4 May 2021

Ford Puma 2021 Car Review

The Puma is Ford’s response to the increase in popularity of compact SUVs in New Zealand, and has been well received since it was first introduced to the European market over 12 months ago, winning seven highly acclaimed global motoring awards.

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Ford Puma ST-Line 2021
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Ford Puma ST-Line 2021
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Ford Puma ST-Line 2021
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Ford Puma ST-Line 2021
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Ford Puma ST-Line 2021
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Ford Puma ST-Line 2021
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Ford Puma ST-Line 2021

We were impressed by the Puma when it was first launched in November alongside the larger Escape, but we recently had the chance to spend an extended amount of time with the car.

There are two trim levels to choose from – the entry-level Puma (from $34,990 +ORC), or the top end Puma ST-Line (from $37,990 +ORC). We tested the latter.

The ‘purr-fect’ pose?

The Ford Puma ST line shares its platform with the Fiesta, but is a totally different animal. Firstly, it’s jacked up to give it the appearance of an SUV, with wide haunches in the rear and side skirts which accentuate its bold stance. This style continues further with a brave Porsche-like grill that dominates the front end, and a small spoiler at the Puma’s rear.

The exterior is carefully crafted and includes 17-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels which are black machined, which sets the moody tone of the detailed and cohesive exterior. There are LED headlights and spot lights that are well proportioned.

The lighting is further enhanced with small details like the fog lights accented with a painted flourish to add further style to the collective. Ford must be quite proud of its work, as the word ‘PUMA’ is proudly displayed in large letters across the tailgate.

One of the biggest draws to the Puma is its Porsche-like front end with a gorgeous pair of headlights that will no double pique the interests of potential buyers.

Inside story

The Puma offers a fairly comfortable interior that delivers practicality and convenience, with a good space for front seat occupants and ample space for children in the back. This is all thanks to the Puma possessing a 2,588mm wheelbase.

The Puma offers a generous 410-litres of boot space, which comes complete with four handy luggage hooks. Put the 60/40 split-fold rear seats down, and capacity increases to 1,170 litres. There’s even a false floor in the boot which adds a second level of utility to its storage, which allows the cargo area to become completely flat for easy access.

The new Ford Pass Connect embedded modem is also included, which enables you to do things like start, stop and unlock the car from your smartphone. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto comes pre-installed on the infotainment system. In-built sat nav is accessible through the fairly-sized eight-inch infotainment screen.

We were pleasantly surprised to learn that wireless phone charging comes as standard, and several USB outputs as well as a conventional 12V power outlet are available to provide even more juice to your devices.


The Ford Puma is well equipped in the safety department and includes features like Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Lane Keep Aid with Lane Departure Warning, Traffic Sign Recognition, Driver Impairment Monitor, 180-degree split-view reverse camera and six airbags.

The Ford Puma received a five-star ANCAP rating during testing in 2019.

Bean counter?

There isn’t normally too much to talk about when it comes to the upper trim models of cars, but in the case of the Ford Puma there are some 13 added additional features that make the ST-Line a seriously appealing upgrade, especially considering the relatively small upgrade price of just $3,000.

Some of the stand out-features include the 12.3-inch full colour digital instrument cluster, ST-Line sports suspension and a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel with red stitching.

There are also some added safety features like Evasive Steer Assist and Blind Spot Detection which the entry level model Puma misses out on. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the entry level model, but we think most adopters will opt for the Puma ST-Line.

Above the Ford Puma, the Puma ST-Line equipment package includes a comprehensive list of additional features:

  • 12.3-inch full colour digital instrument cluster
  • Flat-bottom ST-Line leather steering wheel Race Red stitching
  • Paddle shifters
  • 17-inch ST-Line, five-spoke alloy wheels
  • ST-Line matte black grille
  • ST-Line front apron
  • ST-Line side skirts
  • ST-Line rear apron treatment
  • ST-Line rear integrated spoiler
  • ST-Line sports suspension
  • Race Red stitching on dash, door trim, dash and gear selector
  • ST-Line sports seats with red stitching
  • Metallic ST-Line foot pedals
  • Power Hands Free tailgate

Does size matter?

Powering both trim levels is the award-winning 1.0-litre turbocharged EcoBoost three-cylinder engine, with a new seven-speed DCT auto transmission.

This ensures the Puma is no slouch compared to its rivals and manages to beat out 92kW and 170Nm through the techy engine, which features high pressure direct fuel injection, twin-independent variable cam timing and fuel saving cylinder deactivation. The power can sometimes come on quicker than you thought.

The transmission has five drive modes to select from: Normal, Sport, Eco, Slippery and Trail. The majority of our driving during testing was conducted under ‘Normal’ - the ride was pleasant enough but we were often reminded of the ST-Line sports suspension, which can be firm at times.

Both models have a combined fuel economy of 5.3L/100km, and a CO2 emissions rating of 121g/km.


The Ford Puma gives its competitors a run for their money, particularly in the performance department.

Yes, it can’t quite match the frugality of the Yaris Cross or price-point of the Renault Duster, but the Puma will undoubtedly captivate many buyers and is a great addition to the overcrowded compact SUV segment.

At a glance


Ford Puma ST-Line


1.0-litre GTDi Petrol


From $34,990 +ORC ($37,990 +ORC as tested)

ANCAP safety rating

5 Star

Power and Torque

92kW, 170Nm


Seven-speed auto (Select Shift Technology with Paddle Shifters on ST-Line) 

Fuel economy/CO2

5.3L/100km, 121g/km

Towing capacity

750kg (Braked)


2WD (Front)

Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

410 litres

Safety systems

  • Auto Emergency Braking (AEB) with cyclist and pedestrian protection
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • Traction Control (TCS)
  • Speed Sign Recognition
  • Emergency Brake Light
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
  • Driver Impairment Alert
  • 2x ISOFIX points
  • Lane Keep Aid with Departure Warning

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