- Fun to drive with eager engines
- Stylish looks
- Practical boot with standard ‘megabox’
Not so great
- Limited on the used market
- Not as spacious inside as some alternatives
- Won’t appeal to badge snobs
On the inside
How much does it cost to run
Prices, versions and specification
Overall verdict on the Ford Puma
"Finally, the Puma is a decent little crossover from Ford. It’s just as fun to drive as a Fiesta (and almost as good as the original Puma from the 90s), with little trade-off in terms of ride quality. It should be cheap to run, too, thanks to its small turbocharged engines with mild-hybrid technology."
As well as being the UK’s best-selling car, the Ford Fiesta is also one of the best little cars money can buy. You’d have thought, then, that Ford would be able to work its magic on a small crossover. It’s easy, right - take the Fiesta, give it some extra ride height and voila - one superb little car to take on the Nissan Juke.
It’s taken a while, though. Ford’s first attempt was the EcoSport. It was based on the Fiesta, which was a good start, but everything went downhill from there. The interior was below par, it rode uncomfortably and it had, frankly, looks only a mother could love.
The EcoSport’s had numerous updates since its introduction in 2014 to try and make it a bit more competitive. Ford even introduced the Fiesta Active - a jacked-up version of the Fiesta - in a bid to capture some of that lucrative small crossover market.
Why the history lesson? Well, what we’re trying to say is, the Puma’s been a long time coming. It finally arrived in 2020 with trendy looks (it looks better in the metal, honestly), a versatile cabin and the fun driving experience we’ve become accustomed to from Ford.
Initially only sold with the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, buyers could decide how much power they wanted: 125 or 155PS. Both were available with mild-hybrid technology, while the lower-powered engine was also sold without.
A 1.0-litre engine might sound a little pathetic but, actually, the Puma packs plenty of punch. It’s a lot more fun to drive than something like a Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, yet also ticks the refined box when you want to take it on a long journey.
It’s a bit smaller than rivals (more ‘car’ than ‘SUV’), and that means it’s not quite as spacious as alternatives inside. Your kids would probably prefer it if you bought a Renault Captur.
It has got an ace up its sleeve, though. The boot is huge - partly thanks to a clever feature hidden underneath the boot floor. It’s essentially a wipe-clean storage area dubbed the ‘megabox’. It might not sound that innovative, but it could be very useful for carrying things like muddy football boots.
You can’t really buy a basic Ford Puma, which explains why it looks relatively expensive on the used market (especially compared to the dreadful EcoSport). The most affordable models are badged Titanium, meaning you get things like cruise control, an eight-inch navigation system and rear parking sensors. Massage seats, too. Yup - on the entry-level car.
Most people will be tempted by the sportier ST-Line or ST-Line X models, while early cars were also offered with First Edition packs. Depending on trim level, these adding features like extra driver assistance features or a panoramic sunroof.
As you can probably tell, we rate the Ford Puma highly. You’ll pay strong money for one but that just reflects its desirability.
Comfort and design: Ford Puma interior
"There’s nothing revolutionary about the Puma’s interior design. It looks an awful lot like a Fiesta, particularly up front. A Peugeot 2008 is more stylish inside, while we rate the Volkswagen T-Roc’s minimalist (if a little dull) approach."
Fortunately, Ford interiors have improved dramatically in recent years - so don’t dismiss the Puma on the basis that a Focus you drove a few years ago felt a little naff inside. All models get a meaty steering wheel, while there’s a good amount of buttons without feeling overwhelming.
All Pumas come with height-adjustable driver’s seats along with adjustable lumbar support. This, combined with plenty of movement in the steering wheel, means people of all shapes and sizes should be able to get comfortable. Being slightly higher than something like a Fiesta, you’ll also find access easy - you can slide onto the driver’s seat rather than down into it.
In a slightly weird quirk, the most affordable Titanium models come with massage seats for the driver and front passenger, but these aren’t available on ST-Line models. The ST-Line does get sport seats with a little more side support, while the ST-Line X comes with part-leather seats.
Look for models fitted with the Comfort Pack (standard on Titanium First Edition models) for heated seats and steering wheel. The optional panoramic sunroof is another desirable option that makes the cabin feel a little brighter."
