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New Ford Puma Pounces into South Africa

Ford is targeting the lucrative compact crossover segment with its Europe-sourced Puma

By on 06 Dec 2023

With popular products like the Fiesta hatchback, the budget-friendly Fiesta Figo and the raised ride height EcoSport no longer available to Ford South Africa, the arrival of the new Puma compact crossover offers this Blue Oval brand the timely opportunity to once again feature in the local passenger car market.

Ahead of the confirmed arrival of a likely budget-conscious new Territory package in 2024, the Puma is touted to rival the likes of the Volkswagen T-Roc and Hyundai Kona in our market. That said, these products are popular among a predominantly urban-bound set willing to compromise somewhat on packaging in favour of boutique styling and a sense of presence. The T-Roc, for example, offers a good amount of luggage space but its rear passenger legroom is cramped when compared with its more mainstream T-Cross sibling.

Sharing its platform with the since-discontinued modern Fiesta, the Puma is 167 mm longer, 22 wider and 61 mm taller than its hatchback cousin. Significantly for this segment, the newer car has 33 mm more ground clearance when compared with the Fiesta.

Available in two specifications, Titanium and ST Vignale, the Puma range features a comprehensive list of standard specification that includes colour-coded bumpers, door handles and mirrors, LED daytime running lights and alloy wheels (17-inch and 18-inch, respectively). Titanium models feature cloth-covered upholstery but a leather-bound steering wheel, climate control, ambient lighting and an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that can be paired with a modern smartphone. Rear parking sensors and a reverse camera are also standard.

A move to the flagship Puma introduces full leather upholstery with heating and a massage function, digital instrumentation and an upgraded sound system. An optional Styling Pack on this derivative adds a panoramic glass roof and height adjustment on the passenger seat.

Offered on both models, a Driver Assistance Pack (R21 100) adds such active safety features as blind spot assist, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition and front parking sensors.

The Puma is powered exclusively by Ford’s proven 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder EcoBoost Turbo Petrol motor with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. In this application 92 kW and 170 Nm of torque to the front wheels. Claimed average fuel consumption is 5,3 L/100 km.

Called the MegaBox, the Puma’s luggage compartment can be configured to carry larger items – including golf bags – in an upright position.

At the car’s local launch in Cape Town, we were immediately impressed with the ride quality on the Titanium derivative, as well as the broad levels of refinement and quietness in the car’s cabin. The ST Vignale gains both a lower profile tyre, as well as a sport suspension so feels the sportier of these two models to pilot, yet its default ride quality is altogether firmer as a result.

The Ford Puma is priced from R569 900 for the Titanium and R613 900 for the ST Vignale. Ford South Africa has as per the “right to repair” legislation unbundled its service plans from the asking price of all its products. A 6-year/90 000 km service plan for the Puma will add R17 700 to the asking price.

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