Nonetheless, it’s not all as mundane as it might appear. You’ll have by now seen that that is the ST, and due to this fact has had a workover from Fords Efficiency division. Even higher, the Pumas underpinnings are lifted straight from the chic Fiesta ST. Nonetheless with me?
From the outset, I’ve to say I don’t perceive the necessity for a “Crossover”. Nonetheless, the Puma is not only considered one of Britain’s best-selling Crossovers, its considered one of Britain’s best-selling vehicles full cease. Subsequently I wouldn’t be doing my journalist due diligence if I didn’t give it an opportunity. However is that this automobile for the common Crossover purchaser, or for the fanatic?
The automobile, as examined, has an RRP of £33,985. What did I say about unhealthy first impressions? That’s costly to say the least. The beginning value for the Puma ST is round £5,000 greater than its Fiesta buddy, however provided that Ford have determined to cull the Fiesta possibly that’s not the comparability we should always use. Wanting on the market, we discover solely two choices within the sub £35,000 handbook sizzling hatch arsenal. The Puma, and the Hyundai i20n, the latter beginning at £26,230.
So what are you getting for this additional lump of money? For starters, customary spec listing is stocked nicely. Clearly, it comes with the “Efficiency Pack” (this was once an possibility on each Fiesta ST and Puma ST, however now could be customary) in addition to an entire host of tech. Auto Parking, Auto lights and wipers, Navigation, CarPlay (not that I ever obtained it to work…) and a implausible B&O Stereo. As soon as I spec a Fiesta ST as much as that, we’re nearer to the £30k mark, which brings the hole down considerably.
It’s truthful to say the appears to be like of the automobile divide opinion, particularly this one painted in “Imply Inexperienced”. When it was first launched, I didn’t take care of the styling in any respect, maybe largely attributable to utilizing the Puma identify for one thing that wasn’t somewhat couple. Nonetheless, as time has handed, it’s rising on me. I even just like the paint, which is an ST solely selection. Sadly, Ford have determined to delete this color possibility, maybe a sign in direction of the kind of buyer the Puma attracts. There are different methods to identify an ST mannequin out of your customary equipment nonetheless, courtesy of these 19” Wheels and the “Ford Efficiency” embossed splitter. That’s in fact should you’ve already missed the intense pink ST badges, or slash lower twin tailpipes.
Shifting inside, you’re greeted by but extra branding to remind you it’s the spicy variant. Ford Efficiency sill plaques, an ST wheel and the superb bucket seats. They’re a daring selection in what is often a automobile with a watch on practicality, the big bolsters making entry and exit from the drivers seat somewhat extra tight than you might count on. When you’re in them although, they’re extremely snug and supportive. The ultimate icing on the ST-Cake is the 6 velocity shift knob, which may be very welcome to see in an period of numerous “paddle solely” sizzling hatches. Its only a disgrace that the inside high quality isn’t fairly what you’d count on from a £30k+ automobile, however then once more its fairly in keeping with most Ford merchandise.
As beforehand said, you additionally get a lot of the tech inside as customary. The touchscreen infotainment unit, which may be dim witted at occasions, is paired with a wonderful B&O stereo system. I simply want it was extra intuitive to make use of, I by no means labored out how one can get Apple CarPlay working for my cellphone! Fortunately all of the HVAC controls have bodily buttons, they solely use the show to point out you what you’re on. Which, once more, may be pissed off when it lags behind your enter. The identical is true of the digital sprint, which at occasions seemed like I used to be attempting to load it through dial up. It’s value noting that for when the British climate will get a tad extra British, you additionally get: heated seats, steering wheel, fast clear windscreen, auto lights and auto wipers. However since its summer season, solely the air-con obtained a radical exercise on this check. Of the non-paint choices fitted, the lively tailgate was in all probability essentially the most helpful. For £400 you may open the boot by wiggling your foot beneath the rear bumper, and shut it with a button. The “Driver Help Pack”, which listing of options contains the phrase “lively” greater than as soon as, does embody some superb parking cameras. That stated, it additionally contains the power to park itself, so in idea you don’t want them proper?
