Ford Puma ST
Why acclimatisation is essential to get the best from the Puma
HAT AN ASTONISHING ENGINE the Puma’s 1.5-litre triple is. Its three-cylinder beat makes it sound relaxed, lazy almost, but it delivers ludicrously strong torque seemingly from tickover. It’s a remarkable example of how far turbocharging has come, and yet it was another reason why it took me far longer than I expected to drive the Puma smoothly. The first couple of times I drove it I felt clumsy, like a novice driver; the steering has more response and self-centring than I like or seems necessary so the car felt jumpy, while the brakes had too much dead travel and then a strong bite point.
Two weeks later, I’ve adapted. My steering inputs are now slow and small, I lean gently into the brake pedal and I squeeze the throttle and ride the torque, shifting gears less frequently and in an unhurried fashion. Around town the Puma is now calm; tamed, if you like. I now feel I’m in the right place to start interrogating the handling, which strikes me as odd because there was a time not so long ago when you could jump in any Ford and feel at home within a few hundred yards. They rode and steered sweetly and all their major controls were beautifully judged, so you felt like you were driving with finesse. Any driver did. This was Ford’s USP under Richard Parry-jones and it was applied to Ka, Focus, Mondeo and the original Puma of course. A sprinkling of that would make the current Puma so much more satisfying.
WDate acquired April 2022 Total Mileage 10,011 Mileage this month 1040 Costs this month £0 mpg this month 36.6