Handling and ride quality: What is the Ford Puma like to drive?
"You don’t need to be Lewis Hamilton to appreciate how much fun the Puma is to drive. Just like the Fiesta on which it’s based, it’ll dart around corners with great enthusiasm and little in the way of rolypolyness. Yes, that’s a word."
That’s especially true for ST-Line and ST-Line X trim levels with their sports suspension, but all Puma models are dynamically sharper than rivals like the Renault Captur and Skoda Kamiq.
What’s most impressive is that Ford’s combined the Puma’s eager handling with suspension that copes perfectly fine with lumps and bumps in the road - even the sportier setup of the ST-Line trim levels. Sure, there are softer alternatives (like the Skoda Kamiq), but the Puma proves you can have a great handling car that rides well.
While the Puma’s great fun on a country road, it’ll also cover long motorway journeys quite comfortably - feeling like a much bigger, more grown-up car than it is. The high-up seating position (compared to a Fiesta) helps here, as well as the compliant suspension.
That also helps around town, where you get a good view over traffic ahead. The Puma’s nimble steering and precise manual gear change makes it a joy to bimble about in. Reversing sensors (and a rear-view camera) on high-spec models helps with parking.
All Pumas come with selectable drive modes, ranging from Eco to Sport and Slippery to Trail. While the Puma isn’t available with four-wheel drive, the latter modes do a great job of making up for that in snowy or slippery conditions. Combine this with winter tyres and we reckon you’re onto a winner when Jack Frost hits. Sport mode, meanwhile, livens up the (already quite responsive) throttle response and adds a bit of weight to the steering.
MPG and fuel costs: What does a Ford Puma cost to run?
"If you’re expecting a big saving in fuel costs for mild-hybrid models, you’re going to be disappointed. Officially, the 125 MHEV model returns 51.4mpg, while the 155 version achieves 50.4mpg. The entry-level 125 Ecoboost engine (without mild-hybrid tech) returns 48.7mpg."
These are figures from the latest WLTP fuel economy tests, which means they ought to be fairly realistic in the real-world. Traditionally, small turbocharged engines like the Ford Ecoboost units aren’t as efficient as you might expect, though.
A diesel model is yet to hit the market but expect it to be the most efficient option in the Puma range. Don’t hold out for this unless you cover high miles, though - it’ll be more expensive to buy, and diesels don’t suit urban driving or lots of short journeys.
How much should you be paying for a used Ford Puma?
"With a number of award wins and glowing reviews across the board, a Ford Puma is a car in demand. Dealers still have plenty in stock, though, with some good deals available for those of us looking to save money over retail price."
A budget of £20,000 will get you an ex-demonstrator model with 2-3000 mile on the clock. Like buying an ex-display washing machine, these will have been poked and prodded by other customers, but they’re significantly cheaper than a new model (and there won’t be a waiting list). We found a Titanium First Edition with the 125PS 1.0-litre mild-hybrid engine advertised for £18,995 - that’s a saving of around £3500.
Many dealers also sell pre-registered models. These are cars that have been ordered and registered in order to meet targets, but usually have even fewer miles on the clock than ex-demo cars. £23,000 will get an as-new ST-Line X First Edition Plus (that means it has everything) with the more powerful 155PS engine, compared to close to £27,500 if you ordered the same car new. That’s a saving of £4500.
Ready to get your top quality Ford Puma?
- All cars come with a warranty
- Selected dealers only
- All quality checked
1.0 EcoBoost Hybrid mHEV ST-Line X 5dr
- 1,203 miles
- Lookers Ford Sheffield
- Yorkshire, S47UQ
Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £284.47, Customer Deposit: £2,969.00, Total Deposit: £2,969.85, Optional Final Payment: £9,959.00, Total Charge For Credit: £3,086.30, Total Amount Payable: £22,885.30, Representative APR: 7.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 7.61%, Excess Mileage Charge: 4ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000
1.0 EcoBoost Hybrid mHEV ST-Line 5dr
- 271 miles
- Foray Motor Group Ford Shaftesbury
- Dorset, SP78PL
Representative example: Contract Length: 37 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £581.52, Customer Deposit: £3,225.00, Total Deposit: £3,225.00, Total Charge For Credit: £2,660.72, Total Amount Payable: £24,160.72, Representative APR: 8.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 4.72%
Is the Ford Puma right for you?
