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Ford Puma

(1997 - 2002) 

Ford Puma

The Ford Puma is a small coupe with striking appearance

Engine Engine power Fuel consumption Fuel type 0-100 (0-60) Top speed
1.4i 16V 90 hp 7.7 l/100km Petrol 11.9 s 180 km/h
1.6i 16V 103 hp 7.8 l/100km Petrol 10.4 s 190 km/h
1.7i 16V 125 hp 7.9 l/100km Petrol 9.2 s 203 km/h

Body type Coupe
Number of doors 2
Number of seats 4
Engine position Front
Driven wheels Front
Length 3 984 mm
Width 1 674 mm
Height 1 345 mm
Wheelbase 2 446 mm
Ground clearance ?
Weight (normal) 1 035 kg
Weight (max) 1 400 kg
Boot space (min) 240 l
Boot space (max) ?
Fuel capacity 42 l


   The Ford Puma was produced since 1997.

   The Puma to have is the 1.7-liter. It is smooth and free-revving, and though not over-blessed with low-rev pull, it suits the character of the car perfectly while still offering good economy. The 90 hp 1.4 feels a bit flat, although it's reasonably flexible, and the 103 hp 1.6 that replaced it is stronger. All gearboxes in this car are manuals.

   No other small coupe we can think of is as much fun to drive as a Puma. Ford took what was available in the Fiesta and sharpened it all up to make a car with almost kart-like steering, tremendous road holding and strong brakes. The only downside is a firmer and noisier ride.

   A bit of noise is acceptable in a small, sporting coupe, especially when it comes from an engine as tuneful as the 1.7. The 1.4 and 1.6 aren't quite as musical but are still audible. Wind and road noise weren't entirely eradicated, either. The controls all work smoothly and the meaty gearshift, via an aluminum-tipped lever, is a peach.

   The Ford Puma is a two-door coupe with a lift-up tailgate. There were only ever two engines at any one time in the car's life, and no trim options were available. The car arrived in 1997 with a 1.7-litre motor. A 1.4 was added early in 1998 and replaced by a 1.6 in October 2000.

   Pumas with the 1.7-litre engine are the most common and the best to buy thanks to the brio with which they goes about their work. They costs only slightly more than a 1.4 example of the same age and mileage, and actually comes in cheaper than a 1.6.

   The Puma is dependable and trouble-free to own if looked after. Check the service book to make sure it has been stamped up, and look over the car for any signs of neglect, wear or body repairs.

   Not all drivers will feel at home in the Ford Puma's cabin. The driver's seat angle means a knees up/bottom down driving position which the seat-height adjustment cannot entirely overcome, and the steering column is fixed. Ergonomically, the Fiesta-based cabin is sound, but there are rear visibility issues caused by the rakish styling.

   Dismiss any idea that the Ford Puma is more than a two-seater - the rear seats are useless, even for children. Think of it as a two-seater with a handy boot that can be extended for holiday luggage by folding down the rear backrest, though there's a high lip to hump your cases over.

   Ford Pumas have most of the essentials for a small and inexpensive coupe, but never went the extra mile. Air-conditioning and passenger airbags were on the options list, for instance, although anti-lock brakes (ABS) and traction control were standard on all but the 1.4. The deadlocks couldn't keep thieves out, but the immobilizer did its job.

   Production of the Ford Puma ended in 2002.


   Advantages: Ford Fiesta-based small coupe that's striking in appearance and a joy to drive. Inexpensive and reliable, too.

   Disadvantages: Likely to have been driven hard, so check thoroughly before buying. Cabin is a bit cramped and driving position won't suit all.

   Verdict: A brilliant, affordable coupe for the masses.

   Also consider: Hyundai coupe, Toyota MR2.

Video of the Ford Puma
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Ford Puma

Ford Puma

Ford Puma

Ford Puma

Ford Puma

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