Many Ford fans criticized their favorite brand for using the “Puma” moniker for a small crossover and now the Blue Oval is (kind of) addressing that issue. Meet the Puma ST, the company’s first ST-badged crossover for the European market, and Ford’s second vehicle of this kind after the Edge ST sold in North America. It’s an indirect successor to the rare Racing Puma, but in a more practical CUV package to keep up with the times and market demand.
The Puma ST is everything you like about the Fiesta ST while adding a bit of ground clearance. It borrows the turbocharged 1.5-liter engine with three cylinders that can work on just two thanks to cylinder deactivation tech to boost fuel economy when the full power isn’t needed. Speaking of power, the tiny-but-mighty EcoBoost unit produces 197 hp and 320 Nm (236 lb-ft) to mirror the spicy supermini. It’s worth pointing out you get that kind of torque in the Fiesta ST with the overboost. Otherwise, the three-pot develops 290 Nm (214 lb-ft) in the subcompact hatch.
Gallery: 2021 Ford Puma ST
It borrows the same six-speed manual gearbox helping the Puma ST hit 62 mph (100 km/h) from a standstill in 6.7 seconds, thus making it 0.2s slower than the Fiesta due to the added weight. Top speed is also down, from 144 mph (232 km/h) to 137 mph (220 km/h).
Beyond the upgraded engine, there are several other improvements over a regular Puma. For example, the ST is available with an optional mechanical limited-slip differential, force-vectoring springs, and selectable drive models with an Eco mode available for the first time on a Ford Performance model. In addition, the rear suspension is 40 percent stiffer than that of the Fiesta ST and at the same time, 50 percent stiffer compared to the regular Puma. Front and rear anti-roll bars contribute to the crossover’s improved stability.
Ford’s engineers have also tweaked the steering system making it nearly 25 percent quicker than the standard Puma and have enlarged the front brakes by 17 percent for extra stopping power. Special attention was given to the exhaust, a free-flowing setup with active valves to make the soundtrack more appealing. Interestingly, the exhaust is one-decibel quieter compared to the Fiesta ST's in order to provide “a more composed cruising experience.”
Then there are the visual upgrades, in line with those of the Fiesta ST. Ford installs 19-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires as standard equipment and offers customers the opportunity to pick from six different body colors, including this ST-exclusive Mean Green shade. Regardless of the main color, the roof, grille surround, side moldings, mirror caps and the rear spoiler come with a glossy black finish.
Stepping inside the cabin, the 2021 Ford Puma ST has body-hugging Recaro front seats as part of a sporty package also including a flat-bottomed steering wheel and an ST-specific gear knob. Even before getting in, the mirror-mounted projectors show the ST logo on the ground whenever you unlock the vehicle to remind you it's not a run-of-the-mill Puma.
A forbidden fruit in the United States, the Puma ST will be available in Europe and is going to be assembled alongside the standard vehicle at Ford's plant in Craiova, Romania where the EcoSport is also manufactured.
Ford’s First Performance SUV in Europe: All-New Puma ST Delivers Thrills for Your Heart with Utility for Your Head
· New Ford Puma ST delivers 200 PS, 6.7-second 0-100 km/h acceleration, unique-in-segment mechanical LSD option and drive modes from Eco to Track for ultimate versatility
· First Ford Performance SUV in Europe features bespoke chassis: 40 per cent stiffer twist-beam than Fiesta ST counters higher centre of gravity, force vectoring springs support agility
· Bold sports styling in exclusive Mean Green, 19-inch alloys and Recaro seats feature beside innovative Ford MegaBox for best-in-class loadspace, and Local Hazard Information
COLOGNE, Germany, Sept. 24, 2020 – The all-new Ford Puma ST introduces acclaimed Ford Performance driving dynamics to the compact SUV segment for the very first time in Europe.
Enhanced with sophisticated Sports Technologies including a unique-in-segment limited-slip differential (LSD) option and patented force vectoring springs, Puma ST also features selectable Drive Modes including Sport mode and – for the first time on a Ford Performance vehicle – Eco mode; providing drivers with options for a wide range of road driving scenarios.
Combined, these innovations deliver the energised driving experience Ford Performance models are famous for across Europe, while retaining the comfort and flexibility offered by Ford’s new compact SUV.
The Puma ST is powered by a 200 PS 1.5‑litre EcoBoost engine1 delivering 0‑100 km/h (0‑62 mph) acceleration in 6.7 seconds. An optimised chassis features bespoke twist-beam, anti-roll bar and damper configurations. Steering responses are 25 per cent faster and brakes 17 per cent larger than the standard Puma. Specially-developed Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres also help deliver the most agile Ford SUV driving experience yet.
Performance enhancements and aggressive styling sit side-by side with innovative features including Local Hazard Information connected-car technology2 and the Ford MegaBox that provides 80 litres of storage beneath the boot floor for everyday practicality.3
“Real driving enthusiasts aren’t going to settle for less excitement just because life demands a more ‘sensible’ car, so our number one priority was that the Puma ST had to be as exhilarating and capable as every ST model, without sacrificing any of Puma’s practicality,” said Stefan Muenzinger, Ford Performance manager, Europe. “We believe that we have the best-handling small SUV in its segment. It really does feel connected and has the true ST feel. It is a joy to drive.”
