Ford Puma ST

Why acclimatis­ation is essential to get the best from the Puma

- John Barker (@evojb)

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

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