Do you want one of the most desirable small crossovers on sale? Silly question. The Puma ticks a lot of boxes for a lot of people. As well as being great to drive, it’s a comfortable choice that’ll happily eat up motorway miles. It’s got more personality than the Volkswagen T-Roc, and is better to drive than a Citroen C3 Aircross. Frankly, it’s in a different league to the Vauxhall Crossland X.
OK, the cabin could be a little bigger, and some people will turn their noses up at the Ford badge. You’ll have to wait a while before automatic or diesel models trickle down to the used market. Other than that, there’s really not an awful lot going against the Puma.
What’s the best Ford Puma model/engine to choose?
There aren’t many choices and, to be honest, none of them are bad. Titanium models will suit buyers looking for comfort - with its compliant ride and massage seats. The ST-Line looks and feels a bit sportier, thanks to its bodykit and sports suspension. ST-Line X models are fully loaded, with part-leather seats, a premium sound system and sick 18-inch alloy wheels. Yes, we said ‘sick’.
In terms of engines, the EcoBoost 125 will suit most buyers, although it’s hard to ignore the temptation of the more powerful 155 version. This adds to the Puma’s fun factor and won’t cost a great deal more to run. If you cover a lot of miles, it might be worth waiting for a diesel. There’s also a hot ST model on its way.
What other cars are similar to the Ford Puma?
We’d also suggest looking at the Volkswagen T-Roc. It’s a stylish crossover with a decent cabin (although it feels a bit cheap in some areas). The SEAT Arona is better to drive and has been around for longer - so you’re more likely to find a pre-loved bargain. We like the latest Peugeot 2008 although, like the Puma, it’s still relatively new so will be expensive second-hand. A Renault Captur is a more practical choice, while the Citroen C3 Aircross majors on comfort. If you’re on a budget, you could also consider the Ford EcoSport. But you probably shouldn’t.
Quality and finish
Don’t go expecting a premium finish - there are a few hard plastics here and there to remind you that you’re driving a Ford rather than a more expensive alternative. No more than what you’d find in the Volkswagen T-Roc, though - and it’s a lot better than the budget Ford EcoSport.
ST-Line X models come with part-leather seats and carbon-effect trim - both of which make the cabin feel a bit more special, but it’s still not the plushest crossover on the market.
The switchgear feels robust but it’s not going to make you feel as warm and fuzzy as a premium rival like the Audi Q2. Still, you don’t buy a Ford crossover to get a warm and fuzzy feeling from the switchgear.
Infotainment: touchscreen, USB, nav and stereo in the Ford Puma
All Pumas have the same eight-inch infotainment system perched on top of the dash, like a bit of an afterthought. Its positioning might look a bit awkward but it’s well-placed for glancing at while driving.
This provides access to all the features you’d expect: navigation, DAB radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s a simple system to use with logical menu layouts and clear graphics. Sometimes it can feel a little laggy to respond, but it’s a much better system than that found in Peugeot-Citroen models like the DS 3 Crossback and Peugeot 2008.
Want more tech? ST-Line and ST-Line X models have a fancy 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. Some Titanium models will have it, too, as part of the Technology Pack. It replaces traditional dials with a TFT screen with a layout which can be modified. It’s no Audi Virtual Cockpit, but it still looks pretty sharp.
Finally, there are two USB ports in the front along with a wireless charge pad. Your phone isn’t going to run out of charge in a Puma.
Space and practicality: Ford Puma boot space
The Puma is one of the smallest of the small crossovers - yet it’s also one of the most practical.
We’ll start with the boot, because that contains one of the Puma’s most exciting features. That’s if you’re the kind of person who finds practicality exciting, anyway. We do.
As well as having a big boot with usefully square dimensions and a wide opening, the Puma’s hiding an extra 80 litres of luggage space under the floor. This is in the form of a what Ford calls a ‘megabox’ (told you it was exciting…). It’s essentially a square underfloor load area with a heard-wearing lining and a drain plug at the bottom so you can hose it clean. Great for carrying plants home from the garden centre.
