What's the used Ford Puma hatchback like?
When it was first launched at the end of 2019, we were so impressed with the new Ford Puma we had no hesitation in making it our overall Car of the Year 2020. We said it excelled in all the areas that were important to buyers in its class, as well as offering a mix of fun and frugality not previously seen in a small SUV.
Buyers liked it, too, and in its first year on sale the Puma was the ninth best-selling car in the UK, which means there are now plenty of them to hunt down on the used car market.
Under its pert bonnet, you’ll find Ford’s 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol three-cylinder engine, available with either 123bhp or 153bhp. Mild-hybrid assistance is an option for the 123bhp unit and standard on the more powerful version. The sporty ST model, meanwhile, is based on the same underpinnings as the Ford Fiesta ST, and shares that car’s 197bhp 1.5-litre turbo three-cylinder engine. All Pumas are paired with a six-speed manual gearbox that drives the front wheels, with a seven-speed automatic standard on the non-hybrid version of the Ecoboost 125.
Four trims are on offer, if you discount the ST: Titanium, ST-Line, ST-Line X and ST-Line X Vignale. All trim levels come with an 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system, with DAB radio, built-in sat-nav and a couple of USB ports. You also get a wireless charging pad, which makes it easier to charge certain smartphones. Titanium trim comes with 17in alloy wheels, automatic lights and wipers, climate control and cruise control. On top of that, you also get rear parking sensors and a wireless phone charger. ST-Line trim brings sportier styling and swaps the conventional instrument dials behind the steering wheel for a 12.3in digital display. ST-Line X trim gets climate control and also brings bigger 18in alloys for an even sportier look, along with tinted rear windows, part-leather seats and a B&O stereo. The range-topping ST-Line X Vignale gets full leather seats (heated in the front), a heated leather steering wheel and keyless entry.
Meanwhile, the vivacious ST version gets 19in alloy wheels, Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system, wireless charging, a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display, a heated windscreen, heated Recaro sports seats and a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel.
On the road, the Puma is great fun to drive. All the engine options are gutsy (the ST is a real hoot), especially the ones with the mild-hybrid technology, and whether pottering around town or enjoying a longer blast you’ll be impressed; the Puma is responsive from low revs with pleasingly accessible oomph.
The ride may be firmer than one or two of its rivals, but it’s never harsh or uncomfortable. Besides, the pay-off is minimal body lean in corners, which adds to the Puma’s appeal on the twisties. Indeed the steering is pin-sharp and the handling a delight, especially on the ST-Line models equipped with the sports suspension, although all versions dart into bends more eagerly than any of the Puma’s rivals.
Inside, the Puma’s attractive interior might not be top-notch plush but it has some pleasingly squidgy surfaces on the dashboard and at the tops of the doors. Unless you’re exceptionally tall, you’ll fit in the front of the Puma easily enough, and the driving position is spot-on. Only in the rear does it want for space, so a couple of six-footers will enjoy less knee room than they would in one or two of its small SUV rivals.
You can fit six carry-on-sized suitcases in the main boot compartment, and if you lift up its boot floor and you’ll find a large well underneath that can swallow a further two cases. The boot floor is also height-adjustable and, when set to its highest position and the rear seats are folded down, leaves no step in the floor of the extended load bay, and only a very small lip at the boot entrance.