We could start arguing about whether the Puma is even a sports car. It’s a tall crossover, which means compromising handling. If you really care about fun behind the wheel, you’d better buy a Fiesta ST. Except you can’t buy it anymore, Ford has stopped selling it and there won’t be any more. In addition, the Puma ST already proved in its first version that, despite the unusually high position behind the wheel, it can actually drive like a very decent sharp hatchback. It had a chassis from a Fiesta and an excellent turbo 15-liter as well.
But fleet emissions limits are relentless, and this engine had to go from Puma as well. It was replaced by a liter three-cylinder engine, which, according to Ford, is a very good engine with an interesting sound and character as well as proven reliability, but the ST brand simply raises questions in the car. It is true that this is the most powerful version of the liter EcoBoost so far, which is helped by a mild-hybrid system with 48V technology and a starter/generator with a capacity of 10 hp to the total power of 170 hp and a torque of 248 Nm, but even then it is simply compared to the original fifteenth step back.
The new three-cylinder is also available exclusively with a seven-speed PowerShift dual-clutch transmission, so manual fans are out of luck. On the other hand, the excellently tuned chassis with strengthened stabilizers, Hitachi shock absorbers, directional coil springs, a quarter steeper steering and, of course, strengthened brakes also remains in place. The Puma ST throws itself into corners with enthusiasm, can be beautifully neutral and can move the stern slightly on demand and tighten the trail towards the apex. It can be fun on the right road, but of course it has its limits.
Where the original 1500 was only breathing its last breath for a spectacular finale, nothing much happens in the case of the liter engine. It’s as if Ford built a car for customers who want a car that seems strong at lower speeds, but when you actually challenge it to a sporty drive, it actually turns out to be a bit of a poser.
To be clear – I enjoyed the Puma ST, it’s not a bad car at all. But if you have driven in its previous version, or have even touched a Fiesta ST, you will inevitably find out from the comparison that the current Puma plays second fiddle. You will see what other positives or negatives I found in the video.