On the downside, the megabox means there’s nowhere to store a spare wheel (and Ford’s resisted the temptation to stick it on the back like the original EcoSport).
Unlike the Renault Captur and Volkswagen T-Cross, there’s no sliding rear bench in the Puma. That’s no biggy, though, and the rear bench does drop easily to provide more luggage space if required.
Space in the back feels pretty tight, especially for adults. Head and legroom is limited and the shape of the rear windows means it feels a little claustrophobic. Isofix points are fitted to the outer rear seats, helping to secure child seats. They’re not on the front passenger seat, though.
Things are better up front, where the driver and front-seat passenger will find plenty of room. There’s loads of space for all your knick-knacks, too - with decent door bins and a pretty big glovebox. The cupholders in the centre console are useful, although you’ll have to be careful not to spill your coffee while circumventing the handbrake.
Finally, just a note on the panoramic sunroof (fitted to ST-Line X First Edition models and available as an option across the range). While we love a panoramic roof for letting extra light into the cabin, it does eat into headroom slightly. Think twice if you’re a taller person.
What engines and gearboxes are available in the Ford Puma?
Is a 1.0-litre engine not a bit weedy in a car like the Ford Puma? You might be surprised. The most powerful 155PS models are particularly punchy, helped by the mild-hybrid system which is fitted as standard.
This isn’t a ‘proper’ hybrid like a Toyota C-HR, nor do you have to plug it in like the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. It can’t run entirely under electric power alone - rather, the small battery and electric motor will give the petrol engine a helping hand, providing a small power boost and a minor improvement in efficiency.
Our favourite thing about the mild-hybrid system is that you won’t really notice it. The more observant driver might spot that the engine turns itself off before you roll entirely to a stop (the electric motor ensures you don’t lose things like steering), but it just works seamlessly, saving you a few quid at the petrol pumps.
The lower-powered 125PS engine is available with or without the mild-hybrid system. Most used Pumas have it - but it makes such a negligible difference that it shouldn’t be deal-breaker either way.
Even the 125 Ecoboost is pretty nippy, accelerating to 62mph in around 10 seconds. The 155 takes 8.9 seconds, meaning it’s a better choice if you like to overtake slower traffic or frequently have to tackle short motorway slip roads.
The Ford Puma was initially only offered with a manual gearbox, so that’s what currently dominates the used market. It’s a slick six-speed transmission that adds to the appeal of the Puma for those of us who enjoy driving, but you may wish to look elsewhere (or hold on a bit…) if you cover a lot of stop-start driving and would prefer an auto. Or a diesel.
Refinement and noise levels
A downside of punchy little three-cylinder engines like those used in the Puma is usually a lack in refinement compared to bigger engines. They can sound quite coarse, especially at high revs, and need working quite hard.
There’s certainly a distinctive three-cylinder sound from the Puma as you build the revs, but it’s actually quieter and more refined than we’d expect. While the Puma’s great fun to drive, it settles down into a surprisingly grown-up long-distance cruiser.
Having said that, you’ll notice a bit of road noise, especially in cars fitted with the bigger 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels. The Puma’s bulky dimensions compared to the Fiesta means there’s a bit of wind noise, too - although it’s not particularly intrusive.
While conventional petrol engines with stop/start create a noticeable shudder as the car comes to a halt (and when you pull away again), the Puma’s mild-hybrid system does this on the move so is less noticeable. Unlike a proper hybrid, though, it can’t travel under electric power alone. The Toyota C-HR is good at this, providing impressive refinement as it covers short distances around town under electric power alone.
Safety equipment: How safe is the Ford Puma?
The Ford Puma is a very safe car, with Euro NCAP (the independent body responsible for crash-testing new cars) awarding it a maximum five-star safety rating.
It scored well across the board: 94 per cent for adult occupants, 84 per cent for children, 77 per cent for vulnerable road users and 74 per cent for its safety assist systems.
Pleasingly, all Puma models come with a heap of the latest safety technology systems as standard. This includes a pre-collision assist system with autonomous emergency braking which means that, if the car’s cameras and sensors detect an impending collision, it can apply the brakes to prevent it (or, at least, mitigate the impact).
