The Ford Puma crossover has been launched into the market with two options for buyers – the Titanium and the ST-Line Vignale – with both offering high levels of standard specification and with the 1,0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost engine common to both derivatives.
Standard fare includes a large fully digital instrument cluster, wireless charging, premium B&O sound system, lumbar massage seats, powered tailgate, sport suspension, Selectable Drive Modes and advanced driver assistance technologies (depending on model).
“The Ford Puma is a sophisticated urban compact SUV that combines a sporty design matched to exceptional interior functionality and unsurpassed connected technology to meet the demands of dynamic young individuals and professionals,” says Doreen Mashinini, General Manager for Marketing at Ford South Africa.
“As a new addition to our local line-up, the Puma builds on Ford’s reputation for producing trend-setting sports utility vehicles. It will capitalise on the rapidly growing and very competitive SUV segment, and the compact crossover category in particular, which has become immensely popular.“The Puma has been a huge success in Europe, and we are delighted this model is now available to our South African customers.
“Our 1,0-litre EcoBoost engine has already proven fuel efficiency and performance can go hand-in-hand. As a three-time International Engine of the Year, and five-time winner of the sub 1,0-litre category, it’s a superb package that is perfectly suited to the Puma,” Mashinini says.
It produces 92 kW of power at 6 000 r/min matched to 170 Nm of torque across a broad range from 1 500 r/min to 4 500 r/min and incorporates Ford’s cylinder deactivation system, which automatically switches off one of the engine’s cylinders when full capacity is not needed, such as when coasting or cruising and Auto Start-Stop is standard to further reduce running costs.
Power is delivered to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and the driver has access to five Selectable Drive Modes to suit the conditions, comprising Normal for everyday driving, Eco which optimises fuel economy, Slippery for low-traction surfaces, Trail for more challenging terrain, and Sport.
The system adjusts various settings, including throttle response and steering feel, as well as gearchange behaviour.
Puma is built on Ford’s B-car architecture that uses a stiff twist-beam rear suspension, large-diameter shock absorbers, stiff suspension bushes and optimised suspension top mounts to reduce friction and enhance stiffness throughout the chassis to support superb driving dynamics.
Customers opting for the ST-Line Vignale get a sport suspension with specially tuned springs and shock absorbers along with 18-inch alloy wheels and lower-profile tyres.
Standard safety kit includes anti-lock braking, Electronic Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control, Hill Launch Assist, Tyre Pressure Monitoring, Auto High Beam headlight activation and the Lane-Keeping System that incorporates Lane-Keeping Aid and Alert functions as well as Lane Departure Warning.
Occupants are protected by a total of six crash bags, comprising dual front, side and curtain bags.
Both variants of the Puma are available with the optional Driver Assistance Pack that adds Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop & Go and Lane Centring, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert, Front parking sensors and a rear wide-angle camera, Active Park Assist with Perpendicular Parking and Driver Impairment Monitor which monitors the driver’s inputs and recognises fatigue or impairment.
The front end features ‘canoe-shaped’ headlamps that sit high on the wings, while the LED fog lamps are positioned directly below, integrated into the front air curtain inlets that guide airflow across the front wheels and it has LED headlamps with LED daytime running lights (standard on Vignale).
The Puma range starts off with the Titanium that rides on black-machined 17-inch alloy wheels, and chrome elements for the grille, side skirts and fog lamps. The rear diffuser and skid plate are finished in metallic grey, and the window surrounds in high gloss black.
Inside, Puma Titanium is offered with a leather-trimmed steering wheel, wood-effect appliques for the cluster bezel and instrument panel, and distinctive fabric inserts for the door interiors.
The Vignale gains 18-inch machined alloy wheels and a sports suspension. At the front, the ST-Line grille features matt black elements and a high-gloss surround, high-gloss foglamp surrounds, and a larger, functional roof-spoiler.
Alloy pedals, an aluminium gear shifter and a signature black headliner nod to the sporty character and owners are greeted with puddle lights that illuminate the ground with the Puma logo.
Practical Luggage Space
On the practical side, it has load space and rear luggage capacity of 456 litres. A flexible load compartment can comfortably accommodate a box 112 cm long, 97 cm wide and 43 cm high with the second row of seats folded flat.
The optional Ford MegaBox provides a deep, versatile storage space that is capable of comfortably accommodating two golf bags in an upright position.
The storage solution offers a capacity of 80 litres in a space 763 mm wide, 752 mm long and 305 mm deep, which can house unstable items up to approximately 115 cm tall – such as houseplants – in an upright position. Alternatively, with the lid down, the space can be used to conceal dirty sports equipment or muddy boots.
“Throughout the development process, the goal of the Puma design and engineering team was to deliver an unprecedented degree of practicality in a compact and efficient package,” says Mashinini. “Puma’s unique Ford MegaBox and parcel shelf are examples of the innovative thinking that helped deliver flexibility without compromising on style, making it perfectly suited to the busy lifestyles of urban owners.”
Devices can remain connected via Bluetooth to Ford’s SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system while using wireless charging, allowing Puma drivers to control audio, navigation and connected smartphones using simple voice commands. The system provides embedded satellite navigation and delivers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility via the USB connection. It is supported by an eight-inch central touchscreen that can be operated using pinch and swipe gestures.
High-end Sound system
The ST-Line Vignale is equipped with a B&O sound system that has been dynamically tuned to ensure a premium audio experience.
The 10-speaker system includes a 150mm x 200 mm externally coupled subwoofer integrated into the boot without compromising luggage space, which delivers a smooth bass tone. The tweeter positions have been optimised to produce a wider sound stage at seating level and is powered by a 575-watt Digital Signal Processing Amplifier that controls equalisation and audio mixing including selectable Surround Sound.
Pricing (includes VAT):
- Puma Titanium R569 900
- Puma ST-Line Vignale R613 900
Included as standard is Ford Protect comprising a 4-year/120 000 km warranty, four-year/unlimited distance Roadside Assistance and five-year/unlimited distance corrosion warranty. The recommended service interval is 15 000 km or annually, whichever occurs first.
Colin Windell – proudly ALL THINGS MOTORING