Paid | The new Ford Puma crossover SUV may seem expensive, but it’s a great, value-packed buy.

Paid |  The new Ford Puma crossover SUV may seem expensive, but it’s a great, value-packed buy.

  • Ford has launched its dynamic Puma in South Africa, part of the rapid local growth of compact crossovers.
  • The Puma is available in two specifications locally: Titanium and ST-Line Vignale; Prices are R569 900 and R613 900 respectively.
  • It’s powered by the beloved 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine and mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. It produces 92kW and 170Nm.

After much deliberation, Ford has finally brought the Puma to South Africa. Pricing is a big discussion point, but there are no cheap cars these days. However, the Blue Oval brand has ensured value propositions for local customers looking for a compact crossover.

I’ll get to the value proposition in a moment, and what a great little Puma it is, but I’ve been saying this a lot lately: cars are expensive. Then again, so is a potato pocket or egg tray. The same applies to a liter of fuel, despite the slight decline in its prices recently, and let’s not even talk about building materials. The same applies to materials used in the automobile industry. Just as the prices of a packet of “EET-SUM-MOR” biscuits rose by more than 35%, the adverse impact on the economy did not leave the automobile market unscathed.

Ford Puma

Ford Puma

Let’s remember this: The cheapest commuter car in South Africa was the Suzuki S-Presso (starting at R174,900) until Toyota did a number on the automaker with its own car and cut the price of its carbon version Vitz (the original Suzuki Celerio) from R189,900 to R169,899.

If you purchase a Vitz, you’ll pay a premium of R3,478 over 72 months with no deposit. This total does not include insurance, fuel costs, or wear and tear during the month. You’re looking at around or just over R6,000 per month. Most South Africans cannot afford that.

Read | Ford’s Puma is already in SA: here’s how much a full-featured car costs

Despite the monthly sales numbers, our numbers are not the best. So why would anyone pay more than R500,000 for a 1.0-litre Ford based on a Fiesta chassis? Well, why would anyone pay SAR 840,200 for a modified Yaris? (Because it’s a great car!) But to be fair, this isn’t an apples-and-oranges comparison – but the same principle. The truth is that Puma is a niche product. And believe it or not, people want cars that not everyone has — and a car that won’t get stolen in a heartbeat.

Ford Puma

Ford Puma

The Puma was only officially launched at the end of November, yet 138 cars rolled out of showrooms last month, and if I’m right, that number will continue to grow every month.

Let’s be honest: Puma isn’t exactly new, at least in the rest of the world; He is already four years old and is almost due for a plastic surgery. However, with the discontinuation of the hugely popular EcoSport and the Fiesta and Figo subcompacts, Ford’s passenger car offerings have been almost non-existent next to the much-loved Ranger, Everest SUV and Mustan SUVs.

With recent news of 11 new Blue Oval products coming our way from 2024 – including the electric Mustang Mach-E, Ford needed to fill the gap.

However, more than anything else – Ford fans have been asking for the Puma to come our way, and the automaker has done its best to make that happen.

Ford Puma

Ford Puma

“We had to conduct an updated fuel study with our engineering team to see if the local fuel quality was compatible with the power plant,” says Ford South Africa. “This investigation pushed back the local launch date.”

The carmaker never comments on future product offerings but told News24 Motoring that “the current version of the Puma is the one that will be sold locally in the medium term.”

Read also | finally! Ford confirms the Puma compact SUV is ready to pounce in South Africa – we have prices

Ford also believes the Puma favorably outperforms its rivals in terms of price and value offered by the two top-spec models in Titanium and ST-Line Vignale form. “Both models outperform their competitors in the compact crossover segment in terms of specifications offered, while still mostly being below or close to the same ballpark in terms of recommended retail price,” the automaker says.

What is this?

Ford says the Puma is an SUV-inspired compact crossover with unparalleled cargo space and interior comfort, with the award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine.

In Europe, the car has become a firm favorite in the compact SUV segment thanks to its design cues, including distinctive wing-mounted headlights and sporty, aerodynamic lines. Luggage space reaches 456 litres.

Ford Puma

Ford Puma

It’s also packed with advanced features, including a large, fully digital instrument cluster, wireless charging, a B&O premium audio system, lumbar massaging seats, a power liftgate, a sport suspension, selectable driving modes, and advanced driver-assistance technologies (depending on the model you choose). I chose it.) ).

Customers can choose between two distinct models: the sporty Titanium or the elegant range-topping ST-Line Vignale.

Doreen Mashinini, general manager of marketing at Ford South Africa, says the Puma builds on Ford’s reputation for producing trend-setting SUVs. “It will benefit from the fast-growing and very competitive SUV segment, and the compact crossover segment in particular, which is becoming very popular,” she says.

