Ford Puma ST, proof: don’t wake the sleeping cat

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Take the hottest small crossover of the moment, add a lot of the mechanics of one of the best “hot hatch” around, the Fiesta ST, and you get an explosive mix. The Ford Puma ST is a one-of-a-kind car and in fact has no direct competitors. Its character is all contained in the two magical letters that follow the name, because when a Ford receives the care of the Sports Technologies department and consequently the abbreviation ST – the RS unfortunately was abandoned after the penultimate Focus for reasons related to emissions – di usually turns into an extremely fun car.

The new Puma ST is no exception and, although its center of gravity is not exactly that of a sports car, after a few corners it becomes clear that this is more of a theoretical than a practical limit. The small Ford crossover, in fact, can be a lot of fun and has nothing to envy to the Fiesta ST, compared to which it is much more versatile and enjoyable at 360 °. After all, Ford Italy makes no secret of the fact that for the first time in history there is a car in the range that beats the Fiesta in terms of sales.

The Puma has an apt design, fitted to the type of car that is the most popular in this period. So why not satisfy even the most dynamic motorists, taking advantage of an already existing technical base, namely that of the Fiesta ST? The two cars share the 1.5 3-cylinder EcoBoost which delivers 200 hp at 6,000 rpm and 320 Nm of maximum torque between 2,500 and 3,500 rpm. An engine that pushes the crossover up to 230 km / h and triggers it from 0 to 100 km / h in 6.7 seconds, skilfully exploiting the 6-speed manual gearbox and avoiding traction control intervention too much. But beyond the numbers, this is a car to drive, which knows how to give satisfaction both by going for a walk and by attacking the curves with a knife between the teeth. In this regard, exploring its limits means breaking the rules of the road in many different ways, since the grip offered by the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S developed specifically for the ST is really high.

Luckily the size 225/40 was mounted on the 19-inch wheels and not the more extreme 35, because such a low shoulder is the favorite prey of potholes and manholes. For the rest, the data sheet speaks for itself: the torsional stiffness of the rear suspension has been increased by over 40% compared to the Fiesta ST, with a 28 mm anti-roll bar integrated into the frame, in addition to the 24 mm front one; the engine mounts are also more rigid. The shock absorbers are Hitachi progressive damping, with Ford patented irregular force-balancing springs, which improve the stability, flexibility and responsiveness of the torsion beam rear. The steering is 25% more responsive than the regular Puma, by virtue of a ratio of 11.4: 1. Of course, the braking system has also been revised, with 325mm front discs and 271mm diameter rear discs.

Sportier drivers will also be able to choose the Performance Pack which brings with it the limited slip front differential and includes launch control. A choice that we feel we can recommend given the large torque of the three-cylinder. As for the sound, however, the exhaust system has the valve to increase or decrease the decibels, depending on the driving mode chosen, which also brings with it the ESC adjustment; the latter can be completely on, with limited intervention or completely off. Finally, speaking of style, the front splitter stands out, increasing downforce by 80%; at the rear, on the other hand, the spoiler and the diffuser integrated in the bumper make a fine show, while the grilles of the grille have a greater air flow rate. The picture is completed by the heated and padded Recaro sports seats, embossed with the ST logo and finished in Miko Dinamica anti-slip material, Ford Performance skid plates and a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel.

Ford Puma ST, the card

What is that: the meanest and sportiest version of the small Ford crossover

Dimensions: length 4.21 meters, width 1.81 m height 1.54 m, pitch 2.59 m

Trunk: 523 liters

Motor: 1.5 EcoBoost 3-cylinder turbo petrol, 200 HP, 320 Nm

Exchange: 6-speed manual

Traction: front (limited slip differential option)

Benefits: design, performance, driving, technology on board

Defects: price, seats not very adaptable

Production: Craiova, Romania

Prices: The price list of the Ford Puma ST starts at 33,000 euros

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