2021 Ford Puma ST sports SUV revealed: price, specs and release date
The Ford Puma ST is a sporty version of Ford’s smallest SUV and it takes its engine and styling cues from the popular Fiesta ST hot hatch...
On sale: Now | Price from: £28,495
It’s been said that if you don’t look back at your car after you’ve parked it, you bought the wrong model. And with looks and performance that should definitely raise a smile, the new Ford Puma ST sports SUV is one car that owners are likely to take a second glance at as they walk away from.
The Puma ST is the hot version of Ford’s small SUV, and it looks set to be a strong contender in this class. For its blend of practicality, affordability and great handling and agility, the Puma is our reigning Car of the Year, and that bodes well for this flagship model.
The Puma ST promises to combine the practicality and lofty driving position of an SUV with the driving enjoyment of a hot hatch, so keen drivers no longer need to compromise if they need a more accommodating car. It’s based on the same underpinnings as the Fiesta and Fiesta ST, and is also fitted with the same three-cylinder turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine as its hot hatch cousin.
Other similarities on the outside include a prominent lower body kit that extends around the car, incorporating a splitter-style front bumper and a new rear bumper that sets off the car's twin exhaust pipes. There’s also a large rear spoiler, and the Puma wears the same 19in alloy wheels as the Fiesta ST. And for those who really want to stand out from the crowd, distinctive Mean Green paint is an ST flourish.
2021 Ford Puma ST engine
The potent 197bhp 1.5-litre all-aluminium engine from the Fiesta ST is the obvious choice to propel the Puma ST. It allows the SUV to complete the 0-62mph sprint in just 6.7sec – the same time as the hot hatch. The standard Puma is already the best small SUV to drive, but to make the ST feel sportier, the steering response has been made 25 percent faster and the chassis 40 percent stiffer.
To help drivers get the most out of those tweaks, the Puma offers four drive modes: Eco, Normal, Sport and Track. These alter the driving dynamics and accelerator response to suit different road and weather conditions. Buyers can also add a Performance Pack that includes a launch control system that enables the fastest standing starts.
Driven gently, the Puma ST should be relatively frugal; it makes uses of Ford’s cylinder deactivation technology which can shut off one of the engine’s three cylinders when the car is coasting or under light acceleration, in order to save fuel. Official fuel economy is stated as 40.9mpg, but we'll not know the veracity of that figure is until it’s been through our TrueMPG test.
2021 Ford Puma ST interior
Like other ST models, the Puma is decked out with heavily bolstered Recaro sports seats up front, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and an ST gear knob.
Bearing an ST badge doesn’t stop the Puma from being practical though. This hot version comes with the same 80-litre underfloor boot storage compartment that gives the Puma the best luggage capacity in the small SUV class.
It’s also well kitted out for technology lovers, with wireless phone charging, an 8.0in infotainment touchscreen and voice controls for the audio, navigation and your smartphone when it’s connected via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Some of the latest active safety systems are provided as standard on the Puma ST. These include a cross traffic alert system that will apply the brakes if it senses an imminent collision with an oncoming vehicle, and adaptive cruise control that can recognise and react to speed signs and keep the car in its lane on the motorway. There is also a local hazard information system that will flash up an alert about any traffic incidents in the car’s vicinity, warning the driver about potential hazards before they become visible.
2021 Ford Puma ST prices
Puma ST prices start on the appealing side of £30,000, but the Puma ST still represents a significantly bigger outlay for buyers than the standard Puma; you can pick one up for just over £20,000 when our Target Price discount saving of £1659 is taken off the list price.
However, the Puma ST seriously undercuts its current small sports SUV rivals, including the Volkswagen T-Roc R, which starts at more than £40,000, and the Audi SQ2 which costs from just under £38,000. So, for now, it looks like good value for money, but that may change as more small sports SUVs arrive on the market.