Stylish and practical

The Puma is based on Ford’s B-car architecture, meaning it’s based on the old Fiesta’s chassis, using an improved wheelbase and track to give it SUV proportions that will make passersby take a second look. It’s slightly larger than the Fiesta on all fronts and has 33mm more ground clearance.

Ford Puma

Ford Puma

Yes, their look may be an acquired taste, but the distinctive silhouette with criss-cross wedge-style profiles will eventually win you over. The pronounced wheel arches amplify the sporty character of the car.

The expressive front end features intricately designed “boat-shaped” headlights placed high on the wings. Meanwhile, LED fog lights are positioned directly below, and are integrated into the front air curtain inlets that direct airflow across the front wheels. Adaptive LED headlights are standard on the ST-Line Vignale.

The Titanium model features unique 17-inch black alloy wheels and chrome elements for the grille, side sills and fog lights. The rear diffuser and skid plate are finished in metallic grey, and the window surrounds are in high-gloss black. Inside, there’s a leather-wrapped steering wheel, wood trim on the cluster bezel and instrument panel, and distinctive fabric trim for the interior doors.

You can distinguish the ST-Line Vignale Sport model by its 18-inch black alloy wheels and sports suspension. At the front, the ST-Line grille features matte black elements, a high-gloss surround, high-gloss fog lamp surrounds, and a larger functional roof spoiler.

Ford Puma

Ford Puma

Inside, the ST-Line model features a flat-bottomed steering wheel and distinctive red stitching. Metal pedals, an aluminum gear shifter and a distinctive black headliner enhance the sporty character. I hope the Titanium models also come with cool, eye-catching Puma logo lights that light up the ground.

There’s also a nifty optional MegaBox. This innovative solution provides deep, versatile storage space that can comfortably accommodate two golf bags upright. It offers a capacity of 80 liters in a space that is 763mm wide, 752mm long and 305mm deep, but I’ll tell you more about that next time.

Ford Puma

Ford Puma

It’s also packed with all the standard driving assistance programs you can think of, like lane keep assist, collision mitigation system, automatic headlights with automatic high beams, and much more. The Puma is available in five paint colours: Frost White (non-metallic), Cool Red, Matter Grey, Desert Island Blue and Magnetic.

How does he drive?

The Fiesta was a stylish little car, and the Puma drove even better. There’s just one engine in the range: the highly acclaimed 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost three-cylinder, good for 92kW at 6000r/min and 170Nm from 1500-4500r/min. The engine is linked to an advanced seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and power is transmitted to the front wheels.

Ford Puma

Ford Puma

It’s very comfortable to drive, and although I would have liked the option of a manual model in the range, the way SA traffic situations are, an automatic model makes sense here.

The power unit uses Ford’s cylinder deactivation system, which automatically shuts off one of the engine’s cylinders when full capacity is not needed, such as when coasting or cruising. It comes standard with Auto Start-Stop, and Ford says the system can disengage or re-engage the cylinder in 14 milliseconds, ensuring the perfect balance between fuel efficiency and performance.

We know that these 1.0-litre engines are feisty little things, and that gearshifts are short and smooth for some spirited driving. There are five selectable driving modes: Normal for everyday driving, Eco which improves fuel economy, Slippery for low-traction surfaces; A route for more challenging terrain; And Sport for more dynamic driving.

The automaker says the system adjusts various settings, including throttle response, steering feel, and gear shift behavior. The instrument cluster also changes to reflect your chosen setting and includes a ‘quiet’ mode that displays only the most important information.

Ford Puma

Ford Puma

What is he facing?

Ford says its direct rivals are the VW T-Roc 1.4 TSI 110kW, priced at R596,200. Here, Puma has many more boxes of standard items specified than its competitor. The same can be said for the Hyundai Kona 1.6T GDI Executive DCT model priced at R552 900.

The VW Taigo comes in much more affordable than the Puma at R537 100 for the 85kW R-Line DSG model, but here, the Puma has a standard feature that you’ll have to pay a lot more for with the VW.

While you will get a 4-year or 120 000km warranty, 4-year or unlimited km roadside assistance and a 5-year or unlimited corrosion warranty, service plans are optional and will cost an additional R17 693 for the 6-year or 90 000km plan.

Many people will say they’d prefer a Kia Sonet or even a Nissan Magnite, but Ford knows its customer base, and customers were hungry for a smaller offering.

It comes loaded with standard tech and niceties, and is a lot of fun to drive. If people are looking for a niche product, the Blue Oval brand is where they will go.

(Tags for translation)Ford

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *