Leasing a Ford Puma
An introduction to the new Ford Puma
As they did with the original Puma, Ford has shaken things up with their new compact SUV. It takes a youthful yet practical style and combines it with some mild-hybrid tech. All of which will suit its fashionable potential buyers just fine. Frugal, stylish and well connected, this is where it's at in modern motoring.
If you remember the Ford Puma, you won't remember it like this. The much-loved original car was a little coupe made just after the turn of the century, but small coupes like that are no longer on-trend, so for this Puma, Ford has created an 'SUV-inspired Crossover' instead. Like the Puma before it, it's closely related to the Fiesta, which is no bad thing and is being sold mainly with the mild hybrid 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine. Handling changes over the Fiesta include a new setting for the electronic power steering, modifications for the beam axle and more rigid fixing fives bolt fixings for the wheels. These changes should translate to some better handling characteristics than its competition.
The new compact SUV should handle far more like a good supermini, than your typical Juke or Captur-class contender. The significant new technology here lies in the 48V mild-hybrid set-up, which is based on Ford's staple 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine. The conventional alternator is swapped out with an 11.5kW starter/generator. The resulting engine is available in either 125 or 155PS guises, the more powerful version available with a 7-speed dual-clutch auto gearbox too. Like most mild hybrids, this new powertrain works in two ways. Either it can be used when coasting or braking; the resulting energy then gets stored in a small battery. Or it can assist the engine during acceleration. Ford states that the extra electrified assistance has allowed for a lower compression ratio and thus a larger turbocharger to be fitted, meaning a more responsive and sporty drive. If you don't like mild-hybrid petrol tech, you can ask your dealer about the alternative 1.5-litre diesel variant that's also available. To drive, however, you don't have to worry what the Hybrid is doing under the bonnet.
Design and Build
Although it's based on the Fiesta, in reality, this car is quite a bit bigger. It's longer, wider and taller. The interior is closely matched to the Fiesta, however, but with a few very modern features added. The prominent SYNC 3 infotainment system takes up most of the dash, some very smart digital dials and more upscale materials. Not to mention zipping seat covers that can be washed and mix and matched if you fancy a change to the interior. The excellent news for small families and active types is the boot space, at 456-litres it's one of the largest compared to its rivals and is accessed by a powered hands-free tailgate. The adjustable boot floor is one the best we've ever seen and offers some usable space for a smaller car.
Market and Model
Pricing is at the upper end of the small SUV sector. Ford is probably justified in this with its new mild-hybrid technology taking centre stage. Taking this on board, it should make for an exciting leasing package as the lenders capitalise on the new model's residuals. Trim levels stick to the Ford recipe with 'Titanium' and 'ST-Line' badging. Equipment levels can include things like heated and massaging seats, heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise plus a rear-view camera. Puma is also the first car in its sector to offer, on the options list, a hands-free tailgate and Lumbar Massaging Seats. Advanced driver assistance options include Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Speed Sign Recognition and Lane Centring, for better negotiation of motorway traffic. There's also a new 'Local Hazard Information' option, which can inform the driver of potentially hazardous situations on the road ahead, we'll be interested to see this working in real use.
The new Puma delivers fashionable looks, cutting edge media connectivity and efficient engine tech that modern buyers require. Providing a package that Ford reckons sets new standards for the driving enjoyment a little car like this can give. Ford is now squarely taking on Renault and Nissan in this space and about time too. Bravo.