However sufficient chat about fixtures and fittings for now, sizzling hatches are all about how they drive, not that I used to be fully certain that was going to be the case right here. I believe I used to be anticipating a Fiesta ST with the perimeters blunted off, an each so barely softened up strategy to formulation. Inside a mile, that assumption was fully blown out of the water. Simply leaving my village out onto a B street, the automobile was pulling on each little little bit of camber, seemingly a homing gadget for all potholes. I even assumed it had lane help turned on at one level, but it surely didn’t. This actually has a geometry like a MK1 Focus RS, its all in regards to the flip in and dealing with, much less so in regards to the day-to-day errands. Couple that with a fairly harsh journey, I’m as soon as once more asking myself “who is that this automobile for?”. Right here we’re with these unhealthy first impressions once more…
While the automobile does really feel oddly nervous, it’s clear they’ve not diluted the ST Recipe, which must be applauded. I suppose any longer I have to assume we’ve got a driver’s automobile right here, an fanatic possibility, and peddle it accordingly. Theres loads occurring beneath to assist that argument, too. A Mechanical LSD, Launch Management, Sport and Observe modes all on provide right here. It could be impolite to not present it a few of my favorite check routes.
My first little bit of stomping floor is an actual check for a vehicles suspension, I wont name-names but it surely’s additionally utilized by an area farmer. Let’s simply say his Youtube channel rhymes with Garys Harrage. Both means, the Pumas damping immediately impressed. Maybe on the agency aspect when pottering round, once you begin layering on some velocity it handles practically all that’s thrown at it exceedingly nicely. A few of the compressions on that route are actual bump-stop finders, too. Couple that with good steering really feel, and the unwavering grip from the Michelin PS4S’, and we’ve got a little bit of a weapon on our palms.
And while it isn’t what you’d name quick, (The three cylinder, 1.6 Turbo is unchanged from the Fiesta with 197bhp. However with round 150kg additional mass to haul round) the dynamics of the automobile greater than make up for it. I additionally love a hot-hatch you may rev out with out breaking the legislation, and this little ecoboost motor may be fairly addictive. The three pot noise, the crackles from the exhaust and naturally the faint chirp from the Turbo once you elevate off. Regardless of how a lot is synthesised, I’m all of the happier to hearken to it.
You’ll have seen, I’ve spoken primarily in regards to the in-family feud Ford has between this and the Fiesta. Nonetheless, since Ford are fixing that via execution, maybe I ought to speak extra in regards to the Korean Elephant within the room. The Hyundai i20n. It too is a 1.6T with 200bhp, a 6 Velocity handbook and an LSD. However it’s £5,000 cheaper. The Puma does really feel somewhat extra refined, with higher supplies it’s true, however I nonetheless can’t recover from that value.
While I’m being wise, it’s in all probability time we circled again spherical to the boring topic of practicality. That’s in spite of everything why you purchase a sizzling hatch, and it’s particularly why individuals appear to purchase a crossover. The reality is that the rear seats appear to supply no extra room than a fiesta, and the sloping roof means it may well really feel a bit darkish and claustrophobic again there. The boot house nonetheless is way bigger, measuring 456L verses the Fiestas 292L and I20’s 352L. You additionally get one thing known as the “megabox”, an enormous space of storage beneath the boot flooring which is waterproof and has drain plugs too!
After an entire week with the automobile, it was tough to sum up a conclusion. On the one hand, I nonetheless can’t fairly fathom who its really meant for. On the opposite, I applaud Ford for making it in any respect. Maybe it’s for the fanatic who wants to hold somewhat extra round than an everyday hatch can match? Or possibly it’s for the crossover purchaser who needs one thing somewhat sporty?
Both means, it’s residing proof that with the precise engineers, you may make nearly any style of automobile enjoyable to drive quick. If manufacturers are shifting away from the traditional super-mini in direction of any such automobile, I’m glad somebody continues to be flying the flag for the Scorching Hatch regardless. For me although? If I used to be available in the market for a model new small sizzling hatch proper now, there are solely two selections: I’d be within the Hyundai, however solely by a whisker.