Having been a huge fan of Ford for many years, getting a new Fiesta or Focus when the time was right, I was happy to add the Ford Puma to my search for a new green car list. The Ford Puma looked the part, fitted the 3 rules for me buying my new car, it said it was a hybrid, was under 30k and looked like a daily, usable car. Everything looked peachy, until I got to the dealership for the test drive. Making an appointment to see a sales person at 2pm, I arrived on time however Allen Ford Swindon had lost my booking. Not to worry, they quickly recovered and I was sat in front of a polite sales person, who was playing catch up.
In the corner of the the show room was a brand new, Red Ford Puma ST-Line on show. It looked spectacular. Based on a Ford Fiesta chassis the Ford Puma looked neat, modern and practical. Peaking inside, it had comfortable looking innards, the seats, dash and infotainment centre reminded me of my old Fiesta, but that was where the similarity stopped. The boot was opened and airy cabin felt massive. A nice big storage space at the back and the secret compartment under the floor was revealed. The Ford Puma had a right to demand to be taken seriously, as a car on its own merits.
Looking through the colour range, it was clear that it came in every shade of each primary colour, which was great. The interior and spec levels were also great. Ford were catering for most pocket sizes. Just looking at the ST-Line however, I was more than happy to have a car at that level of comfort.
By the time I had finished looking lovingly at the car, the sale person had brought around the Ford Puma demonstrator. It was parked outside, it was a shame that the rain was coming down, but it wasn’t the weather that suddenly dampened my spirits.
Puma, Test Drive
Leaving the showroom, the Ford Puma was sat out in the rain, with its engine running. Slightly confused, I hoped in. It was the same ST-Line spec and the insides were very pleasing and comfortable. But I could not understand why the engine was running, I thought it was a battery hybrid. It was thanks to the Ford Puma that I realised that there were different types of Hybrid car. The Ford Puma is a Mild Hybrid, it runs on a small engine and uses a battery motor to assist when extra power is needed. I was bitterly disappointed. Such a huge motoring manufacturer and Ford chose to go cheap on the green credentials. (I hate to go on about something that is not relevant to the car, but the Ford website has to be one of the most infuriating I have had to navigate, especially from such a big company. #HowManyPopUps!)
Getting on with the test drive. Allen Ford Swindon, were kind enough to allow me to take the car out for an hour. The model was a Ford Puma, ST-Line 1.0 eco-boost (125 psi) model. I decided to roll out to Mollie’s Diner and give it a proper run on the open road. Going out along the A420, I watched the MPG and saw that it was returning the same as I had gotten in my old Fiesta. When I hit a small hill, the dial in the centre of the dash showed a battery boost, but the MPG still went up. I was struggling to find the true meaning of ‘Green’ in Ford’s vocabulary.
Rolling around the roads, the Ford Puma was comfortable and the driving position was great. The controls were familiar to me, it was like putting on an old pair of slippers. The space inside is impressive, plenty of head room and the controls were easy to use. The infotainment centre was great with B&O stereo speakers. The build in Sat-Nav and DAB radio were great to use through the large in car tablet, that is fitted on the dashboard. There were plenty of buttons, switches and dials. Cruise control was present but the adaptive option (matching the car in fronts speed) was an extra cost and not part of this car.
The Ford Puma handled really well, with sharp and decisive handling. Comfortable suspension and seats that cupped the body, all added to the smooth and snug feeling the car gave. Yet there was that niggle, watching the rev counter bouncing up and down as I raised and lowered my foot. The hybrid function was just not cutting it for me.
Parking up at Mollies, it was time to inspect the car properly. There were people looking at the car and I could see their appreciation for the Puma’s form. Testing the rear seats, it was surprisingly comfortable. Plenty of knee room for me behind the passenger front seat. Bearing in mind this is a Fiesta chassis, the seats are not differently spaced, yet it felt a little more roomy, perhaps the foot well was deeper and the feet sank behind and under the seat in front maybe?
Next I had to check out the boot. Opening the self closing hatch, the tailgate raised and the vast expanse was there in front of me. There was next to no lip on the boot, meaning suitcases and shopping would be easy to get in and out. It was well thought out and it was an impressive space. Next I wanted to check out the space under the boot flooring.
It was a vast pocket area that could take a full rucksack and a bit more. The floor space had to be empty before anyone could pick up the hard boot lining to gain access to it. Looking at it, I wondered what I could possibly want to use that space for. Even with suitcases in the back, I was doubting if I’d actually want to put stuff in there. It was a nice gimmick but I probably would not use it, or if I did it would contain car stuff like de-icer for winter and bungee cords. But then I’d forget where I had put them and buy more anyway…
Driving back from Mollies, I tried hard to see the positives and what the benefits would be if I bought this Hybrid car. But the rev counter kept bouncing in front of me, reminding me of what I was driving. Getting back to Allen Ford, Swindon I was bitterly disappointed. Later I realised how bad it had affected me, as I realised that I had only taken three photos of it the entire time I had it!?!
I really wanted to be impressed with the Ford Puma, but realising the type of hybrid that it was, took all the joy from it. It really is a beautiful car, comfortable and had great gizmo’s and gadgets (and more if you wanted to pay for them). The cost of a new Ford Puma was vastly under the £30,000 price I had set. At around £23,000, a full 7k under budget, but if I went for it, it meant making a huge compromise on the green credentials.
The Ford Puma really is a wonderful car and for those that are not that bothered about the green aspect, this car would suit them and they’d have thousands of miles of wonderful driving experiences. For me the Mild Hybrid technology is nowhere clean enough to make me want to part with my cash. If Ford decided to change to a series Hybrid I’d be the first to want to test drive it, but for now I am going to leave it.