Redefining SUV agility
Ford Performance worked alongside Michelin to develop a bespoke tyre specification to complement the Puma ST’s enhanced chassis, without sacrificing the refined ride quality – one of the most compelling SUV attributes.
The Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres can fully exploit the additional traction offered by the optional Quaife mechanical limited-slip differential, delivered as part of the available performance pack.
The Puma ST is the only small performance SUV in Europe to be offered with an LSD, which optimises front-end traction to enhance cornering ability and minimise understeer, in particular on the exit of corners.
The purely mechanical system distributes engine torque to the wheel with the most grip, reducing wheel spin and allowing the driver to fully exploit the engine performance.
The LSD option works alongside Torque Vectoring Control, which improves road-holding and reduces understeer by applying brake force to the inside front wheel when cornering. The balance between the two features has been fine-tuned by Ford Performance to optimise grip on dry surfaces and smoothness on wet surfaces.
Puma ST further enhances Ford’s B-car architecture to counterbalance the vehicle’s naturally higher centre of gravity. The rear suspension twist-beam is uprated to 2,000 Nm/deg torsional stiffness, an increase of more than 40 per cent compared with Fiesta ST and 50 per cent compared to the standard Puma, with a 28 mm anti-roll bar integrated into the U‑section. A front 24 mm anti-roll bar also contributes to cornering stability.
Ford’s patented force vectoring springs also improve the Puma ST’s stability, agility and responsiveness. The non-uniform, non-interchangeable, directionally-wound springs apply vectoring forces to the rear suspension and enable cornering forces to travel directly into the spring, for increased lateral stiffness.
The spring technology works in combination with Hitachi twin-tube frequency-reactive dampers at the front and rear, with the stiffness needed for enhanced body control alongside the compliance to isolate smaller road imperfections for high-speed refinement. Bespoke bump stops have been specified to maintain control under high suspension loads.
Puma ST’s steering delivers an 11.4:1 ratio – almost 25 per cent faster than the standard Puma – provided by a combination of revised front knuckle featuring a shorter steering arm and faster steering rack gearing, for heightened turn-in response.
“Steering is a focal point of any ST model as it’s key for the interaction between driver and vehicle. The Puma ST turn-in response is exceptional. The direct and precise vehicle reaction provides confidence – a key ingredient for fun-to-drive,” Muenzinger said.
Braking performance is also optimised for a true ST driving experience. Front discs are increased by 17 per cent in diameter compared with the standard Puma specification to 325 mm, and 271 mm discs feature at the rear. Puma ST’s brake booster is tuned for modulation, feel and feedback that supports performance driving.
Powerful, responsive EcoBoost performance
Ford’s sophisticated 200 PS 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine – first introduced for the multi-award-winning Fiesta ST – features advanced turbocharging and high-pressure fuel injection technologies alongside Twin-independent Variable Cam Timing to deliver sports car performance with optimised fuel efficiency.
The all-aluminium engine’s three-cylinder architecture provides naturally high torque at low rpm, and performance is enhanced by a radial-axial turbocharger and an integrated exhaust manifold that minimises the distance exhaust gasses travel between cylinders and turbocharger – both helping build boost pressure faster and minimise lag.
Peak power is available at 6,000 rpm, with peak torque increased to 320 Nm between 2,500 rpm and 3,500 rpm, contributing to linear acceleration and enhanced responsiveness.
In addition to a bespoke air-intake and a free-flowing exhaust system for maximum performance, the Puma ST also features new roll-restricting engine mounts that minimise unwanted movements particularly during hard cornering, while supporting everyday refinement.
Active exhaust valve technology amplifies the naturally sporty three-cylinder engine sound to enhance the driving experience. Ford Performance tuned the exhaust note to better suit the Puma ST’s more refined SUV character – the model is approximately 1 decibel quieter than the Fiesta ST for a more composed cruising experience.
Industry-first innovation further enables the 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine to be as sensible as it is sporty. Ford’s cylinder deactivation technology was the first to feature for a three-cylinder engine and can automatically stop fuel delivery and valve operation for one of the engine’s cylinders in conditions where full capacity is not needed, such as when coasting or cruising with light demand on the engine.
The technology can disengage or re-engage one cylinder in 14 milliseconds – 20 times faster than the blink of an eye – saving fuel and seamlessly contributing to anticipated 6.0 l/100 km fuel efficiency and 134 g/km CO2 emissions NEDC (6.9 l/100 km and 155 g/km WLTP).1 A rapid light-off gas particulate filter also reduces soot emissions.
Puma ST is offered with the same direct, smooth-shifting six-speed manual transmission as the Fiesta ST, with a shortened final drive ratio to enable 6.7-second 0-100 km/h (0‑62 mph) acceleration and a 220 km/h (137 mph) top speed while accommodating statement 19-inch alloy wheels.
Modes to suit your mood
Selectable Drive Modes are key to the Puma ST’s versatility. From a Track mode that configures the performance SUV for maximum fun-to-drive, to Eco mode, offered for the first time on an ST model, Drive Modes alter Puma ST’s character to suit scenario or mood.
