Ford Puma ST

Our Puma gets a new keeper

- Richard Browne (@washlander)

YOU HEAR IT BEFORE YOU SEE IT, THE Puma. On the afternoon that deputy editor Adam Towler arrived to drop it off that was certainly the case, with all manner of loud parps and bangs to entertain the neighbours. As he handed me the key, he warned me about the response of the throttle and to be ‘a bit careful’. Coming from someone who regularly sends supercars sideways in these pages,

I thought it best to take note.

You may have noticed that our Puma still hasn’t made its way back to its original keeper, Sam Jenkins. First Aston Parrott commandeer­ed it when his own Kodiaq VRS was otherwise indisposed, then Adam pinched it for a bit, and now I’ve nabbed to it. If you have kids or you’re a photograph­er, you get to call shotgun on five-door evo fleet cars, it seems. But Sam has now claimed our new MX-5 (see p124) and I’ve got a decent-size replacemen­t for the Stelvio, so everyone’s happy.

Taking the Puma out for my first drive and to get it cleaned, I discovered Adam was right: after the Stelvio, the Puma’s responses seem instant. It feels wild and very much alive. It also feels quicker than its 197bhp might have you expect, and it’s great to have a manual gearshift again. It was only two miles to the car wash, but already I was smiling. What a fun car! It may be billed as an SUV crossover, but after a ‘proper’ SUV it feels very small and compact, much more like a hot hatch.

Then I put my practical head on and started to wonder if it might not be big enough for the holiday I’ve got coming up, or for dropping the eldest and her belongings off at university. But then I remembered Aston raving about the Tardislike ‘Megabox’ hidden beneath the boot floor, which offers an additional 80 litres of space. The smile returned and I felt like I’d hit paydirt: an SUV that’s spacious enough to do practical stuff but has the feel of a hot hatch. Sold!

Date acquired April 2022 Total mileage 6392 Mileage this month 501 Costs this month £0 mpg this month 32.1

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