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Ford Puma ST First Drive 2021

Andy Brady

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Andy Brady

Ford Puma ST side profile

Best bits

  • The most fun you'll have in an SUV this side of a Porsche Macan
  • More practical than a Ford Fiesta ST
  • You don't have to buy a green one

Not so great

  • A Cupra Ateca is a bigger, more practical choice
  • A little firm when you're not in the mood
  • You could just buy a Fiesta ST
Ford Puma ST 2021

What is it?

This is what happens when you combine the best small crossover on sale today with the best affordable hot hatch on the market. It’s the Ford Puma ST – a slightly gawpy-looking Juke-sized crossover fitted with the mechanicals from the frankly brilliant Fiesta ST.

But does hot hatch into crossover SUV really work? Well, frog-like front-end aside, it certainly looks the business. Our test car is finished in Essex White (not its official name), meaning its Ford Performance splitter really stands out, as does the not-quite-an-RS-Cosworth rear roof spoiler. 

If you’re feeling brave, you can buy the Puma ST in a bespoke Mean Green colour (that's the one in the pictures), while flashy 19-inch alloy wheels complete the racy look. There’s a glossy black finish on the roof, too, as well as on the grille surrounds, door mirror caps and rear spoiler.

Inside, you’re unlikely to confuse the Puma ST with the Posh Spice Vignale model. Recaro sports seats with big, thick bolsters hold you in place, while a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel makes you feel like Ken Block (ask someone of the Tiktok generation). There are ST emblems everywhere, too – on the seats, on the gear knob, on the floor mats, even projected onto the floor when you open the doors in the dark.

Being a Ford Puma, it's also very practical. If the sporty design doesn't excite you, maybe the Megabox will – this is essentially an extra 80 litres of storage space under the boot floor, with a wipe-down finish and even a drain plug at the bottom. Great for carrying hydrangeas home from the garden centre.

Your mother won't like it...
Your mother won't like it...
Figure-hugging Recaro sports seats are standard in the Puma ST
Figure-hugging Recaro sports seats are standard in the Puma ST

How does it drive?

Power comes from the same 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine as the Fiesta ST. It produces the same 200PS as the Fiesta, too, taking the Puma ST in around 6.7 seconds.

Concentrating too much on the figures is doing the Puma ST a disservice, though. It’s more about the size of your grin when you drive it. This is a crossover SUV that’ll make you feel like a 17-year-old. From the farty exhaust note to the wonderfully precise steering, the Puma ST is every bit a Fiesta-ST-on-stilts.

Our test car's shod with super-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres and a limited-slip diff. Both of these do an immense job of pulling you out of bends without resorting to the usual front-drive understeer. It's a lot more agile than something like the Volkswagen T-Roc R.

The downside? When you're not in the mood to thrash it down a country lane, the Puma ST's a bit like an unneutered dog. Don't expect to sit back and enjoy a bit of Radio 4 when this thing wants to hump your leg.

Ford Puma ST rear
Go for the optional Performance Pack for the limited slip differential and Launch Control system

Sounds, er, great. How much?

The Puma ST starts from £28,495, although we reckon it’s worth splashing the cash on the Performance Pack. This retails at £950 and comes with the kinda features that’d get Max Power readers exciting – namely the aforementioned limited slip diff, fancy tyres, Launch Control and lights that tell you when to change gear.

While we reckon the Puma ST is worth every penny of its list price, dealers are already offering big discounts on ex-demo models. We saw a Shrek Green model on sale at a dealer in Manchester for less than £26,000, which isn’t a bad saving for a desirable new model like this.

There isn’t really anything else like the Puma ST on the market to compare it with. Prices are yet to be announced for the upcoming Hyundai Kona N (although we’ll be gobsmacked if it undercuts the Puma), while the Volkswagen T-Roc R is a slightly different monster with a hefty £38k price tag.

Read our full Ford Puma review here

Ford Puma ST interior dashboard
An eight-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto takes care of infotainment. You'll get the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, too...

Watch: everything you need to know about the Ford Puma ST

Ford Puma ST: the facts

Model tested: Ford Puma ST

Engine: 1.5-litre petrol

Gearbox: Six-speed manual

Power/torque: 200PS/320Nm

Combined fuel economy: 41.5mpg

CO2 emissions: 155g/km

Price from: £28,510

As tested: £32,865

Prices for the Ford Puma ST start from £28,510. We'd recommend adding metallic paint (up to £500 depending on colour) and the optional Performance Pack (£950). 

The standard Ford Puma is one of the best small crossovers on sale, and the Ford Puma ST is even better. It's basically a more practical version of the excellent Fiesta ST – and barely any less fun.

Yes. The Ford Puma ST is in showrooms now. Save money by looking for an ex-demonstrator model on heycar.

Find your Puma ST

View all results

Ford Puma

1.5 EcoBoost ST 5dr

  • 2021
  • 4,114 miles
  • Bristol Street Motors Ford Macclesfield
  • Cheshire, SK110LP
Price:£31,500
PCP: £545.26/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £545.26, Customer Deposit: £4,725.00, Total Deposit: £4,725.00, Optional Final Payment: £13,484.00, Total Charge For Credit: £5,793.10, Total Amount Payable: £37,293.10, Representative APR: 9.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 9.48%, Excess Mileage Charge: 4.8ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Ford Puma

1.5 EcoBoost ST 5dr

  • 2021
  • 4,260 miles
  • TrustFord Bristol - Ashton
  • Somerset, BS32LB
Price:£29,800
PCP: £503.53/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £503.53, Customer Deposit: £4,470.00, Total Deposit: £4,470.00, Optional Final Payment: £13,254.00, Total Charge For Credit: £5,547.55, Total Amount Payable: £35,347.55, Representative APR: 9.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 9.46%, Excess Mileage Charge: 4.8ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Ford Puma

1.5 EcoBoost ST 5dr

  • 2021
  • 1,649 miles
  • Bristol Street Motors Ford Redditch
  • Warwickshire, B980LJ
Price:£31,700
PCP: £546.58/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £546.58, Customer Deposit: £4,755.00, Total Deposit: £4,755.00, Optional Final Payment: £13,656.00, Total Charge For Credit: £5,841.30, Total Amount Payable: £37,541.30, Representative APR: 9.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 9.48%, Excess Mileage Charge: 4.8ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000