In Normal mode, engine mapping, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), active exhaust valve and electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) are configured to deliver natural responsiveness and a connected feel
In Eco mode, engine mapping and throttle response are configured for maximum fuel efficiency
In Sport mode, engine mapping and throttle pedal response are sharpened, and EPAS settings adjusted to deliver more feedback and finer control for fast road driving. The active noise control valve opens to intensify the sporty exhaust note. Sport mode is accessible immediately using a dedicated button on the steering wheel
In Track mode, all vehicle dynamics features are tuned for the fastest possible lap times, traction control is disabled, and ESC interventions are set to wide-slip mode for the purest driving experience
In addition, three-mode ESC enables drivers to choose between full system intervention; wide-slip mode with limited intervention; and full system de-activation.
Developed for use on track only and available as part of the optional performance pack, Launch Control enables drivers to achieve maximum satisfaction with consistently fast standing starts. Selected using steering wheel controls, the system activates a dedicated graphical display in the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.
Holding the throttle fully open will instruct the system to build engine rpm and automatically hold at the rev limit – filling an on-screen gauge that indicates when the car is prepared for launch. Releasing the clutch fully then enables an optimised standing start with ESC, traction control, Torque Vectoring Control and Torque Steer Compensation systems managing power and torque delivery.
Eye-catching looks and specification
Puma’s sporty styling – including a sloping roofline silhouette and pronounced wheel arches – lends itself to a more extreme Puma ST design that combines form and function.
A Ford Performance-embossed splitter is integrated into the front bumper to increase front end downforce by almost 80 per cent for greater stability and traction. The large rear roof spoiler also supports optimised aerodynamics, with a distinctive diffuser incorporated into the rear bumper. Signature ST upper and lower grilles are designed to deliver increased engine cooling capability.
The Puma ST offers Magnetite or machined metal finishes for the standard 19-inch alloy wheels, and six available exterior body colours include Agate Black, Desert Island Blue, Fantastic Red, Frozen White, Magnetic and bold, ST-exclusive Mean Green. A gloss black finish for the roof, grille surrounds, side spears, door mirror caps and rear roof spoiler are all standard, making the model even easier to identify.
The interior is equally charismatic; but even before entering, standard power-foldable door mirrors project the ST logo onto the ground when unlocking.
Inside, heated, bolstered Recaro sports seats – embossed with the ST logo and finished in grippy Miko Dinamica material – hold driver and front passenger firmly in place. Ford Performance skid plates, a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel and ST gear knob also feature. Seats, gear lever gaiter and ST-branded floor mats are finished with Metal Grey stitching.
The exclusive Puma ST interior continues to offer best-in-class uncompromised loadspace of 456 litres,3 supported by the innovative Ford MegaBox. The adaptable storage solution provides a deep, versatile, 80-litre storage space beneath the boot floor – capable of comfortably accommodating two golf bags in an upright position.
Standard features to maximise comfort and convenience include a wireless charging pad, Quickclear heated windscreen, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers and Ford’s SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system – allowing drivers to control audio, navigation and connected smartphones using simple voice commands.4
The system delivers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto™ compatibility at no extra cost and is supported by an 8-inch central touchscreen that displays the Ford Performance logo on start up. A premium B&O sound system also is available.
Standard FordPass Connect modem technology5 allows Puma ST owners to remotely control a selection of vehicle features – including Door Lock Unlock and Vehicle Locator – via the FordPass mobile app.6 The modem also enables cloud-connected Local Hazard Information,2 which can inform drivers of a hazardous situation on the road ahead, even if the incident is not visible due to a bend in the road or other vehicles.
Further available driver assistance technologies include Pre-Collision Assist with Active Braking,2 Active Park Assist,2 Cross Traffic Alert with Active Braking,2 and Intelligent Speed Limiter.2
“Our new Puma ST is practical and refined with head-turning SUV proportions, but able to deliver hot-hatchback thrills,” Muenzinger said.
1Homologated fuel efficiency and CO2 data will be published closer to on-sale date.
The declared fuel/energy consumptions, CO2-emissions and electric range are determined according to the technical requirements and specifications of the European Regulations (EC) 715/2007 and (EU) 2017/1151 as last amended. Light Duty Vehicle type-approved using the World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) will have fuel/energy consumption and CO2-emission information for New European Drive Cycle (NEDC) and WLTP. WLTP will fully replace the NEDC latest by the end of the year 2020. The applied standard test procedures enable comparison between different vehicle types and different manufacturers. During NEDC phase-out, WLTP fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are being correlated back to NEDC. There will be some variance to the previous fuel economy and emissions as some elements of the tests have altered, so the same car might have different fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
2Driver-assist features are supplemental to and do not replace the driver’s attention, judgement and need to control the vehicle.
3Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and weight distribution.
4Don’t drive while distracted. Use voice-operated systems when possible; don’t use handheld devices while driving. Some features may be locked out while the vehicle is in gear. Not all features are compatible with all phones.
5Features may require activation.
6FordPass App, compatible with select smartphone platforms, is available via a download. Message and data rates may apply.