The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 4.0

Available new from £21,640

Yes it’s the Ford Puma, but no, it’s not that Ford Puma (the small coupe of the Nineties). Instead, the historic badge now adorns a baby SUV with a choice of 1.0-litre petrol engines and hybrid tech, that rivals the likes of the Audi Q2, Nissan Juke, BMW X1, VW T-Cross and Skoda Kamiq.

Reasons to buy

  • Efficient hybrid
  • Good running costs
  • Nippy handling

Running costs for a Ford Puma 5/5

With only a 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine to choose from (in two guises), the Puma sips petrol while giving you surprising spurts of acceleration. That means road tax, insurance and fuel costs are all reasonable, as are CO2 emissions, which in turn dictate the amount business users will pay.

The fact that the Puma was one publication’s Car of the Year in 2019, plus intrigue in the name, means residual values should be strong, especially for the hybrid version, resulting in good PCP monthly finance deals.

Reliability of a Ford Puma 3/5

This is a new model, albeit based on the Fiesta, so there are no specific reliability reports at the time of writing. However, the engines have already seen service in the Fiesta and there are no major issues reported, and the infotainment system and buttons are also used in other models. But the mild hybrid system used (see “Power”) is new, so we’ll see.

Safety for a Ford Puma 4/5

There are side, front and curtain airbags plus rear Isofix for two children. The Puma comes in lots of trim levels, all offering varying safety features. Everything you’d expect is on offer: pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, emergency brake assist, tyre-pressure monitoring, and Ford’s SYNC infotainment system which offers an emergency call function. Safety aids such as rear parking sensors and cruise control come as standard on the cheapest level.

How comfortable is the Ford Puma 4/5

We’d like to give the Puma zero out of five here, but it’s for a wholly personal incident with the car, so we’ll stick to being professional. But if you want the details: we drove the Puma to the airport for a skiing holiday. Half-way across Europe, at 36,000ft, we realised we’d left the kids’ ski gear in the boot, because there’s a false floor, with extra storage for a large holdall underneath it. It's called the Megabox. We’ve hated the Puma ever since. Ahem.

Where were we… it’s a surprisingly spacious small car with supportive seats but a ride which some might find too firm.The optional glass roof lets in light that’s needed, and there's plenty of head room for six-footers. That infamous boot is large, especially if you use the hidden compartment under the floor.

Features of the Ford Puma 4/5

There’s a large infotainment screen with Ford’s SYNC3 system aboard for satnav, audio and so on. Like everything to do with Ford, it’s not the prettiest (in fact it’s disappointingly ugly), but the functions are easy to operate (although we’ve had a couple of Fords where the system has been slow to load), and there’s smartphone connectivity.

FordConnect comes as standard, with a wifi hotspot for up to 10 devices, and there’s a FordPass app which includes a vehicle locator. Cruise control, massaging seats and wireless charging come with Titanium spec.

Power for a Ford Puma 5/5

The choice is one 1.0-litre engine with two levels of power: either 125 or 155 horsepower for the hybrid version. Supplementing the engine is 48v electric technology to make this a hybrid. It’s not a plug-in system - the car recharges the small battery as it goes along - and the hybrid is there to boost the power of the petrol engine. Because it’s so efficient in doing this, the hybrid is the one to go for, with about 45mpg. All versions are mated to a six-speed manual, with the promise of an automatic to come, and all offer different driving modes for various conditions/driver moods: slippery, trail, eco and sport. There's loads of grip, and excellent, precise steering. Strangely for a baby SUV, it actually offers a rewarding drive.