engine and an excess of family friendly features.

The Puma is based on the latest Fiesta platform and will be built in Romania alongside Ford's other small SUV, the EcoSport.

It slots into Ford's SUV range below the Kuga and the Puma is more than two inches wider than the Fiesta as well as significantly taller.

It also has a longer wheelbase which adds up to a roomy cabin that can seat four adults with ease - five at a pinch.

But it is what's inside the Puma that is going to set it apart and its features include zipable, washable seat coverings and a fantastically flexible boot system that offers class leading space of 456 litres.

The thinking behind the practicality is little short of genius and sees cargo space transformed from conventional to one with a deep well below floor level that can be used for anything from wet and muddy clothing to increasing boot height enabling golf bags to be carried upright, a baby seat stowed or room for up to eight suitcases.

There's even a plug hole at the bottom so the area can be washed out if necessary. The luggage blind is also fixed to the tailgate and is soft enough not to cause damage when closing.

As family cars go the Puma is absolutely user friendly and more space is available by dropping the rear seats.

Up front, the dashboard layout is familiar Ford with a central display screen for connectivity and sat nav but comes fitted with a 12.5-inch TFT instrument panel that includes an image of a puma on start up - the only visual reference to the animal from which it takes its name on the entire car.

From the outside the Puma dares to be different and although it shares its underpinnings with the Fiesta it is much more roomy.

Rounded body lines are another feature and there is a hint of Porsche Macan in the shape of the bonnet and front wings.

A clever trick is the floating effect of the windscreen pillars and the individual headlight clusters which give the Puma distinctive looks from the front and side.

The Puma will be powered initially by a range of Ford's 1.0-litre EcoBoost engines in various power outputs ranging from 95 to 155ps and the line up includes a 125ps mild hybrid.

A 1.5-litre engine is planned for introduction later as is a seven speed dual clutch transmission.

Ford last used the Puma name on a compact coupe model last built in 2002 but it was a car which gained a keen following during its five years of production.

The new Puma is slated for release in the UK early next year and is likely to be priced from around £19,000.

That's some £2,000 more than the cheapest EcoSport and also ahead of alternatives such as the Renault Captur, the Nissan Juke and Volkswagen T-Cross - but none of those have the practical features which look set to make the Puma a firm family favourite and almost the ultimate carry-all car.

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