Ford Puma (2024) review | Autocar
The Puma’s powertrain has three small turbo vessels capable of shutting down completely when the car is in motion. From deactivating the cylinder when driving lean; And use it on a 15 hp, 37 lb-ft electric motor to enhance overall efficiency, outright performance or drivability. It works well 99% of the time to hide the technical complexity needed to make it all happen.
It carries the car from low revs with impressive response and an accessible sense of gravity. And perhaps most importantly, it only allows you to appreciate the complexity of its operating brief in the most fleeting moments – sometimes with a hint of inconsistency in braking response if you take the car out of the gear too early when decelerating, or with a slightly abrupt movement of the steering once you press gas pedal. These are issues you’re only likely to pay attention to if you expect them.
Considering how much it obviously does to boost low-end torque, saving you from necessary gear changes, the mild hybrid system adds a lot more to the car’s overall drivability than it detracts.
On a rainy test day, the Puma took a two-way average speed of 10.0 seconds to reach 60 mph from rest, a fairly solid if not exceptional showing. But the fact that it was about 7.0 seconds (or about 40%) quicker from accelerating from 30 mph to 70 mph in fourth gear than the 1.0-liter turbocharged Juke we tested previously shows the difference Ford’s hybrid system makes.
When pulling from lower engine speeds into higher gears, you can feel the torque it contributes quite clearly – and if you see the tacho needle, you can also feel the point in the engine’s rev range (just above 4,000 rpm) when the electric motor is forced to Move off.
The car has a distinctly healthy level of performance for mixed road driving and makes short, pleasant and well-defined gear changes. It’s smooth enough, powerful and stable as it should be, under braking, although it’s easier to judge initial pedal inputs once you learn to press the middle pedal only after a lower gear has already been selected.
It’s best not to downshift in the middle of a deceleration phase where you can avoid this, because doing so interferes a bit with the regenerative braking you get from the hybrid system and spoils the initial braking response a bit.
The automatic gearbox failed to live up to the engine. In normal mode, it’s too eager to change and too reluctant to back down, sapping performance when you need it most. Sport mode has the opposite problem. Too keen to drop through the gears rather than allow the engine to rev through the midrange. The ‘Manual’ mode helps determine when to change gears, but it doesn’t like to hold your chosen ratio under full power.
Ford Puma Assisted Driving Notes
The entry-level Titanium Puma has autonomous emergency braking, conventional cruise control and lane keeping assist. The optional Driver Assistance Package provides blind-spot warning, cross-traffic alert and traffic jam assistance systems, among others, and adds an “intelligent” distance-keeping function to the cruise control system.
The systems are generally set to be completely covert, but can, in most cases, be modified for sensitivity and, in some cases, deactivated completely. Even in the most sensitive settings, Lane Keep Assist keeps the driver engaged. However, it does not always detect motorway lane boundaries through roadworks or in bad weather.
It is able to constantly recognize posted speed limits and provide a speed warning but cannot automatically adjust the vehicle’s cruise control speed. However, for a £25,000 car, the Puma’s assisted driving function is extensive and fairly impressive.