Not too long ago, the world was treated to the sight of the newest Ford crossover to emerge from the company’s prolific European division. The Puma revived a name from the brand’s past but wrapped it in shape friendlier to the realities of 2019’s automotive appetites.
It’s in the ST-Line guise it debuted as, the Puma is somewhat sporty and rather good looking, but also frugal and practical with its given footprint and five-doors. And it’s technically an SUV, so as nature intends, the mass market will elbow their families aside to be put their names down first.
However, it appears Ford of Europe has more interesting plans in store for their newest entrant, ones more performance-oriented, or so says Autocar. Apparently, Ford is already far enough along in the development of flagship Puma ST variant.
Naturally, one would expect that would entail it taking key ingredients from the Fiesta ST; and you would be correct. The project has already been given the green light, unsurprisingly, to the point that prototypes have already been spied lapping the Nurburgring under heavy camouflage.
Mounted up front is the same 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost petrol producing 147kW and 290Nm and mated to, most likely, the same dual-clutch transmission already used in the rest of the Puma range. A 6-speed manual to match the Fiesta is unlikely to materialise.
Meanwhile, there isn’t much expected to visually differ the ST from the ST-Line save for perhaps slightly lowered ride height, bespoke wheels, and the requisite new badges. Under the skin, though, the faster Puma could gain upgraded suspension, a limited slip differential, and perhaps even launch control.
Given the timing of the new Ford crossover’s debut and the seemingly serious plans to have the ST on sale for keener drivers as soon as possible, the Puma ST is likely one of two major vehicle projects ongoing at Ford Performance; the other being the incoming Focus RS.
It’s quite likely, though, that the mega-hatch will be the latter of the two to be launched bearing in mind that it is only due after the current-generation Focus’ mid-life update and that, unlike the RS, the foundations of the Puma ST are already in production in the Fiesta.
By contrast, Ford has a much taller hill to climb with the Focus RS, requiring the company to consider unorthodox methods to top its predecessor. It will be all-wheel drive, granted, but it is already known that a hybrid powertrain is being closely considered.