MOTORS: Does Ford Puma Titanium 1.0 have extra bite?
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I’m far from technically-minded. I believe cars are for driving, not tinkering with although I know a lot of owners love getting down and dirty under the bonnet.
That’s a challenge as most of what loiters there is sealed and accessible only when plugged into a computer at a specialist workshop.
While I understand little of exactly what goes on in the mechanical box of tricks, I admire the skill of the modern breed of automotive engineers.
Their expertise came to mind while I was behind the wheel of the latest Ford Puma, which is halfway between a compact hatchback and a small SUV.
What’s remarkable about the car is the output of the relatively small sub-one litre, three-cylinder engine which may be small but packs a surprising punch.
I managed to get more than the claimed economy figure, nudging around 60 mpg over a range of conditions and roads with no obvious shortage of power when called upon.
SEE ALSO: Read lots more motors reviews from Alan
While it’s not the fastest away from the lights, it can still get up to 62mph in under 10 seconds which is perfectly acceptable, and adequate for today’s roads.
The Puma name was revived by Ford a few years ago, having been attached a quarter of a century earlier to a small front wheel drive coupe. It had quite dramatic styling for the time and the name helped fit the sporty image the designers were trying to project.
Unfortunately, it didn’t have the bite that was hoped for and after five years of disappointing sales, it sank into history before Ford decided to give the name another go.
It’s had more success this time around but faces a competitive market with the likes of the Skoda Kamiq, the T-Cross from VW, Nissan’s Juke, and some fine examples from France, like the Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur.
What makes the Puma different is the mild-hybrid engine technology which you don’t often find at this price range and that’s what gives the car surprising nippy acceleration and great economy. It’s also got low emissions for the environmentally-aware while returning fun on the road with agility and good handling.
The secret is the Ecoboost 48-volt mild hybrid box of tricks which squeezes every drop of power out of the fuel while shutting off the engine when it’s not needed and using a small electric motor to provide a bit of boost when called upon. It’s clever and all done automatically and easily without any input from the driver.
For those watching the costs, it's monthly PCP package is proving attractive to customers who don’t want to fork out a lump sum.
The test car was in titanium trim which brings a load of equipment including automatic projector headlights with LED daytime running lights and front fog lamps, power folding heated door mirrors with puddle lamps to light the ground as you step out, cruise control with intelligent speed assist and the excellent Ford heated windscreen.
A smooth and precise six-speed manual gearbox is the standard but a seven-speed automatic gearbox is available as an option.
The interior is the usual straightforward and user-friendly Ford layout with controls which are in the right place without having to negotiate a complex menu in the 8-inch touchscreen.
The lane departure system – something which I always find too intrusive – can be cancelled by pressing a button on
the end of the indicator stalk.
The test car came with the Driver Assistance Pack which for £950 brings a rear view camera, active park assist and upgrades the cruise control to an intelligent adaptive set up.
It’s remarkably spacious and the boot floor can be adjusted for height. Under it lies a huge bin which can take two suitcases. It’s even got a plug at the bottom, to drain any water from wet jackets or boots or hose away mud after a day in the country.
Ford Puma Titanium 1.0
(£27,215 as tested)
petrol EcoBoost MHEV
POWER: 125 PS
TORQUE: 210 Nm
TOP SPEED: 119mph
0-62mph: 9.8 secs