By Otsile Kadiege
The SUV segment is arguably a lucrative segment with many automakers, including Lamborghini and Ferrari, hopping onto the bandwagon. Ford has quite an extensive list of SUVs on their catalogue, however, in SA there are only two SUVs on offer, namely the new Everest and the aging EcoSport. One of the ‘Blue Oval’s’ subcompact crossover SUVs we’d like to see on our roads is the Puma which has been around for many years and is a fitting replacement for the EcoSport.
New tech, more power
The Puma model has a sportier version dubbed Puma ST and now there’s an even sportier version of the potent Puma called Puma ST Powershift. It’s powered by Ford’s multi-award winning turbocharged, direct injected, three-cylinder petrol engine 1.0-litre EcoBost engine which now features a mild-hybrid system with 48-volt technology.
Ford says, the mild hybrid system engages energy recovery more quickly than in other applications for faster recharging of the 48-volt lithium-ion battery pack. This enables the belt-driven integrated starter/generator (BISG) to offer a longer boost period of torque supplementation for enhanced performance at lower engine rpm. In addition, the increased energy recuperation allows a further 10PS (7.3kW) of electric assist from the BISG to boost peak power.
As a result, the Puma ST Powershift delivers up to 170PS (125kW) at 5,750 rpm and up to 248Nm of torque at 3,000 rpm. The powerplant is paired to a seven-speed Ford Powershift transmission which has been optimised with revised software strategies which are said to maximise performance and efficiency.
Other go fast bits and bobs include a twist beam rear suspension rated at 2,000 Nm/deg torsional stiffness, force vectoring springs combined with Hitachi twin-tube frequency-reactive dampers at the front and rear , a 28 mm anti-roll bar integrated into the U-section and a 24 mm front anti-roll bar, as well as 325 mm front discs – 17 per cent larger in diameter than the standard Puma specification.
Sporty exterior design
Tell-tales separating the Puma ST Powershift from the standard Puma are a Ford Performance-embossed splitter integrated into the front bumper which also increases front end downforce by almost 80 per cent versus the standard Puma, a large rear roof spoiler and distinctive rear diffuser, signature ST upper and lower front grilles and Magnetite finished 19-inch alloy wheels.
Ford Puma ST Powershift introduces a new ST-exclusive Azura Blue signature colour among six exterior paint options. Complemented by an available gloss black finish for the roof and standard black grille surrounds, side spears, door mirror caps and rear roof spoiler.
Sporty yet practical interior
Inside, standard highlights include Ford Performance-developed sports seats finished in premium Sensico synthetic leather-effect material, a wireless charging pad, Quickclear heated windscreen, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, FordPass Connect modem, and Ford’s SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system, compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Available driver assistance technologies include Pre-Collision Assist with Active Braking, Active Park Assist, Cross Traffic Alert with Active Braking, and Intelligent Speed Limiter.
On the versatility side of things the Puma ST Powershift retains the Puma’s 456 litres of loadspace with the rear seats in place as well as the innovative Ford MegaBox that provides an 80-litre storage space beneath the boot floor – capable of comfortably accommodating two golf bags in an upright position.
As mentioned above, the Ford Puma is one model we believe is needed to spruce up Ford’s local line up. We also believe it could do well in South Africa given the ever-growing crave for everything SUV.
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