Ford Puma long-term test review: report 5

The Ford Puma is our favourite small SUV and 2020 Car of the Year, so we know it's terrific. Let's see if it lives up to those standards in everyday use...

Ford Puma long term

The car Ford Puma 1.0 Ecoboost Hybrid 155 ST-Line X Run by Allan Muir, managing editor

Why we’re running it To find out whether our 2020 Car of the Year is as well rounded in everyday use as it's cracked up to be

Needs to Be fun to drive, practical, comfortable and economical, offering something over and above a regular small hatchback

Mileage 1980 List price £24,420 Target Price £22,900 Price as tested £28,770 Test economy 40.2mpg 

27 November 2020 – Smiling on the inside

Ford has raised its game noticeably with the interior of the Puma. Somehow it feels classier and higher in quality than what we’ve come to expect from Ford interiors in the past, to the point where I’m no less happy sitting in the Puma than I’d be in a premium rival such as the Audi Q2

Ford Puma long term

I really like the plush, leather-like panels that cover the tops of the doors and run down to the armrests; they look luxurious, and wherever you choose to rest your elbow, it’s got something smooth and squidgy beneath it. And while I normally dislike carbonfibre of any description being used inside cars, the Puma’s matt-finished, carbonfibre-effect trim with red highlights across the dashboard actually works really well, I think. 

The Puma is the first Ford I’ve driven that comes with a digital instrument panel, and this makes a big difference to the ambience. Bright and super-easy to read, the digital display is far more appealing to look at than any of Ford’s old analogue dials. 

Ford Puma long term

The screen isn’t all that configurable; you only get subtle variations on the same basic design when you change driving modes, with two simple, round dials, a digital speedo and a large information area in between. However, the cluster is brilliant for showing sat-nav instructions, for example, and scrolling through the menus via the steering wheel switches is as easy as you like. Which reminds me: the adaptive cruise control and speed limiter are also a doddle to use, via the controls on the other side of the wheel. 

Ford Puma long term

Fundamentally, the driving position is excellent, too. The driver’s seat and steering wheel offer plenty of easy adjustment and the seat is really comfortable, even on long journeys. You sit high enough that you know you’re driving an SUV, and there’s just enough head room in reserve for me (I’m 6ft 1in tall), even with the £950 panoramic roof fitted, although I’ve noticed that I tend to bump my forehead on the sun visor whenever I lean forwards for a better sideways view at intersections. This isn’t really a problem, though; if necessary, I can drive with the sun visor down, because visibility ahead is still fine.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here