THE Ford Puma is one of the most popular cars in the UK and is also Ford's best seller since the company stopped making Fiestas.
I have sampled just about every version of it since it arrived on the scene back in 2020 and it is still a car I like.
It brought something new to the Crossover party when it was launched and it rightly met with huge praise for its style and innovative features.
The Puma is also a big hit all over Europe thanks to it being fun to drive, economical and practical as well as having stylish looks.
It also has some neat touches like the pouncing Puma that appears in the dash when you press the starter button or as a puddle light in the dark.
It also stands out from the rest of the small crossover crowd because there is plenty of room for four to travel in comfort and you can pack in five for shorter journeys.
A smart steering wheel houses the usual push-button controls while the dashboard layout is typical Ford with a central display screen for connectivity and sat nav but it also comes fitted with a smart TFT instrument cluster and a huge amount of equipment.
The seats are very comfortable and fully adjustable and there is good all-round visibility. As in all Fords the switches and controls are clear and easy to read and use.
A Quickclear heated windscreen is ideal for winter motoring and there is a decent sound system as well as Ford SYNC 3 navigation and full smart phone integration.
On the practical side the Puma boasts impressive carrying capacity. The boot is large for a car of this size but comes complete with Ford's MegaBox.
This is an 80-litre storage space which lies beneath the split level boot floor and is ideal for carrying wet sports equipment, muddy wellies or anything else that is liable to cause a mess. It has a drain plug at the bottom and can be hosed out afterwards.
If you need even more space you can collapse the split-folding rear seats to get class-leading room.
This flagship ST sporty version costing £31,760, sits at the top of the range and has a 1.0-litre EcoBoost three cylinder petrol engine linked to mild hybrid technology and is good for 170ps.
As a result it takes just 7.4 seconds to tackle the sprint to 62mph before going on to a top speed of 130mph.
According to the official figures it is capable of as much as 52.3mpg with a low figure of 35.8mpg and I averaged over 48mpg during many miles of mixed driving.
You get lots of advanced driver assistance aids like cruise control and pre-collision assist plus lane departure warning andhandy drive modes for Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Trail conditions.
You also get autonomous emergency braking, pedestrian/cyclist detection and hill start assist
This model features exclusive 19-inch alloys, privacy glass, front fog lights with cornering lights and LED rear lamps.
The kit list wants for nothing and you get a wireless charging pad, B&O sound system, Ford performance scuff plates, an ST flat bottomed steering wheel, red brake callipers, Ford performance seats as well as ST suspension to cope with the extra power.
I liked this Puma and it was a fun car to drive with great handling and a comfortable ride even with the sports suspension.