There’s also a lane-departure warning which will alert the driver if you start straying out of your lane on the motorway, while hill-start assist will prevent the car rolling backwards during a hill-start manoeuvre.
If you are in a crash and it’s heavy enough for the airbags to deploy, Ford’s infotainment system will automatically use your connected phone to dial the emergency services and will pass on your GPS location.
ST-Line and ST-Line X models come with rain-sensing wipers as well as automatic headlights with automatic high beam - great for night-time driving.
On the downside, the Puma’s ‘mega box’ means there’s no room for a spare wheel in the boot, so you’ll have to make do with a tyre repair kit if you get a puncture.
Insurance groups and costs
The standard Ecoboost 125 should be the cheapest to insure. Titanium models with this engine fall into group 11, which is comparable to like-for-like rivals (although you can get less powerful alternatives which will cost less in insurance). Sportier ST-Line models and mild-hybrids are in insurance group 12, which means they’ll cost a little more to insure.
The priciest is the ST-Line X First Edition (or First Edition Plus) with the 155PS engine, which falls into insurance group 16.
VED car tax: What is the annual road tax on a Ford Puma?
The latest VED rules mean most drivers will pay a flat rate of £150 a year in car tax after the initial payment (which is CO2-dependent and paid when the car’s first registered). Alternatively-powered cars, including mild-hybrid versions of the Ford Puma, save £10 a year in tax - so you’ll pay £140 following the first year.
Trim levels and standard equipment
From launch, the Ford Puma range started with the high-spec Titanium model. This is well-equipped with highlights including 17-inch alloy wheels, Ford’s SYNC3 navigation with an eight-inch touchscreen display, massage seats, rear parking sensors and cruise control.
If you’re after a sporty choice, look for an ST-Line model with its bodykit, rear spoiler and sports suspension. Inside, there’s a flat-bottomed steering wheel (like in a race car) and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
For the ultimate in range-topping sportiness, the ST-Line X adds 18-inch alloy wheels, partial leather trim, rear privacy glass (that’s tinted windows in old money), lumbar and height adjust for the driver and front passenger seats, carbon-look interior highlights and a premium B&O sound system with 10 speakers.
These were also offered with additional First Edition packs on early Puma models. Look for a Titanium First Edition for the Driver Assistance and Comfort Packs (the former with such features as a rear-view camera, front parking sensors and adaptive cruise control; the latter with a heated steering wheel and seats). This also adds rear privacy glass.
The ST-Line X First Edition Pack also adds the Driver Assistance Pack as well as LED headlights and an electric tailgate. The ST-Line X was also offered with the First Edition Plus Pack, which had all the highlights of the First Edition Pack in addition to an openable panoramic sunroof and 19-inch alloy wheels.
On the inside
How much does it cost to run
Prices, versions and specification
Ask the heycar experts: common questions
Is the Ford Puma a good car?
We rate the Ford Puma highly and it's one of our best-rated cars of 2020. You’ll pay strong money for one but that just reflects its desirability. More personality than the Volkswagen T-Roc, and is better to drive than a Citroen C3 Aircross. Frankly, it’s in a different league to the Vauxhall Crossland X.
Is the Ford Puma 4x4?
This is a small 4x4 front-wheel drive only and its 1.0-litre petrol engines are more at home on suburban roads than in the mud. Should you need a car with some off-road capability, we suggest looking elsewhere - Suzuki's Jimny, for example.
heycar editorial team
What is the Ford Puma based on?
The Ford Puma is loosely based on the Ford Fiesta. Although it has a different look and rides much higher, underneath it shares many components and parts. That's no bad thing - we rate the Ford Fiesta highly, too.
Is the Ford Puma an SUV?
Depends who you ask. Some will call it an SUV. Others will call it a crossover. It's best to look at the company that the Ford Puma keeps. The SEAT Arona is similar - better to drive and has been around for longer - so you’re more likely to find a pre-loved bargain. We like the latest Peugeot 2008 although, like the Puma, it’s still relatively new so will be expensive second-hand.
Reviews of similar cars
Quality checked, all cars less than 8 years old and warranty included
Looking for other Ford cars?
Quality checked, all cars less than 8 years old and warranty included